CHASSELL - Lake Linden-Hubbell's super sophomore tandem of Brett Poissant and Tyler Roose combined to match Jeffers' team scoring output, and the Lakes held Jets senior Troy Kinnunen to a season-low eight points in Wednesday's 51-38 Class D district semifinal win.
The story behind LL-H's success on the scoresheet, though, was its stifling press defense, which increased the tempo and led to more offensive possessions, and its dominance on the glass, which extended those possessions.
"Our kids didn't panic, didn't get rattled, just did their thing. We figured if we can handle them on the boards and take advantage of their lack of size we would be alright, and (Poissant) had a monster night," Lakes coach Jack Kumpula said. "It was a really good win for us."
Lake Linden-Hubbell’s Tyler Roose fires a mid-range jump shot over Jeffers’ Myles Rajala (24) and Troy Kinnunen in the Lakes’ 51-38 win over the Jets in Wednesday’s Class D district semifinal in Chassell. (DMG photo by Stephen Anderson)
Poissant tied a career high with 20 points and also added six rebounds. Roose matched Jets leading scorer Alex Outinen's 18-point effort, while also adding eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Cole Beauchamp effectively manned the point almost all night against Jeffers' frequent presses, LL-H's full-team pressure defense threw Jeffers off its game and the Lakes outrebounded the Jets 42-24, with half of those boards coming on the offensive end.
"We're not that big of a team, and we gave up a lot of second and third opportunities," Jeffers coach Duane Snell said. "I thought maybe tonight we could play with them, but I was wrong. When you play a team four times during the year and you don't beat them, I guess us coaches let them down."
Jeffers 11 17 6 4 - 38
LL-Hubbell 15 16 14 6 - 51
Jeffers Alex Outinen 18, Zachary Nicholas 8, Troy Kinnunen 8, Mason Heinonen 4; FT: 4-7; Fouls: 14; Fouled out: Christopher Outinen; 3-point field goals: A. Outinen 4, Nicholas 2, Kinnunen 2.
LL-Hubbell Brett Poissant 20, Tyler Roose 18, Cody Kumpula 5, Trevor Ongie 3, Cole Beauchamp 3, Ryan Knoll 2; FT: 5-8; Fouls: 19; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Poissant 1, Kumpula 1, Ongie 1, Beauchamp 1.
The first two regular season meetings between the rivals were decided by 18 points each - with Kinnunen going off for 35 in the first game - but the third was only a five-point LL-H win despite Kinnunen scoring just nine. Including Wednesday, the last two games against the Lakes were Kinnunen's only single-digit efforts of the season.
"He got his records, got his MVP, but we needed him to go out there and win us a basketball game, and we fell a little bit short," Snell said. "He had a great career."
It was Outinen who kept the Jets in the game early, scoring all 11 of his team's first-quarter points. Five Lakes scored in the first frame, including a buzzer-beating short jumper by Ryan Knoll that kicked off an 11-0 run.
Slowly but surely Jeffers clawed its way back to a 31-28 deficit at the half, and Kinnunen's second three of the game cut it to 36-34 early in the third. But LL-H put together a 9-0 run this time, with a pair of Roose jumpers, a Poissant mid-range J and a Trevor Ongie triple.
Poissant scored all six Lakes fourth-quarter points, but Jeffers only mustered four points in the final stanza. LL-H had four players with four fouls, but nobody fouled out. Christopher Outinen fouled out for Jeffers.
The Lakes played without regular starters Luke Monette (ankle injury) and Konrad Klein (illness), but Klein is expected back by Friday's district championship game, which is slated for 7 p.m. Friday against the host Chassell Panthers.