HOUGHTON - The Houghton girls' basketball team put a big check mark next to the first step of the postseason Wednesday.
The Gremlins dismissed an outclassed Ironwood team 71-15 in the second of two Class C district semifinals.
"I thought we came out ready to play. We've been on our kids for their defensive efforts in the past few games. We saw improvements in some of the areas we were stressing," Houghton coach Julie Filpus said.
Houghton’s Ashley Laux collects a rebound during Wednesday’s Class C?district semifinal vs. Ironwood at Houghton High School. She had 10 points as the Gremlins advanced 71-15. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
"Ready to play" might have been an understatement. The Gremlins collected all the points they needed for victory in the first 3 1/2 minutes, scoring the first 19 of the game and 27 of the first 29.
The fist with which the Gremlins knocked the Red Devils out was junior forward Elisa Jurmu. She scored Houghton's first two with a lay-up right off the opening tip and totaled 12 points in Houghton's opening run, 14 in the first quarter and 21 for the game.
She wasn't the only one who got some extra lay-up work in.
Ironwood 4 9 0 2 - 15
Houghton 30 15 14 12 - 71
Ironwood - Katie Erickson 2, Jessica Gering 2, Korrie Trier 11; FT: 3-8; Fouls: 8; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: none.
Houghton - Alexa Johnson 17, Natalie Datto 2, Ashley Laux 10, Blaire Zenner 12, Kelsie Richards 9, Elisa Jurmu 21; FT: 7-7; Fouls: 11; 3-point field goals: Johnson 5, Richards 3.
"I thought we finished well tonight. There have been some games where we started off and we just kind of had a lack of focus on some of those lay-ups and they don't go in and tonight it was just backboard in, no rim and I was very pleased with that," Filpus said.
Ironwood (8-13) got on the board with a Katie Erickson post bucket 4:05 in. What bright spot existed for the Red Devils probably existed in the second quarter, as Korrie Trier scored seven of her team-high 11 points en route to a 45-13 halftime score.
Houghton pitched a shutout in the third quarter as running time kicked in, cruising to a district final date with L'Anse (a 51-47 winner over U.P. Class ABC No. 5 Calumet) Friday night.
"We have to be prepared for Swanson's dribble penetration and keeping her from getting to the rim. I think we need to again rebound. Rebounding is a key for us, we've been stressing it and we want to limit their opportunities to one a possession," Filpus said.
Alexa Johnson added 17 points (including five treys), Blaire Zenner 12 and Ashley Laux 10 for Houghton, now 19-2.