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At half time, Iron Mountain Mountaineers coach Katelynn Greneir told her girls two things. First, sprint back on defense and second, be patient in choosing their shots on offense.
As the game wound down to the final moments, the Mountaineers followed her advice quite literally.
In a strange turn of events with the score tied at 47, the Mountaineers held the ball and worked it around their end of the court for well over a minute before Greiner called a time out. After the timeout and the ensuing in-bounds, Regan Lundholm was fouled on the floor with 40 seconds left and went to the free throw line. She sunk the first one and missed the second.
The Copper Kings got the rebound but could not capitalize at the other end of the court, allowing the Mountaineers to escape the Calumet Gym with a 48-47 win.
Copper Kings coach Matt Laho said it was their third loss in a row that came at the end of the game.
“I told the girls that they’ve got to want the ball and want to win,” he said. “At the end, they should never had the ball for that long. Our girls should have been up in their face trying to get the ball.”
More importantly, he added, was the fact that the game should not come down to the last moments, but rather that momentum should be laid down early on in the game.
Greiner described the game as a back-and-forth contest, and it was. The Mountaineers got on the scoreboard first with an Emma Thomann shot off the glass. Saylor Swartout followed with a three. The Copper Kings turned things around and tied the game at five.
The Mountaineers had a hard time stopping the speed of guards Celia Kiilunen and Elli Djerf. Both had a number of layups in the first and second quarters of the game as Laho had his team running with the ball as much as they could.
“If I can see that a running game will work, then we will go with it,” he said.
The game was tied at nine after the first quarter. Iron Mountain pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring the Copper Kings 12-6.
“In the second quarter, I thought we hit our shots when we needed them,” said Grenier.
With just a second on the clock Lundholm sunk a three-pointer to put her team ahead 21-15 at the half.
In the third, the Copper Kings gained momentum and quickly made it a one-point game at 21-20. They continued their offensive pressure and went ahead 29-28 with less than four minutes to play on a layup by Djerf.
“It was a physical game and a lot of back-and-forth action,” said Grenier.
At the start of the fourth, the score was tied at 35. It was tied again at 37. The Mountaineers’ Faith Bal hit a three that pushed the score to 42-39 in their favor but Calumet would come back and make it 43-42 and eventually the game would be tied at 47.
For the Copper Kings, Kiilunen led the night with 16 points. She was followed by Djerf who poured in 13.
Iron Mountain was led by Riley Poupore who had 20 points and was followed by Thomann who had seven.
Calumet 9 6 20 12 – 47
Iron Mountain 9 12 14 13 – 48
IM: Bal 4, Swartout 5, Lundholm 6, Ellis 4, Stoner 2, Poupore 20, Thomann 7; Fouls: 10; Fouled out: none: 3-point field goals: Poupore 3, Swartout 1, Lundholm 1
CLK: Loukus 6, Anderson 2, Kiilunen 16, Larson 4, Djerf 13, Halonen 2, Torola 4: Fouls: 14; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: none