L'ANSE - Calumet brought its best defensive effort of the season to Thursday's WestPAC matchup of the U.P.'s No. 3 and No. 5 teams in Class ABC and took home a 44-21 victory.
The win officially makes the WestPAC standings a two-horse race. Both Houghton and Calumet are 5-1 with two league games remaining, including a matchup with the Gremlins in Calumet Feb. 11.
"We worked really hard. The game got sloppy, it wasn't always fun to watch, but both teams worked hard all night and I was real proud of the effort, especially on the defensive end," Calumet coach Don Hill said.
The Copper Kings dealt with L'Anse's powerful trio - Hill credited Lexie Rowe with tight defense on sharpshooter Kelsey Ross, holding her to two points. Terilynne Budreau and Abby Bjorn patrolled the front court trying to cut off driving lanes for Madi Swanson, and L'Anse was without an ill Valerie Rajala.
"First half, when we did get looks, we just didn't make the shots," L'Anse coach Scott Lloyd said. "Nothing came without being contested. They're a very good defensive team."
The Copper Kings held L'Anse to 10 first-half points, though by scoring only 20 themselves, kept the outcome in doubt.
Clara Loukus drilled two of her three treys in the third quarter as Calumet expanded its edge to 30-16 and rode to the finish.
"We weren't making free throws, so those threes that she hit were big baskets at the time," Hill said.
Bjorn finished with a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds to lead Calumet (11-2), which hosts Chassell Monday night.
"I think we had a deeper team tonight and that was the difference," Hill said.
Swanson's 12 points led L'Anse, which falls to 9-5 (2-3 WestPAC) going into a Tuesday home game with West Iron County.
Calumet won the JV game, 39-35.
Calumet 8 12 10 14 - 44
L'Anse 7 3 6 5 - 21
Calumet - Abby Bjorn 10, Clara Loukus 9, Kristy Lasanen 7, Terilynne Budreau 5, Lexie Rowe 5, Terra Erkkila 4, Tristan Baranowski 2, Katie Djerf 2; FT: 6-17; Fouls: 16; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Loukus 3, Lasanen 1.
L'Anse - Madi Swanson 12, Kayla LaBerge 3, Kelsey Ross 2, Allison Koskinen 2, Abby Hendrickson 2; FT: 6-11; Fouls: 17; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: LaBerge 1.
Chassell 50, Lake Linden-Hubbell 44
CHASSELL - Chassell hit half a hundred for the first time this season to edge Lake Linden-Hubbell in Copper Country Conference play.
"One of our goals was really to start scoring. To be honest, a lot of the reasons why we've been losing the last couple times was we haven't been putting the points up," Chassell coach Brandi Hainault said.
Chassell put the points up, particularly late, outscoring the Lakes 17-10 in the fourth quarter of a close one.
Jamie Dompier led Chassell (8-5, 5-2 CCC) with 19 points, but the Panthers also got significant scoring contributions from Karli Michaels (10 points), Kirsten Daavettila (nine) and Sara Kilpela (eight).
Dompier and Kilpela, both small guards, worked hard on the glass, too, collecting nine and eight rebounds apiece.
"The biggest thing that was effective was as soon as we shot the ball we rebounded. We were able to get a couple shots off. Even if we were missing, we were able to shoot more on one end before we had to play defense," Hainault said.
Brittni Kisul scored 19 and Sarah Audette 11 for the Lakes, who fall to 6-7 (2-4 CCC). LL-H plays at Baraga next Thursday.
Chassell faces Republic-Michigamme in a JV-level game tonight before traveling to Calumet Monday.
LL-Hubbell 10 12 12 10 - 44
Chassell 7 13 13 17 - 50
Lake Linden-Hubbell - Erin Gast 4, Sarah Audette 11, Brooke Corrigan 7, Brittni Kisul 19, Abby Sutherland 2, Kayla Goodell 1; FT: 9-13; Fouls: 24; Fouled out: Corrigan; 3-point field goals: Corrigan 1.
Chassell - Jamie Dompier 19, Karli Michaels 10, Kirsten Daavettila 9, Sara Kilpela 8, Tawna Ryynanen 2, Madeline Huhta 2; FT: 13-21; Fouls: 14; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Dompier 2, Daavettila 1.