NORWAY - A potent long-range attack fueled West Iron County to a second straight Class C district title here Friday night.
The Wykons, sinking seven of their 10 3-pointers in the second half, fought off Iron Mountain 61-50 in the District 95 final.
Senior guard Jaclyn Waara, who hit four from beyond the arc, led all scorers with 22 points.
"We like 3-pointers," she said smiling.
Wykons got threes from four different players, bombarding the Mountaineers with seven triples in the third quarter alone.
"A lot of girls stepped up out there and hit some big, big 3-pointers," West Iron County head coach Mike Dallavalle said.
Kylee Erickson hit three treys and scored 13 points. Shannon Koski had a pair with 10 points, and Joanna Pellizzer added one more with eight points. And West Iron County needed all of them, up against a Mountaineer team that refused to go away.
Twice in the game the Wykons ran out to a double-digit cushion only to see Iron Mountain climb back. The Wykons led by just two at halftime before Waara, Shannon Koski and Kylee Erickson all stepped way back to nail shots and lift West Iron to a 12-point advantage midway through the third.
"We played three-two zone on them all night and tried to stay with their shooters, but who thinks they're going to shoot it when they're far out there," Mountaineers coach John Hogberg said. "They've got some range and that's why they're good. And it ain't just one of them. They have a couple who can shoot from well beyond the arc.
"Our girls just are not expecting that."
Waara said the Wykons are perfectly comfortable extending their range.
"We'll take them from half-court if we have to," she joked.
"We just wanted come out and play really hard because we really wanted back-to-back district championships. Iron Mountain is a great team, a great group of girls who work hard and never give up. They were really tough."
Senior Rikki Gingras completed her Mountaineer hardwood career with a team-best 20 points. She helped Iron Mountain erase its first 10-point hole by getting through to the basket and going to the line. One pair of free throws by her had the Mountaineers in front 20-17 early in the second quarter.
Katelynn Johnson scored 14 points, her five steals and three triples also helping to serve notice to the Wykons that is was game on after the early lead vanished.
Iron Mountain went on a 9-0 push to close the third and open the fourth, coming back to within four points of the lead, but West Iron answered with threes by Waara and Erickson.
A three by Johnson and a drive from Gingras made it 51-46 Wykons, but the Mountaineers couldn't get any closer.
"That's how its been all year," Hogberg said. "We fight ourselves back in it, and then we have a bad turnover or miss an easy bucket.
"But I give my girls credit . They didn't give up. We were down double digits a couple of times and then kept playing and kept playing. They did everything I asked tonight, it's just that West Iron played better."
As good as the Wykons were beyond the arc, they were even better at the foul line. West Iron missed just three free throws the whole game. The Wykons also had to overcome early foul trouble which saw center Alexis Heimerl whistled three times in the first quarter.
"It's something that we've had to play through before," Dallavalle said. "These girls are pretty battled tested. We had a couple of tough district games last year, a couple of tough games at the end of this season. We've got experience, and they know how to win games."
"The thing I love about this team is all these girls can step up and play well at any time."
Allie Frorenza and Jordyn Dumais each tallied eight points for Iron Mountain in their final prep games.
"We had a game plan and I thought my girls executed it perfect," Hogberg said. "But sometimes the better team wins, and they were the better team tonight."
Mountaineers, which played in the district final for a second straight year, finished the season 12-10.
"We had a chance to win conference, a chance to win district. What more can you ask for," Hogberg said. "These girls played as hard as they can. I'm going to miss those seniors. Our senior leadership was key."
Wykons (19-3) will face St. Ignace in a regional semifinal Tuesday at Marquette. St. Ignace defeated Manistique 82-41 in its district final Friday night.
"The girls are just excited to get a different look at somebody other than Houghton," Dallavalle said. "Whether we win or lose, at least to play somebody different might be good for us, might give us an edge."
"We want to go to the finals and we want to win," said Waara. "We want to go out there and go get it."
iron Mountain 15 11 13 11 - 50
West Iron County 17 11 17 16 - 61
IRON MOUNTAIN: Gingras 20, Johnson 14, Frorenza 8, Dumais 8. FT: 15-25. F: 14.
WEST IRON COUNTY: Waara 22, Erickson 13, Koski 10, Pellizzer 8, Heimerl 6, Aho 2. FT: 11-14. F: 19.
FG shooting - IM: 16-43 (3-pt: 3-8); WIC: 20-52 (3-pt: 10-24). 3-pt FGs - IM: Johnson (3); WIC: Waara (4), Erickson (3), Koski (2), Pellizzer. Rebounding - IM: 35 (Dumais 10); WIC: 32 (Pellizzer 10).