HOUGHTON - There was much to celebrate for the Houghton girls' basketball team Thursday.
First, a 60-39 win over a solid Ontonagon team. Second, making nearly certain that they will be ranked No. 1 in the next U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Class ABC poll. Third, the win was the 300th in coach Julie Filpus' coaching career.
"It's obviously a tribute to our girls learning throughout the first three, four games, what we struggled with and using the experience in those games to keep improving. We've seen steady growth from this group from the beginning of the season through now and I just hope we continue that," Filpus said.
The Gremlins, now 16-1 overall, have won 14 consecutive games since their conference opener Dec. 4 at L'Anse, including a victory over No. 1 Marquette on Monday.
Houghton put this one away with a 21-5 advantage in the second quarter.
"In the second quarter, we put some fullcourt pressure on Ontonagon and were able to get some separation," Filpus said.
The Gremlins led 37-18 at the half and rolled into the finish from there. They got a big night in the frontcourt against the smaller Gladiators, as Elisa Jurmu led all scorers with 22 points, while forward Blaire Zenner built on her career game vs. Marquette by posting a double-double of a career-high 16 points and 11 rebounds.
"We were able to pound the ball inside and actually able to get Blaire open against their zone for some 10- to 15-footers, which she does a really nice job at knocking down."
Brooke Turin led Ontonagon (11-4) with 13 points. The Gladiators claimed a nice consolation prize, winning a share the Copper Country Conference title by virtue of Chassell's loss at Dollar Bay.
Ontonagon can claim the whole thing by winning any of three CCC games over a five-day stretch beginning at Baraga next Thursday night.
Houghton returns to the floor Monday (5:45 p.m.) at Calumet in a game for the outright WestPAC lead. The Gremlins won the JV game.
Ontonagon 13 5 9 12 - 39
Houghton 16 21 8 15 - 60
Ontonagon - Molly Domitrovich 3, Chloe Ashley 2, Brooke Turin 13, Abby Domitrovich 2, Brilynn Pollard 6, Bobbi Ross 5, Chelsea Truscott 6, Lori Wardynski 2; FT: 5-11; Fouls: 13; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Truscott 1, Turin 1.
Houghton - Noelle Polakowski 4, Alexa Johnson 6, Ashley Laux 2, Blaire Zenner 16, Ashlyn Kero 3, Kelsie Richards 5, Elisa Jurmu 22, Sydney Dillinger 2; FT: 12-16; Fouls: 12; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Johnson 2.
L'Anse 61, Hancock 29
L'ANSE - L'Anse got under Hancock's skin from the outside, building on a 16-3 first-quarter advantage for the straightforward WestPAC win.
L'Anse coach Scott Lloyd said his team's full-court man-to-man pressure was successful.
"It seemed to bother Hancock, so we were in good shape already after the first quarter," he said.
The Purple Hornets continued to build on their lead, helped by their three main threats: Madi Swanson, who led all scorers with 21 points; Kelsey Ross, who hit four treys for a 16-point night; and Valerie Rajala, who added 12.
"We really played good team basketball. We made the extra passes and reversed the ball," Lloyd said.
Molly Berg led Hancock (5-11, 0-6 WestPAC) with 11 points. The Bulldogs host West Iron County Monday.
L'Anse, which won the JV game, hosts Lake Linden-Hubbell for a make-up game Monday.
Hancock 3 8 11 7 - 29
L'Anse16 15 18 12 - 61
Hancock - Molly Berg 11, Mackenzie Brunet 4, Kirsten Berg 4, Lily Williams 4, Taylor Pertile 3, Quincy Lorenzetti 2, Taylor Mattson 1; FT: 8-19; Fouls: 21; Fouled out: Mattson; 3-point field goals: Pertile 1.
L'Anse - Madi Swanson 21, Kelsey Ross 16, Valerie Rajala 12, Alyssa Norback 4, Freya Lissy 4, Kayla LaBerge 2, Abby Marinich 2; FT: 13-18; Fouls: 18; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Ross 3, Swanson 1.
Ewen-Trout Creek 49, Watersmeet 21
EWEN - Ewen-Trout Creek came out and seized control of its Porcupine Mountain Conference game against Watersmeet from the tip-off.
The Panthers also put one hand on the Porcupine Mountain Conference title for the first time since 2006 after routing former co-leader 49-21.
E-TC scored 15 points without reply in the first quarter against the five-time defending league champions, then put the game firmly away with a 16-6 advantage in the third for a 38-13 lead.
Zoey McGeshick's 13 points led all scorers for E-TC (10-6, 5-0 PMC). The Panthers also got eight apiece from Sam Robl, Taylor Niemi and Molly Niemi.
E-TC hosts Baraga Monday.
Watersmeet 0 7 6 8 - 21
Ewen-TC 15 7 16 9 - 49
Watersmeet - Michaela Burke 6, Lauren Ryskey 3, Frannie Zelinski 3, Tori McGeshick 2, Jazzmyn McGeshick 6, Tiley Caron 1; FT: 4-8; Fouls: 10; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Burke 2, Ryskey 1.
Ewen-Trout Creek - Sam Robl 8, Rebekah Driesenga 3, Casey Suomumaki 1, Taylor Niemi 8, Molly Niemi 8, Brittany Suomumaki 5, Zoey McGeshick 13, Becca Warnke 3; FT: 6-11; Fouls: 9; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Robl 2, T. Niemi 2, McGeshick 1.
Baraga 38, Lake Linden-Hubbell 29
BARAGA - Baraga hit the glass hard and landed in the win column Thursday.
The Lady Vikings (8-9, 4-3 CCC) collected 18 offensive rebounds, giving them lots of chances to score.
"I don't think our shooting percentage was too good, but we made the shots when we needed them and that was really good tonight," Baraga coach Mariah Dunham said.
Baraga led 19-13 at the half and 28-25 after three quarters, but the Lady Vikings finished well, holding the Lakes (6-8, 2-4 CCC) to just four fourth-quarter points.
"Our defense just carried over from Monday night (against Forest Park) ... they're in the right spots at the right time, everybody's helping each other. We're really playing good team defense and it's good to see that," Dunham said.
Brittany Nieskes led all scorers with 11 points for Baraga, which won the JV game and plays at Ewen-Trout Creek Monday.
Brittni Kisul paced the Lakes with 10. E-TC is also up next for LL-H. They play tonight in Ewen.
LL-Hubbell 5 8 12 4 - 29
Baraga 9 10 9 10 - 38
Lake Linden-Hubbell - Brittni Kisul 10, Sarah Audette 7, Erin Gast 5, Abby Sutherland 2, Brooke Corrigan 2, Kayla Goodell 2, Morgan Gast 1; FT: 4-8; Fouls: 17; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Audette 1.
Baraga - Brittany Nieskes 11, Jenna Heikkinen 8, Shannon Fish 7, Katie Schjoth 4, Gabby Mayo 3, Rebecca Larson 3; FT: 5-13; Fouls: 7; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Heikkinen 2, Larson 1.