Jets defeats R-M for 3rd straight win after 0-4 start

Jeffers’ Carson Turner rises for a layup as Republic-Michigamme’s Kasey Ball defends Monday in Jeffers. (Bryce Derouin/Daily Mining Gazette)

PAINESDALE — A 29-point defeat to the Chassell Panthers sent the Jeffers Jets’ morale to an all-time low and sapped any of the remaining early season excitement after an 0-4 start. 

“They had no confidence and everyone was hanging their head,” Jeffers coach Trent Keteri said. “It’s not fun losing a game. Everyone says, ‘Oh, just play to have fun.’ It’s not fun to lose a game.”

Just over three weeks after the Chassell loss, the Jets are now starting to have fun. 

Jeffers defeated the Republic-Michigamme Hawks 58-46 Monday in Painesdale for its third consecutive win to continue the turnaround.

Senior Carson Turner led the way for Jeffers (3-4, 2-4) with 23 points, five rebounds and four assists, while senior David Jukkala added 15 points and senior Justin Heinonen had 13 points. 

“Those first four games, we weren’t prepared as much, and that’s my fault,” Keteri said. “The Chassell game was a turning point for us where we’re working a lot harder in practice, running a lot more and shooting more. The kids are taking it seriously now that they realize we’re not a team like 0-4.”

One of the keys for Jeffers’ turnaround has been the contributions from people other than Turner and Jukkala. And when it mattered most, Heinonen and junior Brett Hill proved Jeffers’ two senior leaders aren’t the only ones who can step up in clutch situations. 

Following an 8-0 run by the Hawks (3-4, 2-4) to start the fourth quarter to tie the game at 45, Jeffers found itself in a funk, starting the fourth by missing its first three shots and turning it over twice. With all the momentum behind R-M, Jeffers broke through when Hill and Heinonen each attacked the basket and finished layups in traffic for a 49-45 advantage with 3:07 left in the game. 

“Brett’s one of the fastest guards in this league,” Keteri said. “He just has to finish and he’s going to be a really good player. 

“Brett and Justin do it all the time in practice. They’re two of the toughest kids to guard on the ball, so to see them actually have the confidence to make that bucket — especially tied late in the fourth quarter — it shows a lot of their character.”

R-M senior Dylan Hanninen led the Hawks with 17 points and capped the 8-0 run with two free throws and a high-arching runner off the glass to tie the game at 45. From there, R-M scored just one point over the final six minutes. 

“They were able to cut us off and we weren’t able to get inside, get fouls and we missed layups,” R-M coach Mario Marana said of Jeffers’ 2-3 zone.

Turner received a friendly roll on his 3 from the left wing for his sixth 3-pointer of the night to give the Jets a 52-45 advantage. Jeffers shot 18 of 45 overall (40 percent) and was 9 of 23 from the 3-point line. The Jets made their first four 3s of the night and led 19-8 after the first quarter. 

It was a much slower start for R-M, who struggled to attack the 2-3 zone. The Hawks finished 15 of 38 from the field (40 percent) and were just 3 of 10 in the first and third quarters. R-M had its most success in its 17-point second quarter when the Hawks shot 6 of 10 and were able to consistently penetrate to the interior of the zone.

“We did a great job of not settling for outside jumpers and attacking the inside,” Marana said of the second quarter. “I keep telling them that if we keep attacking inside, the outside shots will come.”

Next, Jeffers goes for its fourth straight win on Thursday when the Jets host Lake Linden-Hubbell. 

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R-M 9 17 11 9 — 46

Jeffers 19 11 15 13 — 58

R-M — Shumate 10, Hanninen 17, Ball 4, Carlson 13, Olender 2. F: 17; Fouled out: Hanninen, Olender; Free throws: 12-18; 3-point field goals: Hanninen 2, Carlson, Shumate.

Jeffers — Kinnunen 2, Heinonen 13, Hill 5, Turner 23, Jukkala 15. F: 13; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 13-19; 3-point field goals: Turner 6, Heinonen 3.