By BURT ANGELI
KINGSFORD - Kingsford's Sam Fleming and West Iron County's Kylee Erickson, two of the area's best and classiest girls tennis players, extended their battles to the basketball floor Monday.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
West Iron County’s Kylee Erickson (22) attempts to drive past Kingsford’s Andrea Roell (13) in Monday’s non-conference girls basketball game. Wykons’ Megan Miatech sets a screen on the Flivvers’ Carlee Benzie.
Chalk this one up for the Flivvers, a 49-42 non-conference decision.
"Overall, it was just a good win," said Coach Mike Cross, his Flivvers plagued by turnovers in recent games. "We handled the ball a lot better than we have. We shot the ball much better."
Carlee Benzie's 15 points along with 12 each from Fleming and Courtney Qualley paced the Flivvers. Erickson led the Wykons with 14, but was held to two in the second half when the Flivvers went to a man defense and Fleming took over.
The Flivvers played a zone with full-court pressure in the first half.
"When we came out of that (first-half defense) we did a real nice job on Erickson," said Cross, his Flivvers down 29-25 at intermission. "Sam Fleming did a great job in the second half. We made a real big effort that she (Erickson) wasn't open. Andrea Roell did a real nice job helping as they were setting screens."
Fleming opened the second half with a triple and added another in the fourth quarter. The senior sank two treys in the first half.
"Sam Fleming hitting those shots is a big deal," Cross noted.
Wykons coach Mike Dallavalle cited Fleming's offense and defense.
"We left Fleming open and that hurt," Dallavalle said. "They did a great job on Kylee in the second half."
West Iron managed eight points in the third quarter - with only a Megan Miatech bucket over the final four minutes - and five in the fourth - three on an Alexis Golfis' triple and two Erickson free throws.
"For a while we were executing OK," Dallavalle said of the second half. "We were getting the ball inside but we weren't making anything. That (17-8) third quarter seemed to be the difference in the game."
Cross admitted to being headstrong in sticking with the press and zone for the entire first half.
"Obviously, a tale of two halves," Cross said. "The first half had more to do with coaching. I was stubborn. We were pressing and maybe we shouldn't have been."
Wykons' Golfis added nine points; Emilie Christensen, eight, and Miatech, seven with 11 rebounds. Erickson handed out three assists.
"I was really happy with our first half," Dallavalle said. "We dribbled a lot less against their pressure and moved the ball against that press with a pass. We found open people and they had to pull the press off.
"Everybody seemed to be in the flow of the game."
West Iron held a 26-19 lead with 1:17 left in the first half.
The Wykons, trailing 42-37 after three quarters, closed to 44-40 early in the fourth quarter. But the Flivvers, pulling ahead 47-40 after Fleming's triple at the 5:03 mark, held the ball for the final four minutes.
"Kingsford did a great job stalling the last four minutes," Dallavalle said.
The Flivvers shaved minutes off the clock but three missed bonus free throw chances kept things close. Benzie converted two free throws with 36 seconds to ice the contest.
"Typically, we'll make those free throws," Cross said. "We're good enough to do that (delay). We just have to do a better job of putting them in."
West Iron (1-4) hosts Hancock on Thursday. Kingsford (5-2) returns in 2013, entertaining rival Iron Mountain on Friday, Jan. 4.
Kingsford, behind Maria Wiltzius' 14 points, defeated West Iron 54-33 in the junior varsity game. Peshtigo overcame Lexi Lindeman's 10 points to beat the Flivver frosh 46-23.
West Iron 18 11 8 5 - 52
Kingsford 14 11 17 7 - 49
WEST IRON: Golfis 9, Christensen 8, Erickson 14, Pellizzer 4, Miatech 7. FT: 3-8. F: 15.
KINGSFORD: Fleming 12, Benzie 15, Roell 6, Tresedder 2, Larson 2, Qualley 12. FT: 10-15. F: 9.
3-point FG: Fleming 4, Benzie, Golfis 3, Erickson 4. FG shooting: Kingsford 17-41, WIC 16-52. Rebounding: Kingsford 27 (Qualley 6), WIC 40 (Miatech 11).