PAINESDALE - After combining for 139 points in an earlier game, most prep girls' basketball observers felt that Dollar Bay and Jeffers would light up the scoreboard Monday night.
They were wrong.
Instead, the Bays used stout defense and some good free throw shooting down the stretch to post a 37-27 win that put them firmly in the driver's seat for their first Copper Country Conference title since 1983.
Dollar Bay's Carli Daavettila drives to the basket as Eden Klemett of Jeffers defends. DBHS was a 37-27 victor in the CCC contest. (Paul Peterson photo)
"You just never know," Bays coach Steve Krahling said afterward. "Both teams were extremely hot in that first game ... tonight was totally different, although I think the defense of both teams was very good.
"That's the way it goes, some nights are good, some night aren't. That's basketball."
The victory lifted the Bays to 7-1 in the league and 9-3 overall. The outcome left JHS coach Joe Romano seeking help after his team slipped to 3-2 in the conference and 5-8 on the season.
"We're going to need some help, but they (Bays) are in really good shape," Romano commented. "We had our chances tonight but we had trouble getting the shots to drop."
Both sides encountered cold shooting nights, combining for a total of just 19 baskets.
It was evident from the very beginning that the scoring aces of both teams, Julia Daavettila of Dollar Bay and Shelby Seppanen of Jeffers, were going to receive extra defensive attention.
The stretegy worked as the Jets limited Daavettila to 13 points, while Bays held Seppanen to 11.
"Our plan was to keep her (Seppanen) from getting open outside shots. Carli (Daavettila) did a good job on her, she was determined not to get beaten ... like the first game," Krahling said. "And Meagan Kangas did a good job on Haley Makela, she kept her from driving across the lane."
While Makela did haul in a game-best 20 rebounds, she scored just three points.
Romano said that keeping track of Julia Daavettila was a team effort.
"Julia is such a sound player, you have to know where she's at at all times," the JHS mentor said. "I was satisfied with our defense."
The Bays managed a 9-8 lead after one quarter and appeared ready to move away after six points by Julia Daavettila gave them a 17-11 margin.
But a three-point basket by freshman Eden Klemett helped slice the lead to 17-15 by the intermission.
Points were at a premium in a chilly third quarter that saw the eventual winners manage a 6-4 edge in the frame. Half of those came on a key trey by Carli Daavettila near the end of the stanza.
With a 27-23 lead heading into the final period, the Bays cashed in at the free throw line in the final quarter.
The Blue and White netted 10 charity tosses, three each by the Daavettila sisters and Jamie Sertich.
Sertich backed up Julia Daavettila's team-high showing with 11 points of her own. Carli Daavettila came up with eight points and a team-leading nine rebounds.
While Seppanen led the Green and White with 11 points and five steals, Klemett pitched in 10 points. Alexa Clouthier grabbed 11 caroms.
"I thought Eden stepped up tonight," Romano said. "She gave us a lift but we just couldn't get anything to drop."
Dollar Bay hosts Ewen-Trout Creek Thursday night in non-league action.
Jeffers faces a trying stretch of games in the next week, meeting Baraga on the road Thursday and hosting Ontonagon Friday.