Ironwood boys’ basketball accomplished two major goals in its 67-47 victory over Apollo in 5A basketball on Friday night.
The win is the Eagles’ first road victory over Apollo in team history.
“It’s significant just because they’re a phenomenal program,” said Ironwood coach Jordan Augustine of the Hawks, “and it matters because of how excellent they are.”
The victory also ensures the Eagles the best overall record in the 5A Northwest Region with just one game remaining.
“We are region champions now, so that’s a huge step in the right direction,” said senior guard Dominic Gonzalez
The Eagles started fast, bursting to a 17-4 lead due to excellent, fast defense and a few made shots on the other end. Apollo cut the lead to single digits, due in part to seven consecutive points scored by junior Jordan Bombolis.
Ironwood led just 30-25 at the half.
The Eagles kept up their intensity after the break, and several steals late in the fourth quarter allowed them to ice the game.
“He (Augustine) just told us to stay composed, and that this always happens when we come to Apollo. We kind of knew they would fight back because they’re a good team, but we kept working and got it done,” Gonzalez said.
Ironwood had a bit of a scare though, as Gonzalez took a loose elbow to his throat in the third quarter. He had to come off the floor and seek attention from the athletic trainer, but was inserted back into the game minutes later. There appeared to be no major damage.
“I’m fine,” he said, with his voice still somewhat hoarse. “I’m going to be able to play for sure.”
The Eagles are 23-3 overall, and 16-1 in conference play with a long regular season game remaining before the 5A state championship.
Augustine is proud of the way his team is progressed, but said there is still a lot of work to do.
“It’s a race, and it’s what everyone’s trying to do right now, get to the best version of themselves, and ultimately whoever does that is going to win the state championship,” he said.
The Eagles host Raymond. S. Kellis on Feb. 11.