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Bucky Johnson reflects on a memorable season for Mountaineers

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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WJMN) – The Iron Mountain Boys Basketball team just wrapped up one of the most memorable postseason runs in U.P. basketball history.

The Mountaineers battled through seven games in just seventeen days but ran out of gas in the state championship game, falling to Flint-Beecher.

“We just said in the huddle after the game that the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but nobody can take away the relationships that we built and the memories that we made. It was just a tremendous ride. Foster was at the heart of it. I don’t know he’s the leading scorer in the history of Upper Peninsula basketball which I hold in high regard,” said Bucky Johnson, the head coach for the Iron Mountains Boys Basketball team.

The defeat was heartbreaking for the Mountaineers who found themselves the state runner-up for the second time in three years.

No one may have taken the loss harder than senior Foster Wonders who had his best season which capped off a historic career.

“You know, like coach Izzo said, ‘you want guys that live it.’ Oh, who lived it more than Foster Wonders? Let me ask you that, not many people. That kid spent more time in the gym, I can’t even begin to tell you the countless hours. He wanted it bad. He wanted to avenge that state loss and it was crushing to him that we weren’t able to do it,” said Johnson.

Even while coming to grips with the heartbreaking loss. Wonders found time to show everyone he was born to lead.

He was seen congratulating every member of the Bucs team in the back hallway. Which showed the ultimate act of sportsmanship.

“He represented himself, his family our school, the Upper Peninsula at a high level of character of effort. He put a team on his back. I mean, he was phenomenal,” said Johnson.

Despite falling short of a state title, Johnson says he’s grateful for the ride of a lifetime.

“I’ve got to do it with people that I love dearly. You know, my son and all of his teammates. You know, my father in law, my assistant coach, and my son Kyle was able to coach this year. I mean, these are tears of joy, Jake. I mean, they are. I feel like I’m the luckiest coach in the state. I know we just got beat but, yeah, it makes me emotional because it has been so fun and enjoyable. It’s like they are really like dreams come true,” said Johnson.

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