E-TC shuts down Ontonagon for 66-34 victory

Ewen-Trout Creek's Elise Besonen, left, drives to the basket as Ontonagon's Fahren Kolpack defends Friday night at Ontonagon. E-TC won 66-34. (Jason Juno/ Daily Globe)

ONTONAGON — The first half looked like what you’d expect from an Ontonagon County rivalry. The second half looked like what was expected of Ewen-Trout Creek this season.

The fifth-ranked Panthers held Ontonagon to just four points in the second half and won the Copper Mountain Conference contest 66-34 Friday night.

It was a good end to a rough week for the Panthers. It started with a surprising loss in Bessemer and continued with a lopsided loss at No. 2 Chassell before the Panthers’ took control in the second half to beat their county rivals convincingly Friday night.

“It was a great relief. We had a couple tough losses this week,” E-TC coach Jacky Besonen said. “It was fun to get a win again.”

E-TC’s offense was consistent, scoring 33 points in each half. In the first half, Ontonagon was up to the challenge, trailing by just three at the half.

But it was a different story in the second half.

The Panthers scored the first 12 points of the third quarter to take a 45-30 lead. Ontonagon scored four more points the rest of the quarter and that was it for the game. They were shut out in the fourth quarter, the second time this week they were blanked in an entire quarter — they also didn’t score in the first period against Calumet.

E-TC quickly built the lead to 20 points in the fourth quarter and eventually to 30.

“Tuesday night, we had a quarter in which we didn’t score, but pretty unusual to have a half where you hardly ever score,” Ontonagon coach Dick Franti said. “We got completely frustrated (offensively), not doing much right, not getting the ball to go in the hole just really worked on our heads. You could see their confidence just went down when things weren’t going right.”

A big part of it was how quick E-TC came out of the gates in the second half, quickly taking the momentum.

Paige Berglund started E-TC’s scoring in the second half. After a free throw, Elise Besonen dropped a 3. Franti called timeout with 5:51 left in the third, but E-TC kept scoring.

After a layup by Abbie LeGault, Franti called another timeout with E-TC up 43-30. The rest of the quarter was fairly even from there with Gracie Witt hitting a 3 at the horn to make it 49-34 E-TC heading into the fourth. But the Panthers kept pulling away in the fourth.

“I think because they came down and scored quite a few possessions in a row there that we panicked,” Franti said. “We came down and turned it over to came down and missed the few shots that we did get. We got speeded up so fast trying to do something right that we ended up doing more wrong.”

E-TC shot better Friday night, including 53 percent in the first half and 55 percent in the deciding third quarter.

“A big difference tonight was we shot well. The last two games we did not shoot well,” Besonen said. “Offensively, I think we broke them down more in the second half and were able to move the ball and find the open person. Our post players did a nice job.”

Franti said Ontonagon doesn’t have great size to combat that.

“They were hitting inside, they were hitting outside and we were picking up a lot of reaching fouls instead of getting in good position,” Franti said.

Elise Besonen made three 3s and led E-TC with 21 points. Abbie LeGault had 13 and Paige Berglund scored 11.

“It was good to see Elise make some shots,” coach Besonen said.

Fahren Kolpack led Ontonagon with 10 points.

Ontonagon (5-4, 5-2) goes to Hancock Tuesday night and Bessemer Friday night.

E-TC (6-3) hosts Wakefield-Marenisco on Tuesday.

– – –

E-TC 11 22 16 17 — 66

Ontonagon 11 19 4 0 — 34

E-TC – Gracie Witt 7, Paige Berglund 11, Abbie LeGault 13, Elise Besonen 21, Maddie Cronkright 7, Ava Moilanen 7. FTs: 18-24. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: Besonen 3, Witt 1.

Ontonagon – Kinsey Weisinger 2, Teddy Menigoz 9, Jenny Labyak 4, Katelynn Laingren 5, Fahren Kolpack 10, Holly Wardynski 4. FTs: 3-11. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: T. Menigoz 2, Laingren 1.