Defensive change erases halftime deficit as WHS wins in IM

IRON MOUNTAIN – Westwood used a pressing defense to turn around a nine-point halftime deficit and defeat Iron Mountain 45-42 in a Mid-Peninsula Conference girls basketball game played Monday.

Struggling against Westwood’s pressure, the Mountaineers managed just four points in the third quarter. The Patriots chipped away on the other end, and a 3-pointer by Elizabeth Dauphinais-VanBuren a few seconds ahead of the horn put the visitors in front 35-33.

“Our third quarter was the worst quarter of basketball we played this year,” Mountaineers coach John Hogberg said. “We had no effort. We weren’t going after rebounds, and we were throwing it away.”

Daphinais-VanBuren led Westwood with 12 points.

“Give Iron Mountain credit,” Westwood coach Kurt Corcoran said. “They brought the intensity. We just happened to match or exceed it in the second half.”

Physical play kept the scoring down as neither team scored for nearly the first half of the final quarter. Iron Mountain was in the bonus by the end of the third quarter, but failed to take advantage, going 13 for 23 at the line overall.

IM’s Katelynn Johnson, who led all scorers with 19 points, finally connected on a pair of free throws with 4:30 to play to tie the game 35-35. Two more by Johnson at 2:53 put Iron Mountain ahead.

The game approached its final minute with the Mountaineers still in front, looking to run out the clock and get fouled. But three consecutive turnovers quickly turned the tide.

Westwood’s Gabrielle Hebert, Amber Salo and Alexis Forchini each went in for fastbreak layups off the swipes.

“Our defensive pressure finally cracked them,” Corcoran said. “It’s not designed to get so many steals right away but rather to tire out your opponent.”

Iron Mountain still had a chance in the final minute, but 4-for-4 free throw shooting by Hebert, a JV call-up, kept the Patriots ahead. Hebert finished with eight points in her first varsity assignment.

“Gabby added a new dimension to our team,” Corcoran said. “Bottom line is we made our free throws at the end.”

The Mountaineers’ Morgan Bujold scored three of her seven points on a single shot with 40 seconds left to play that pull her team within 41-39.

Westwood won the JV game 44-33.