LAKE LINDEN - For the better part of three quarters Thursday, the Jeffers boys' basketball team withstood all the pressure, physicality and runs that undefeated Lake Linden-Hubbell could manage.
But the Lakes are relentless. And sophomore Tyler Roose is unshakeable.
The combination of the two proved too much to handle for the Jets over a full 32 minutes, as LL-H finished victorious 63-45 in a contest much closer than the final score indicates.
Lake Linden-Hubbell's Cody Kumpula drives to the basket in the first half of Thursday's game against Jeffers. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
Roose poured in a career high 31 points - 24 of which came in the second half, 15 in the fourth quarter - and the Lakes overcame a one-point halftime deficit thanks to a deep bench and high-energy defense.
"What a great night of high school basketball," Lakes coach Jack Kumpula said. "That was a ferocious contest. The tempo was up, the crowd was excited. it was a closer game than (63-45), but I think we did all the little things right at the end, taking care of the ball and making free throws, to pull it out."
With four minutes to go in the third quarter, Jeffers held a five-point edge over Lake Linden.
Jeffers 6 15 12 12 - 45
LL-Hubbell 8 12 17 26 - 63
Jeffers - Alex Outinen 9, Zachary Nicholas 12, Troy Kinnunen 13, Brady Turner 1, Myles Rajala 1, Tyler Andrews 5, Chris Outinen 5; FT: 10-20; Team fouls: 16; Three-point field goals: Alex Outinen 1, Nicholas 1, Kinnunen 2, Chris Outinen 1.
LL-Hubbell - Cole Beauchamp 5, Trent Ambuehl 9, Luke Monette 10, Brett Poissant 6, Tyler Roose 33, Alex Knight 2; FT: 9-15; Team fouls: 21; Three-point field goals: Beauchamp 1, Monette 1, Roose 6.
The tide turned, however, when Roose sank two consecutive threes to give the Lakes a four-point lead at the break. Both came as a result of strong ball movement against the Jets' 3-2 zone, leaving the Lakes' best distance shooter wide open on ball-reversals. Roose nailed six triples total.
The floodgates then busted open in the fourth quarter, with LL-H pouring in 26 points as Jeffers failed to break the run.
"We haven't seen a lot of zone this year, but we did a nice job working it, being patient and getting the open shot," Kumpula said.
"We kicked it out to (Roose) in the fourth quarter three times and he hit every one of them," Kumpula added. "That is just clutch."
With an extremely deep rotation, Kumpula was able to throw fresh bodies at the tiring Jeffers guards of Troy Kinnunen, Alex Outinen and Chris Outinen.
Roose pushed the lead to nine points early in the fourth quarter with a steal at halfcourt the sophomore finished for an old-school three-point play at the rim.
"I think our defense just wore them down by the end," Kumpula said. "We missed some shots, but our defense, the kids worked their tails off and they never quit."
Containing top scorer Troy Kinnunen was the key for Kumpula.
Although Jeffers lost to Lake Linden in a non-conference game right before winter break began, Kinnunen was still able to get 35 points in the defeat.
With several defenders rotating on to Kinnunen, the Lakes limited the sweet shooter to 13 points on 16 shots.
"He lit us up for 35 the last time we saw him and that was hard for us to take," Kumpula said. "So we made a commitment and it was just team defense. We switched four different kids rotating through on him to try and wear him down, because he is so tough."