L’Anse edges Hancock 36-30

L’ANSE — It has often been said it’s hard to beat the same team three times in one season.

The L’Anse girls showed just how difficult that is by defeating the Hancock Bulldogs 36-30 in a Class C district basketball opener Monday night

L’Anse (9-12), which lost to the Bulldogs twice during the regular season, hosts Houghton (14-7) in the championship game Wednesday at 7 p.m. Hancock finished 13-8.

Hancock took a 30-28 lead slightly more than two minutes into the fourth quarter when sophomore D’Andra Kero drained a set shot from the right corner.

The Purple Hornets tied the score on a lay-in by sophomore Addison Mattson with 4:57 left to play.

Then with 3:22 remaining, a layup by freshman Maija Rice on a pass from Mattson put L’Anse ahead to stay.

Senior Taylor Brown gave the Purple Hornets 34-30 cushion on a running jump shot from the lane at 1:47 and sophomore Kailyn Voskuhl ended the scoring with a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left.

“That one wasn’t easy,” L’Anse coach Scott Lloyd said. “We took a quick lead (2-1), then we missed some layups. The girls were a little nervous early. We had to bring in our jayvees and they were a big help.”

The contest was close throughout with neither team leading by more than five points until the final 23 seconds.

“We struggled with our perimeter shooting and turnovers,” Hancock coach Jack Johnson said. “Credit goes to L’Anse. They outplayed us tonight. We kind of knew what to expect. There were no major changes from when we played them during the regular season. I think we were a little overconfident and their seniors (Taylor Brown and Sarah Dix) were very poised.”

A pair of free throws by senior Mialy Brooks gave Hancock a 17-16 lead 4.8 seconds before halftime.

The teams then see-sawed much of the third stanza with L’Anse taking a 26-25 lead into the fourth.

Mattson scored 13 points for the Purple Hornets, who committed 15 turnovers.

“Overall, we took good care of the ball,” Lloyd said. “Hancock is no slouch. They play good defense. I think Jack is a great coach and he has done an excellent job with his program. This is a good win, especially for a young team.”

Kero hit nine points, including a 20-foot jumper from the left wing for Hancock’s largest lead (11-6) with slightly more than 90 seconds left in the opening frame. The Bulldogs had 23 miscues.

“We took good shots, but struggled with our perimeter shooting and turnovers,” Johnson said. “I thought we grew up at times this season. Tonight, was our first experience with being down a player in a district game.”

Hancock played without sophomore Jordan Pertile, who’s nursing an ACL injury.

L’Anse was without Josie Rice due to a foot injury. The junior, however, may be back for Wednesday’s district final.

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Hancock 11 6 8 5 — 30

L’Anse 6 10 10 10 — 36

Hancock — M. Brooks 5, Sebbas 3, D. Kero 9, Heinonen 6, M. Kero 7. FT: 7-12; F: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: M. Brooks, D. Kero.

L’Anse — Mattson 13, Dix 5, M. Rice 2, Voskuhl 4, Waara 2, Nankervis 2, Brown 8. FT: 7-10; F: 13; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goal: Mattson.