Hematite boys win battle of Ishpemings
By RAY BRESSETTE
Journal Sports Writer
ISHPEMING — The Hematites won the battle of Ishpeming on their own court Friday night, defeating Westwood 53-39 to sweep the Patriots in their high school boys basketball season series.
The victory came 48 hours after losing another rivalry game to Negaunee on their home court, and Ishpeming head coach Anthony Katona said his team showed resilience with the quick turnaround.
“It feels good to get back in the win column,” Katona said. “We came into practice yesterday after a tough loss, got our heads right and cleared the loss away.
“We saw progress right from the get-go as we played really good team offense, rebounded well and really stepped up the intensity on the floor.”
The game tilted in the Hematites’ favor with 10 seconds remaining in the first half when Ishpeming’s Dondre Yohe made a layup with a foul tacked on to complete a three-point play and give the Hematites a 25-20 advantage.
Westwood’s push to cut the deficit before the break ended up making the situation worse, as Ishpeming’s Matthew Trawick grabbed a steal for in the backcourt and was fouled at midcourt.
Trawick nailed both free throws with one second remaining, and suddenly a two-point game from moments ago turned into a 27-20 lead for the home team heading to the locker room.
Katona said that after watching their opponents string together streaks of momentum this season, his team was ready for their opportunity.
“I’ve been waiting for that all year,” Katona said. “It was positive to see it finally come around for us. We worked the ball around to get the basket, and it helped us out.”
For Westwood head coach Chad Hewitt, the ending of the first half was the game’s turning point.
“The last few moments were tell-tale,” Hewitt said. “They outworked us and continued it for the second half. I’m always proud of our kids and the way they play, but tonight I think Ishpeming wanted it a little bit more.”
Ishpeming used their height with five forwards at least 6-feet tall to their advantage, denying Westwood’s offense around the basket as the Patriots possessed the ball for longer periods but had little to show for it on the scoreboard.
The fourth quarter became chippy for both teams, hurting Westwood worse as they gave Ishpeming eight trips to the free throw line to seal their win.
Ishpeming junior forward Hart Holmgren led all scorers with 21 points.
Westwood’s Nathan Beckman, Blake Hewitt and David Delarye each scored eight points as their team dropped to 1-6.
The Hematites improved to 3-4 and has a chance to pull to .500 when they host Marquette on Tuesday.
Katona said he’s pleased with where his team is at.
“It’s good to get a sweep against a rival like Westwood and it gives our team confidence,” Katona said. “We’re looking forward to a shot at playing Marquette on our own court.”
Ray Bressette can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.