Ojalas lead Calumet over Chassell 66-53
CHASSELL — It was just a short sequence in the boys basketball game between Calumet and Chassell Tuesday night.
But it proved to be one that helped settle the outcome between two evenly-matched teams.
With his team behind by a 27-26 margin with under 30 seconds left in the opening half, Calumet’s Travis Ojala took control.
He drained two long 3-pointers and then converted a steal into a layup for a 34-27 halftime lead. That set the tone for a 66-53 Copper Kings victory at Ed Helakoski Memorial Gym.
“I think Travis was getting a little frustrated because Abe (Gockenbach) was getting some easy buckets,” Calumet coach Mike Ojala said afterward. “He hit those two big 3s and then made a steal for a layup. That gave us a little bit of separation.”
Chassell coach Bill Sleeman agreed that the Calumet second-period surge helped swing momentum in favor of the Blue and Grey.
“I think that was the turning point in the game,” Sleeman said. “I felt like we were playing pretty competitive basketball at that point, but that swung the momentum around 100 percent.”
The Panthers, sparked by junior guard Abe Gockenbach, started off strongly in the nonconference clash.
Gockenbach tossed in eight points to lead his team to a 17-10 lead after eight minutes.
But Matt Ojala, the other half of the brother tandem, began to find the range in the second quarter with seven points.
“We had some defensive breakdowns at times and that was bothersome,” Mike Ojala said. “But Chassell’s quickness had a lot to do with that. You really have to show some discipline when they get rolling.”
Playing without forward Grant Hokenson (flu), the Panthers struggled in the second half as big Cooper Twardzik and Eli McParlan dominated inside.
“It did hurt us not to have Grant (Hokenson) in there,” Sleeman said. “Calumet was able to use their size a little more.”
Holding a 50-44 lead after three quarters, the Copper Kings were able to hold the lead in the fourth quarter behind the slick ballhandling of Matt Ojala.
“I think in their zone, Matt really controlled things offensively,” Mike Ojala said. “He did a fine job of dicing that 2-3 zone. He also got us some good shots inside.”
Matt Ojala had 22 points and nine assists for the 9-3 winners in a solid overall showing. Travis Ojala added 16 points, while McParlan contributed 11 points and a team-best eight rebounds. Twardzik put in eight more.
The always hustling Gockenbach paced the Panthers, 9-4 on the season, with 21 points, five assists and five steals.
Elijah Soumis was steady with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Devin Kinnunen netted nine points.
Calumet hosts West Iron Friday in a key West-PAC game. Chassell entertains Jeffers on the same day.
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Calumet 10 24 16 16 — 66
Chassell 17 10 17 9 — 53
CALUMET — Twardzik 8, T. Ojala 16, McParlan 16, M. Ojala 22, Antilla 5, Hyrkas 2. FT: 8-14; Rebounds: 28 (McParlan 9); Fouls: 11; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: T. Ojala 3, M. Ojala 2, Anttila 1.
CHASSELL — Soumis 13, Gockenbach 21, Warren 4, Barnes 6, Kinnunen 9. FT: 7-11; Fouls: 13; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Gockenbach 1, Warren 1.