Westwood counters Kingsford with good shooting to get win

By ADAM NIEMI

Iron Mountain Daily News

KINGSFORD — Westwood answered a second-half rally by Kingsford and held on for a 60-48 nonconference win on Thursday.

The Patriots (19-1) led by 11 at halftime before the Flivvers pulled within three points early in the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Olivia Olkkonen made it a 36-33 game early in the fourth.

But Westwood’s Tessa Leece responded with her own 3-pointer on the ensuing possession. Madelyn Koski knocked down a triple on the possession after to make it 44-37. The Patriots added a couple more buckets for a 48-39 lead with 5 1/2 minutes left.

From there, Westwood extended the lead beyond 10 and held off a late rally.

“We had a good third quarter. That helped us cut the lead,” Kingsford head coach Lisa Harry said. “We called a timeout. For the most part kept it going but they hit 3s which killed our momentum.”

It was at times a frustrating night for the Patriots, the No. 1 ranked team in the Upper Peninsula in Divisions 1-3. They had chances in the first half to build on a 12-point lead, but missed open layups.

“In the first half I thought there was a couple times where I thought we were ready to blow the lid off, but we missed layups. Layup after layup after layup,” Westwood head coach Kurt Corcoran said. “We went up 12 and I thought we had a chance to go up 20. It was one of those ‘Here we go — oh no, you missed it.’ We missed all sorts of bunnies. We weren’t able to blow the lid off.”

Koski and Leece paced Westwood with 24 and 15 points, respectively.

Ali Doolittle led Kingsford (12-8) with 14 points. Brooke Kriegl was held to 11 points, a result that Corcoran attributed to Koski’s defense.

“She’s so fast and she’s so little. She’s got that low center of gravity,” Corcoran said of Kriegl. “She kind of does a little-old-man hook move to get by. She’s tough and that was Maddy’s defensive assignment was to keep her in front of her. Credit Maddy’s defense.”

Westwood led by three after the first quarter. The Patriots extended the lead with 3-pointers by Leece and Jillian Koski. But Westwood also worked in the paint more in the second, getting inside a Flivvers’ defense that paid more attention to defending against 3-pointers.

“They can get you from different areas on the floor. With their shooting they can pull you out,” Harry said. “We switched to a man-to-man there for a while. I felt like they were driving in and getting layups, so it’s like what do you want to take your chances on? Them missing some 3s, that’s usually the lesser percentage shot.

“I think if we could’ve caught them on a little cooler night, the outcome could’ve been different.”

Corcoran said Kingsford’s rally to bring the game within three in the fourth period was a good test as the Patriots prepare for next week’s district tournament. Westwood hosts Negaunee at 7 p.m. Monday in a Division 3 tourney hosted by Gwinn.