Boys Basketball: Dollar Bay holds off Wakefield-Marenisco

WAKEFIELD — If you can hold the No. 1 team in the Upper Peninsula to two fourth-quarter points, you’d certainly like your chances.

But Wakefield-Marenisco dug too big of a hole earlier in Monday night’s game, trailing by as many as 21 points in the third quarter.

Dollar Bay’s winning margin was 10 (59-49) but they were still happy to see the clock run out after W-M turned the tables on them in the final quarter, outscoring them 10-2 with their only basket coming in the final minute.

“We made some adjustments on defense going into that fourth quarter and it worked. I probably should have made it earlier,” W-M coach Terry Fetters said. “What are you going to do? They’re the No. 1 team in the U.P. I’m just proud we stuck with them and hung with them right till the end. We came from a 20-point deficit and we didn’t give up.”

The game was still close, 27-22 with 4:47 left in the first half, before the Blue Bolts ended the first half on a 12-2 run with Davin Hill scoring seven of the 12 points.

“That’s what did us in right there,” Fetters said.

The Blue Bolts were a nightmare to stop most of the night. That run made it 39-24 at halftime. They went 6 of 7 from 3, Hill scored 18 of his game-high 26 points and Ashton Janke had 11 of his 17 in the first half.

It continued into the third quarter as Hill scored his other eight points and Dollar Bay built the margin as high as 21, 53-32. It was nearly that, 18 points, 57-39, going into the fourth.

“They’re just good,” Fetters said. “They can shoot. They attack you and they finish. They’re strong. If you play up too tight, you’re going to get burned; if you sag off, they’re going to hit the 3. You try to stay out of foul trouble. They’re just a good team.”

But the game totally switched in the fourth quarter. Logan Hamel, who led W-M with 18 points, made back-to-back baskets inside and Adam Libertoski hit a 3 to pull the Cardinals within 57-48 with a lot of time left, 4 minutes and 3 seconds.

But the offense dried up for W-M, too, as the teams combined for three points the rest of the way. Dollar Bay spent most of the last couple of minutes successfully stalling as W-M didn’t use many of their six fouls to give.

Janke scored Dollar Bay’s only points of the fourth quarter by getting to the rim in the final minute, making it 59-48, and Morgan Miskovich, who had 17 points, got to the free throw line and made one for the Cardinals with 19.9 seconds left.

W-M changed some defensive assignments to spur their comeback attempt. Fetters put Adam Libertoski on Hill and some bigger – and fresh players – off the bench on the 6-4 Janke.

“Hayden Makela did a really nice job on him,” Fetters said. “We had some of these other guys rotating in They gave us a little bit of a spark there. I could see it coming. It was just too late. We just ran out of time.”

Thank goodness the clock ran out was more like it from Dollar Bay’s perspective.

“It was a rough fourth quarter,” Dollar Bay coach Jesse Kentala said. “We talked after the game to the guys, we said, ‘Well that fourth quarter put a little damper on what I thought was an overall good game for three quarters.’ I thought we played really well and played disciplined, played fast, played aggressively. We did all the right things the first three quarters and then I thought we just took a lot of bad shots. It was just short possessions, poor shots and then we started getting lost defensively.”

W-M came into the game with a 5-2 record; a team to be reckoned with for sure, but also a team still searching for that signature win. They made a run at one in the fourth quarter.

“Credit Wakefield,” Kentala said. “We know they’re good. We knew they weren’t going to lay down for us at any point. But a lot of that was our own doing, not playing with the leadership and discipline we needed to in the fourth quarter.”

Kentala implored his team to get by their defenders in the fourth quarter like they had been during the game.

“Then it opens up so many opportunities for everybody else,” he said. “That’s what happened in the first three quarters, we were attacking the basket. Davin Hill was a master the first three quarters getting to the rim and distributing the ball.”

In the end, the Blue Bolts remain the only unbeaten Division 4 team in the U.P. at 9-0. And they don’t have to spend the 11 days until their next game, Jan. 31 against Lake Linden-Hubbell, wondering what went wrong had they let W-M come back to win.

Their schedule hasn’t been an easy one thus far. Of those nine games, six of them came on the road.

“All of them pretty tough games, there’s a lot of parity in our conference,” Kentala said. “I told the guys, ‘It puts a lot of pressure on you, you have to bring it every single night. You can’t take nights off. It felt like we took a quarter off tonight.”

W-M (5-3, 5-2) plays at Hurley Thursday in what looks to be an excellent local matchup.

DB 21 18 18 2 — 59

W-M 13 11 15 10 — 49

DOLLAR BAY (59): Datto 8, Janke 17, Myllyoja 2, LeClaire 6, Hill 26. FTs: 3-7. F: 11. Fouled out: None. 3-point FG: Janke 3, Hill 2, Datto 1.

WAKEFIELD-MARENISCO (49): Libertoski 2, Miskovich 17, Libertoski 8, Cole 4, Hamel 18. FTs: 5-9. F: 11. Fouled out: None. 3-point FG: A. Libertoski 2, Miskovich 1, Hamel 1.

West Iron County 53, Houghton 42

IRON RIVER — Despite a game-high 26 points from Brad Simonsen of Houghton including four triples, the West Iron County Wykons prevailed 53-42 in West PAC conference action Monday.

Junior center Justin Nelson of the Wykons recorded a double-double, with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Peyton Williams added 10 points for West Iron.

“We started the game with a 10 or 12 point run,” said WIC head coach Dan Schive. “The Nelson’s scored all 18 of our first quarter points, Justin with 12 of them and Brayden the other six.”

Noting that both teams played good defense throughout most of the game, Schive also noted the Gremlins did not attempt a free throw in the game. “It was a very well played basketball game on both ends of the floor, by both teams.”

Houghton hosts Escanaba on Thursday, while West Iron hosts rival Forest Park.

Houghton 6 9 10 17 — 42

West Iron 18 13 5 17 — 53

HOUGHTON (42): Simonsen 26, Salgado 9, Primeau 5, Jurva 2. FT: None. F: 16 3-point FG: Salgado 1, Simonsen 4, Primeau 1.

WEST IRON COUNTY (53): J. Nelson 20, Williams 10, B. Nelson 8, Ballinger 8, Thomson 5, Dobson 2. FT: 9-13. F: 8. 3-point FG: Thomson 1, J. Nelson 2, Ballinger 1. Rebounds: 30 (J. Nelson 16).