Girls basketball: West Iron faces Hematites in regional semifinal

Forest Park squares off against Bark River in Class D regional semis

West Iron County’s girls basketball district champions take another step Tuesday in the state tournament.

The Wykons (18-4) and Ishpeming (19-3) meet in a Class C Region 24 opener at 5:30 p.m. EST Tuesday at Escanaba. The other regional semifinal pits St. Ignace (21-1) and Houghton (15-7).

In Class D Region 32 at Kingsford, Forest Park (13-9) and Skyline Central Conference foe Bark River-Harris (17-5) will tangle at 5 p.m. Munising (22-1) and Chassell (22-1) will meet in the second semifinal at 6:45 p.m.

The young Wykons, with three sophomores in the starting lineup, will face the Hematites with five seniors playing regularly.

“They know how to take care of the basketball, so they don’t turn it over often,” said WIC coach Eric Shamion. “They are all capable three-point shooters, so they always look for the open girl. We’ve got our work cut out for us on the defensive end.”

Sophomore Eden Golliher, an All-West PAC first-team pick, and junior Colbi Laturi each scored 13 points to lead the Wykons past Iron Mountain 56-47 in the district finals.

Guard Madigan Johns scored 20 points to spark Ishpeming past Westwood 59-52 for the district crown.

“Ryan Reichel is a very good coach,” Shamion said of his Ishpeming counterpart. “He’ll have his team ready but so will we. Should be a great game.”

Hematites’ Mariah Austin added 16 points and Chloe Sjoholm had 11 in the district final.

“When you’ve got five seniors starting, you’ve invested a lot with them,” said Reichel. “It feels good to be on the winning side of this hoisting the trophy in your own gym.”

In the other half of the Class C regional, Houghton turned back L’Anse 46-31 for a fourth straight district title. St. Ignace, regarded as one of the best teams in the state regardless of class, ousted Indian River Inland Lakes 75-10 in the district finals.

Class C Region 24 champion heads to Gaylord on March 13 for the quarterfinals.

In the Class D regional, Forest Park and Bark River split during the regular season.

“Bark River is a strong team with some very talented players,” said Lady Trojans coach Jackie Giuliani. “We respect their program and always expect a high intensity game when we play each other.”

Bark River features all-league first-teamer Megan Robinette and standout defender Hailee Demers.

“We need to make sure that our defense is top notch and limit their second chance shots,” Giuliani said. “When we played them last week, we had very balanced scoring so that will be another goal for us to share the ball and find the open teammate.”

Dalas Loehr’s 10 points topped Forest Park in the Feb. 22 win over the Broncos. Four other Trojans scored at least eight points including all-conference Hannah Cross and sophomore center Mercedes Simmons.

Simmons accounted for 52 points and 35 rebounds in district wins over Ewen-Trout Creek and Wakefield-Marenisco.

“I feel we need to limit our turnovers and shoot well,” Giuliani said. “If we are able to get those stats in our favor, then I feel we have a good chance of getting a win.”

Robinette’s 12 points led Bark River past North Central 46-34 for the district title.

“Forest Park is a tough basketball team but no-matter what, we’re going to be ready,” said Broncos coach Josh Eagle.

Top-ranked Munising downed Big Bay de Noc 60-45 for a berth in the regional. Junior center Michaela Werner scored 20 points. Skyline Central Player of thew Year Kianne Wendt had 16 points and senior guard Marissa Ackerman added 13 for the Mustangs, who committed just five turnovers.

Big Bay senior forward Brooke Dalgord finished her prep career with 1,000 points.

“Munising has the best team we’ve played,” Dalgord said. “Kianne is unstoppable when they get into their up-tempo game.”

Chassell, despite 21 turnovers, clipped Ontonagon 52-37 for the district championship.

“I told the girls the fact that they won with how bad we played, it shows their character,” Chassell coach Brandi Hainault said. “It shows what they’re capable of doing.

“Every good team has bad games, and I don’t think that we necessarily played a bad game, we just didn’t play our game.”

Chassell’s 6-foot-2 Sydney Danison recorded her third double-double of the tournament with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

The Panthers, ranked second to Munising in the UP poll, have something to prove.

“There’s that chip of this area being bad at basketball,” Hainault said. “I’m tired of it. I want to prove to that area we are good an that we deserve to be there and deserve to be No. 1.”

Class D Region 32 champion advances to Negaunee or Sault Ste. Marie for the quarterfinals.