CALUMET - When a basketball game requires overtime to reach a decision, it usually comes down to who can make a play beyond the ordinary to separate one team from another.
By the time triple OT has come around - as it did Monday night for the Calumet and Lake Linden-Hubbell boys' basketball teams - that dictum is even more enhanced. Overtime possessions are at such a premium, with both teams fully focused on avoiding a potential game-ending mistake, that it requires a special moment from a player embracing the pressure to break the deadlock.
The Lakes' Cole Beauchamp is one such player. With LL-H trailing by two and less than 20 seconds remaining on the clock in the game's 44th minute, Beauchamp found himself open several feet beyond the 3-point line after a loose ball scramble fell to him.
Lake Linden-Hubbell sophomore Tyler Roose, who finished with a game high 25 points Monday, wraps a pass around on the baseline in the fourth quarter to find teammate Luke Monette for a layup attempt. The Lakes won 49-48 in triple overtime. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
He didn't hesitate.
And the Lakes beat Calumet 49-48.
"I looked down, and I was a pretty good distance away from the (3-point line), but I thought I wasn't going to get another chance to do this so I just put it up and hoped for the best," Beauchamp, who finished with eight points, said. "I'm not really the best shooter, but I'll take that one."
LL-Hubbell 7 11 11 8 2 5 5-49
Calumet 14 6 10 7 2 5 4 -48
LL-H - Tyler Roose 25, Cole Beauchamp 8, Trent Ambuehl 3, Alex Knight 3, Luke Monette 7; FT: 6-10; 3-point field goals: Roose 4, Beauchamp 2.
Calumet - Paul Torola 9, Noah Blake 2, Seth Pieti 2, Daniel Olson 5, Owen Kariniemi 12, Chad Sturos 6, Jake Pieti 12. FT: 14-27; 3-point field goals: none.
"You can draw up all the plays in the world, but the defense goes different than you think it would and I was thinking of calling a timeout and then some kid just goes and knocks down a 22-footer," Lakes coach Jack Kumpula added. "That was awesome."
With Calumet junior forward Jake Pieti's eight-foot attempt falling away no good at the buzzer, Beauchamp's bomb gave Lake Linden its first win over Calumet since at least 2007 and stamped the conclusion of the first Copper Country triple-overtime thriller since at least 2007 - the farthest back such data was available.
"We stood in there and we took their punches," Kumpula said. "We just played hard. I am so proud of the kids."
Both team's were given multiple opportunities to win - Calumet in regulation and the initial overtime; LL-H in the second OT - but each time the trailer's never-say-die attitude necessitated play continue.
Lakes sophomore Tyler Roose, who led LL-H with 25 points, hit a huge step-back three (his fourth of the night) with 23 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to earn the first OT and then sent the game into a second extra period with a offensive rebound putback that eliminated Calumet's two-point advantage.
Then, with the Lakes leading by four in double OT and a minute left to play, the Copper Kings forced the third and final continuation when senior Owen Kariniemi and Pieti knocked down four straight free throws. Pieti's conversions were especially impressive as the junior had gone 1-for-4 from the line previously in the second OT.
The key to succeeding in overtime basketball, according to Beauchamp, is to forget the fact that you are playing overtime basketball.
"Our coaches just told us to settle down, have some fun and just play," Beauchamp said.
"I'm happy (to shoot it), but it was really just a team effort all around. Everyone played well tonight, and I am just happy I could make that shot."
Calumet held a four-point lead in the final OT with one minute to play after Kariniemi opened the period with four points. A steal and layup from the Lakes' Luke Monette followed by pair of missed free throws from Kariniemi kept the door open for Beauchamp's heroics, however.
Calumet went 14-for-27 from the free throw line on the night.
"In close games you have to take care of the basketball and you have to make some free throws," Calumet coach Mike Ojala said. "We didn't do that consistent enough at all tonight. When you shoot 27 free throws that is generally a pretty good stat, but you have to make more than 14 of them."
In regulation, the Copper Kings appeared set to run away with the game early, opening a seven-point lead in the first quarter. Lake Linden's press started to wear on Calumet though, and the hosts managed just six points in the second quarter for a two-point halftime lead.
Roose found his groove offensively from the second quarter on, scoring 15 of the Lakes' 21 points to eventually take a one-point lead in the third quarter.
Even with Calumet switching 6-foot-3 guard Paul Torola onto the 5-foot-10 Roose defensively from the fourth period on, the sophomore still found room for his shot, hitting two fourth-quarter threes along with two big baskets in the OT sessions.
"Tyler is so tough," Kumpula said. "By the end of the third quarter they were draping two or three guys on him. He just kept playing and he kept looking for his shot. Not to mention that he is a sophomore. He is our basketball player. We work around Tyler and Tyler makes us go."
"I don't think we had the sense of urgency needed on him for the whole game," Ojala added. "He was the best player on the floor tonight."