Off the schneid
Westwood boys register 1st win of ‘19 by finishing sweep of Hematites
By RYAN SPITZA
Journal Sports Writer
ISHPEMING — On Dec. 7, the Westwood High School boys varsity basketball team topped crosstown rival Ishpeming 47-44 at the Patriots’ gym.
Flipping the page to Ishpeming’s home floor on Friday night, the Patriots once again took a close battle from the Hematites 49-41 to complete the regular-season sweep.
Westwood improved to 7-3 on the season while Ishpeming fell to 3-5.
WHS head coach Chad Hewitt said it was good for his team to get back into the win column after a rough start to 2019, losing their first two games of the calendar year by 38 points to Iron Mountain and 27 points to Gladstone.
“It means a lot to our guys,” he said about getting a win. “I’m really proud of the way our kids responded. They’ve been getting after it for the last two days in practice and it was nice to get off of the ‘schneid’ in 2019.
“Coming out of that Gladstone game and playing a little bit flat, we preached effort, execution and enthusiasm on both sides of the court. I thought our kids came out (tonight) and did that.
“Ishpeming is a good basketball team, they’re going to beat teams and it’s always like a title fight between us. Luckily (tonight) we made some free throws down the stretch to seal it.”
Meanwhile, Ishpeming now finds itself in a two-game slump themselves, losing a close contest to Negaunee on Wednesday before Friday’s setback.
Ishpeming head coach Anthony Katona said missed opportunities early on cost his team against a pressure-heavy Patriots squad.
“It’s tough,” he said. “We weren’t hitting our shots early in the game in the first half there. We picked it up in the last few minutes of the second quarter.
“We almost turned the tables in the third with a chance to cut it to two points, but just couldn’t convert on a couple of the turnovers we created.
“Westwood ramped up their pressure against us after they had two tough losses the last two games. It’s nothing to hang our heads about, we just have to get back to it and work.”
The Hematites won the opening tip and opened the scoring on a 2-point corner jumper from junior forward Gavin Argall, who received a kick-out pass from senior forward Darius Yohe.
Westwood quickly got its first lead of the night after that on a layup from senior forward Jacob Adriano, who was fouled on the play. Adriano converted the free throw to complete the three-point play.
The first quarter remained close, and the Patriots took a 9-6 lead after eight minutes.
Ishpeming was held scoreless for almost five minutes into the second as Westwood scored the first 10 points to go up 19-6.
The first baskets of the second for the Hematites came when senior forward Blake Hewitt committed a shooting foul on senior guard Gavin Sundberg, sending him to the line for two throws. Sundberg sunk both, and Ishpeming had two more field goals in the frame, a 2-pointer from Sundberg and a triple from senior forward Zack Jandreau. The score was 23-13 at halftime.
The Patriots opened the second half with a 3-pointer from junior forward Taylor Dellangelo to quickly make it a 13-point lead.
Ishpeming junior forward Jacob Kugler countered with a 3 of his own to keep the deficit at 10.
Westwood went up 30-18 before the Hematites went on an eight-point run to make it 30-26. The Patriots ended the run on a bucket from junior guard Ty Alderton, which made the score 32-26 after three.
Westwood built the lead back to 10 in the fourth before Ishpeming went on another run, this time a 6-0 spurt.
The run started on a layup from Yohe. Shortly after, Blake Hewitt was issued a technical foul, allowing Sundberg to make two free throws. With Ishpeming keeping the possession, Yohe converted a layup to make it 38-34 with just over three minutes to play.
That’s as close as the Hematites came, with Westwood sinking free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Dellangelo led the Patriots with 15 points while Alderton had nine and Hewitt eight. Yohe had 13 for the Hematites while Sundberg scored 12.
Westwood grabbed 24 rebounds with senior guard Nathan Beckman, Hewitt and Alderton each getting five. Ishpeming collected 22 rebounds with Kugler grabbing eight.
Ishpeming hosts Marquette (8-2) on Tuesday while Westwood travels to Escanaba (6-4) on Wednesday.
Email Ryan Spitza at firstname.lastname@example.org.