GWINN - Gwinn picked the wrong night to try to slow down Houghton's Elisa Jurmu.
The Upper Peninsula's Class A-B-C Player of the Year last season was on a mission after what she and her coach called a subpar performance in a 15-point home loss to L'Anse on Dec. 10.
Waiting nine days to play another game, Jurmu was anything but subpar in the Modeltowners' gym on Thursday night, pouring in 24 points in the first half and finishing with 35 in the Gremlins' 73-62 victory.
"That was her career high on the varsity," HHS coach Julie Filpus said about Thursday's output after she scored 16 points and fouled out in the L'Anse game. "She pretty much declared after the game against L'Anse that her performance was unacceptable.
"She just didn't get off to a very good start and didn't play with her full intensity."
"I wanted to make sure I focused on all the details and improve my defense," the 5-foot-9 senior forward said. "Our point guards gave me some good passes pushing the ball up the floor tonight."
Those guards Filpus listed as senior Ashlyn Kero and junior Sydney Dillinger.
Jurmu scored 12 points in each of the first two quarters before being held to just three baskets but 5 for 5 at the free-throw line after intermission.
"We started the game out with a zone," Gwinn coach Ben Olsen said about his defense, explaining he didn't want his team to get burned by the Gremlins' speed. "Then we switched to our regular man-to-man defense and we got more into just playing our game. We played better after that.
"We were down 20 (points) a few times, but the girls battled back, so I was happy with that, especially against a team of Houghton's caliber.
"I had a few people here who weren't happy that we scheduled teams like Marquette, Houghton and Gladstone this season, but they prepare us for what we'll face in the districts. You've got to handle teams like this when you play in our district."
That Class C postseason tournament Gwinn traditionally plays in includes Mid-Peninsula Conference powers Negaunee, Ishpeming and Westwood.
Houghton raced to an 8-1 lead on Thursday before Gwinn battled back to take a 9-8 advantage with 2:55 left in the first quarter on two baskets apiece by sophomore Tori Lauren and junior Jordyn Hutchens.
But it was the only lead the Modeltowners (2-4) had all night as Jurmu hit three baskets later in the period to help post the Gremlins (3-1) to a 21-14 lead at the end of the quarter.
Hutchens and senior teammate Katie Aho made baskets in the first minute of the second period to get Gwinn back within 21-18, but Jurmu sank three buckets to power a 10-0 run by Houghton over the next 2 1/2 minutes to open it up to 31-18.
The Gremlins maintained their lead throughout the second half, leading by as many as 19 points while Gwinn whittled it down to 46-40 with 2:24 left in the third quarter when Mackenzie Hollands rang home a 3-pointer from two feet behind the arc at the top of the key.
Ellie Olsen paced the Modeltowners with 18 points, 12 of them in the second half, and seven assists, while Hutchens and Lauren each added 11 and Aho contributed eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Kelsie Richards scored 16 points and Kero 12 points and a team-high four rebounds for the Gremlins, who host West Iron?County tonight.