Doing just enough
Ontonagon makes key plays down stretch to edge LL-H 49-47
LAKE LINDEN — The teams combined for 46 turnovers and the shooting percentages were in the low 30s. But what the Ontonagon Gladiators and Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes lacked in efficiency, they made up for it with late-game drama.
Ontonagon survived a chaotic game to come away with a 49-47 Copper Mountain Conference win over LL-H Thursday in Lake Linden.
Ontonagon sophomore Isabelle Lutz led the Gladiators with 17 points, and sophomore Fahren Kolpack scored 10.
LL-H senior Alexa Destrampe finished with a double-double, recording 15 points and 16 rebounds.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we’re going to take it because it could have very easily have went the other way,” Ontonagon head coach Dick Franti said.
Against LL-H’s 1-3-1 zone, Ontonagon was forced to settle for jumpers for much of the night in the halfcourt, and the Gladiators converted just 19 of 62 shot attempts (31 percent) and were 4 of 25 from 3.
In spite of the poor shooting numbers, it was enough for Ontonagon. Lutz, who finished with three 3s, made the biggest shot of the night when she swished a 3 from the wing to give the Gladiators a 47-45 lead with over 2 minutes remaining.
Then, Kolpack extended the Gladiators’ lead on a putback, putting Ontonagon ahead 49-45 with 1:40 to play.
Ontonagon was in the catbird’s seat for the game’s final moments, despite its 20 turnovers and poor shooting.
“It was maddening,” Franti said of the game. “You know it was going to come down to a few plays here or there. You just try to weather the storm and hope it goes your way.”
After a timeout following Kolpack’s putback, Destrampe found LL-H junior Laura Lyons in the middle of the paint, where Lyons turned and finished a short jumper in traffic to trim Ontonagon’s lead to 49-47 with 1:18 to play.
The Lakes (2-3, 2-2) got a stop after a missed Ontonagon midrange jumper, but the Lakes’ own jumper from the left wing was blocked.
LL-H had one more chance to tie after the Gladiators (4-2, 3-1) missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the outlet pass was off the mark and sailed out of bounds for LL-H’s 26th turnover of the night, sealing Ontonagon’s victory.
“Opportunities were there, but I’m just not sure if Lakes basketball is ready to step up and grab those opportunities like we could do,” LL-H head coach Maureen Schick said. “There were a couple instances where they were aggressive and we just panicked.”
For the entire game, Ontonagon ran a full-court 2-2-1 press before falling back into a 2-3 zone. The pressure appeared to rattle LL-H from the start; LL-H turned it over six times in the opening quarter, allowing Ontonagon to take an 18-12 lead.
“Strangely enough, that’s part of our game. We turn it over a lot, so we try to force the other team into turning it over,” Franti said, “and hopefully it comes out on the plus-side for us.”
Destrampe did most of her scoring at the free-throw line, where she went 11 for 11, and she gave the Lakes their first lead of the night after two free throws to put LL-H ahead 27-25 midway through the second quarter.
Trailing for the first time, Ontonagon answered with an 8-0 run to go ahead 33-27 to close the half; the rally was capped by a fast-break layup in the final seconds from junior Taylor Goard, which was set up by a LL-H turnover against the press.
The teams continued to answer each other’s runs, and LL-H started the third on a 12-1 scoring spree to go up 39-34 when junior Kierstyn Codere scored a layup for two of her 11 points.
However, that would be LL-H’s biggest lead before Ontonagon responded with a 6-0 run to take a 40-39 lead into the fourth, where both teams traded baskets until the final moments.
“Even when we had that lead, we couldn’t just separate,” Schick said. “In that beginning, we should have had 12 more points, we missed a lot of easy buckets. We panicked a little and were just a little tighter.”
LL-H converted 17 of 52 shots (33 percent) and held a 45-41 advantage on the boards.
Up next, LL-H hosts Baraga on Jan. 3, while Ontonagon welcomes Chassell on the same day.
Ontonagon 18 15 7 9 — 49
LL-H 12 15 12 8 — 47
Ontonagon — Weisinger 2, Weiner 6, Allen 2, Goard 2, Kolpack 10, Wardynski 6, Saari 4, Isabelle Lutz 17. F: 16; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 7-14; 3-point field goals: Lutz 3, Saari.
LL-H — Seppala 4, Koepel 3, Destrampe 15, Lyons 10, Kierstyn Codere 11, Kirsten Codere 4. F: 16; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 13-19; 3-point field goals: None.