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Two teams who could well meet again next month in district tournament play got together Monday night in Hancock.
Calumet (9-3) came out of the physical contest with a 45-37 victory in a typical hard fought matchup of the two old rivals.
“It was the kind of game we expect when we play them (Bulldogs),” CHS coach Matt Laho said. “We know it’s going to be physical and close.”
Although leading almost the entire game, the Copper Kings couldn’t draw a deep breath until standout guard Elli Djerf converted a steal into a basket with under a minute left to make it an eight-point lead.
Hancock head coach Dan Pertile said his team’s problems stemmed from some erratic shooting.
“We were right there with them in the second half, but we just couldn’t hit the shots,” Pertile said. “And some of them were pretty easy chances.”
Coming off a stunning victory over Marquette last week, Calumet took the early lead last night after one period as Djerf, Marybeth Halonen and Ellen Sturos knocked down triples for a 13-6 margin.
The Bulldogs (8-7) showed some resolve in the second quarter as senior D’Andra Kero showed the way to make it a 21-19 Calumet lead at halftime.
But Djerf nailed a three-pointer from outside to begin the third stanza and the ‘Kings made it 34-27 by quarter’s end.
The winners stretched the lead out to as much as 12 points in the final frame as center Lizzie Torola and Jana Loukus hit key hoops.
“I think once we calmed down a little bit in the second half, we began to move away a little bit,” Laho noted. “It’s nice to have the big girl (Torola) back in there. She gives us a presence underneath and does a good job of clearing the boards for us.”
Pertile, whose team is now ranked No. 2 in the upcoming district and will host the six-team (Ironwood, Norway, Gwinn and Iron Mountain are the others) event, said his charges must pick up its offensive game.
“We have to shoot better, it’s really as simple as that,” Pertile said. “If we can do that, we’ve got as good a shot as anyone.”
Calumet was led by Djerf’s 13 points, five steals and four assists. Torola contributed 10 points and a team-leading 11 rebounds.
The Bulldogs were topped by D’Andra Kero with 12 points and a handful of steals. Freshman Kaisa Salani was good for eight points off the bench.
Calumet will host L’Anse on Thursday, while Hancock goes to Gwinn next Tuesday.
Calumet 13 8 13 11 — 45
Hancock 6 13 8 10 — 37
Calumet (45): Djerf 13, Loukus 5, Torola 10, Halonen 5, Sturos 6, Giachino 2, Strom 4. FT: 8-13. Rebounds: 27 (Torola 11). Fouls 17. Fouled ut: None. 3-point FG: (Djerf 2, Sturos 2, Halonen 1).
HANCOCK (37): Sebbas 6, D. Kero 12, M. Kero 3, Chynoweth 4, Pertile 2, Salani 8, Driscoll 2. FT: 9-12. Rebounds: 22 (Sebbas 7) Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None. 3-point FG: None.