D3 SEMIS: Wonders scores 34, as Iron Mountain beats Schoolcraft in OT to return to finals
EAST LANSING — It took two seasons — and overtime — but Iron Mountain is headed back to the Division 3 finals.
Foster Wonders scored 18 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, as the unbeaten Mountaineers squeaked past Schoolcraft, 54-50, to earn a spot in Saturday’s D3 title game.
The Moutaineers (19-0) lost to Pewamo-Westphalia, 53-52, in a controversial finish in the D3 finals two season ago, and were 21-1 and still alive in the district finals when last season was ended by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Iron Mountain will face Flint Beecher (15-1) in Saturday’s 3 p.m. title contest. The Bucs, who have won six titles and made 11 trips to the finals, beat Hanover-Horton, 47-34, in the day’s first D3 semifinal.
It was a back-and-forth game between Iron Mountain and the taller Schoolcraft Eagles (19-2), with 12 lead changes and four ties.
The last of those was at the end of regulation, when Jonathon Able turned a steal into a layup with 27 seconds left, to tie it at 42-42. The Mountaineers got a shot off at the buzzer, but missed, sending it to overtime.
In the extra session, Iron Mountain took a lead just 12 seconds in, on a layup by Jurgen Kleiman, and built the lead to seven points with a jumper by Wonders, and three free throws by Caleb Evosevich-Hynes.
Schoolcraft got it back to two with a three-point play by Shane Ryske and a layup by Bryce VanderWiere, but Wonders pumped it up to four again, 53-49, with two free throws. After a free throw by Ty Riske with 15 seconds left made it a one-possession game again, Ricky Brown split at the line for IM with 12 seconds left to make it a four-point game again, 54-40. The Eagles got a 3-point attempt off with four seconds left, and Iron Mountain could dribble out the win.
Schoolcraft led 38-37 with 2:27 left in regulation before Wonders hit a 3-pointer to put the Mountaineers ahead, 40-38, finishing off a 16-6 run that erased what had been an eight-point Schoolcraft lead early in the fourth.
Evosevich-Hynes and Brown added seven each for Iron Mountain.
Bryce VanderWiere led Schoolcraft with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Shane Ryske had 14 points, and Ty Riske 11.