Janke erupts for 37, No. 1 Dollar Bay pulls away from Hancock 83-43

Dollar Bay’s Jaden Janke secures a rebound against Hancock as Jacob Iacono also pursues Wednesday in Dollar Bay. (Eden Laase/Daily Mining Gazette)

DOLLAR BAY — They’ve seen it before. That crowd of people, packed onto eight rows of bleachers in Dollar Bay’s bite-size gym has seen Jaden Janke shoot many times. He’s spent four years shooting under the hand-painted red and blue signs covered in cheery messages and words of encouragement.

The Dollar-Bay faithful have seen Janke knock down countless 3s in his time as a Blue Bolt, but they’ve never seen him like this.

Janke poured in a career-high 37 points on Wednesday in Dollar Bay as the No. 1 Blue Bolts (8-0) blew by Hancock 83-43 in a nonconference matchup.

Now, the senior is just six points away from 1,000 on his career, something Janke said he didn’t know until after the game.

But what he did know was his teammate and scoring partner, Devin Schmitz, was battling a migraine — a problem that has persisted throughout the season. With Schmitz not at 100 percent, Janke knew he would have to do a little more.

He didn’t do a little more. He did a lot more.

At the half, Dollar Bay led Hancock 35-27, decidedly closer than anticipated. Then, the Blue Bolts erupted for a 26-point third quarter as Janke knocked down five 3-pointers.

“Jaden knew he needed to step up and he stepped up,” Dollar Bay coach Jesse Kentala said. “I just said ‘Jaden, shoot it. You are hotter than a pistol.’ He was on fire.”

Of Janke’s 37 points, 24 came beyond the arc — something Hancock wanted to stop.

“He can shoot it, and we knew he could shoot it,” Hancock coach Matt Strong said. “That wasn’t the game plan. The plan was to force him to the hole, but we let him get open and had some mental lapses.”

And when Dollar Bay needed him most, Janke didn’t disappoint.

Midway through the third quarter, Carson Chynoweth hit back-to-back corner 3-pointers to pull Hancock (2-7) within two points. But the Blue Bolts are undefeated for a reason, and on the following possession, they showed why. Schmitz drove to the hoop, missed a contested layup and grabbed his own rebound. Then, rather than trying to put it back up, Schmitz found Janke behind the arc and without even turning to look, tossed him the ball. Janke knocked it down and gave Dollar Bay a 40-35 lead.

“The shot felt good tonight and I kept getting open looks and my teammates kept looking for me,” Janke said. “We have this thing that when someone is hot, feed them. It can be me, Devin, Brandon (Thompson), but tonight I was hitting so they kept looking for me.”

Dollar Bay forced a turnover on the following possession, and from there built a lead, outscoring Hancock 48-16 in the second half.

“I knew we would go on a run at some point because that is how we are,” Kentala said. “They’re smart, they’re veteran, they’ve been around a long time, so they didn’t panic.”

Dollar Bay opened the game with a new look defensively, running a full-court trapping man-to-man press. The Blue Bolts have been dominant over their first eight games, but if Kentala was to point to a weakness, it would be on the defensive end.

In the first half, Hancock handled the pressure well. The Bulldog guards were able to break the press and get into their half-court offense most times down the floor. The effort wasn’t what Kentala was looking for, and defense will continue to be a focus in practice.

“If we are going to be an elite team, we have to play elite defense, and we are not there yet,” he said. “We will be. We will keep working on it and keep grinding. These guys are committed to it and they are committed to getting better. But defensively, it is the little things. I think sometimes the full-court pressure is a little chaotic for us. It is hard to get back and really focus in an organized, unified fashion. But that is the way we want to play, we want to speed guys up.”

The Blue Bolts also struggled with foul trouble in the first half as Jacob Iacono went to the bench with three fouls, and Brendan LeClaire played with two.

“It always is a concern,” Kentala said. “If you play that style you are going to pick up some fouls. We didn’t keep our hands back tonight and I thought we picked up a couple of cheap ones.”

In addition to Janke’s 37 points, Schmitz added 17. Devin Raasio and Peyton Anderson each had 12 for Hancock.

Next up, Dollar Bay hosts Lake Linden-Hubbell Friday at 7:15 p.m. Hancock heads to Bessemer on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.

– – –

Hancock 12 15 16 0 — 43

Dollar Bay 21 14 26 22 — 83

Hancock — Watson 5, Sintkowski 6, Chynoweth, Raasio 12, Anderson 12. F: 12. Fouled out: none. Free throws: 2-3. 3-point field goals: Watson, Sintkowski 2, Chynoweth 2, Anderson 2.

Dollar Bay — Drake Schmitz 7, Ashton Janke 3, Thompson 3, Devin Schmitz 17, Jaden Janke 37, Hill 5, Iacono 7, Nelson 2, Hoskins 2. F: 10. Fouled out: None. Free throws: 5-7. 3-point field goals: Ashton Janke, Thompson, Devin Schmitz, Jaden Janke 8, Hill.