Calumet coasts past Ironwood
IRONWOOD — Ironwood’s reintroduction to West-PAC basketball was not a pleasant one.
Calumet’s height and full-court pressure made for a quick night for the Red Devils, who fell 67-32 in Monday night’s MHSAA Class C District 96 semifinal.
The Devils committed 10 turnovers in the first quarter as Calumet raced to a 17-5 lead that grew to 43-17 at the half.
Calumet had an advantage in size and athleticism with their full-court pressure, which gave the Devils problems, especially with one of their starting guards, Makenzie Marshall, sidelined due to an injury last week.
“The defensive pressure, when we went full court, they had a hard time getting through that,” Calumet coach Jeff Twardzik said.
The Copper Kings were also quick to trap and that was especially effective with their big height advantage.
“That pressure just kind of wears you out mentally and physically,” Twardzik said. “You can see them start to hang their heads and it’s hard to work through that.”
Ironwood took as many shots, 17, as Calumet made in the first half.
“They’re very athletic and they’re incredibly long and tall,” Ironwood coach Kari Jacquart said. “We had trouble with that, obviously, when we don’t have anywhere near that size. We knew that was going to give us fits and it definitely did.”
Ironwood ended up with 28 turnovers to just 13 for Calumet.
“We could have taken care of the ball better, we got intimidated,” Jacquart said. “We didn’t take care of the ball, but you have to give credit on the turnovers to their defense. They did a good job of overplaying, so I would say their height and athleticism and our lack of handling the ball (hurt most).”
Calumet was a tough draw for the Devils with the obvious mismatches. But it’s also hard going from a conference in Wisconsin made up of schools in the smallest division in the state to a team used to playing in the more physical Class C West-PAC. Class C is the second smallest of four Michigan classes.
“It’s a lot more physical game,” Jacquart said. “It’s incredibly difficult to go from playing Indianhead teams to a team you never see. The West-PAC is a completely different style game.”
Calumet took advantage of Ironwood’s attention to the inside and made seven 3s, led by three for Lea Bjorn, who had 12 points. Niina Anderson led Calumet with 14. Hailey Wickstrom, who was named West-PAC Player of the Year last week and is 6-3, scored 12 points. Brooke Kariniemi, who is about 6 feet tall, had 10.
“It was a great season overall,” Jacquart said. “Our seniors have a lot to be proud of, accomplishing things that classes before them never did. It’s always tough to end your season.”
Calumet (14-5) hosts Hancock in Wednesday’s district final at 7 p.m.
Calumet 20 23 17 7 — 67
Ironwood 9 8 5 10 — 32
Calumet – Niina Anderson 14, Ava Anderson 1, Lea Bjorn 12, Amber Johnson 5, Celia Kiilunen 6, Brooke Kariniemi 10, Celia Peterson 2, Jaden Rilel 3, Hailey Wickstrom 12, Vera Peterson 2. FTs: 6-10. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: Bjorn 3, Anderson 2, Rilel 1, Johnson 1.
Ironwood – Lauren Gauthier 4, Taylor Mylly 13, Vanessa Nasi 6, Kacie Lundin 2, Aries Weber 7. FTs: 4-11. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: Mylly 2