Jets fight hard, earn victory over visiting Gremlins, 49-41
JEFFERS — Every basket was a battle for the Jeffers Jets girls basketball against a bigger, deeper opponent in the Houghton Gremlins. However, the Jets fought hard for every point they got and that proved to be key in a 49-41 victory at the Jeffers Gym Tuesday.
Jeffers coach Joe Romano took pride in his team’s victory and was quick to credit Houghton on an evenly-played game.
“For us, it’s a big win because we respect the Houghton program,” he said. “It’s huge for us. We play Hancock, Chassell and Baraga, so we’ve got some tough games. When you can stay close to a team like Houghton, I feel fortunate. I feel good.”
“Houghton is a good team. They play class B schools,” said Romano. “They play the toughest schedule in the area. They’re a great team. They’ve got a good coach.
Romano felt that his Jets found a way to out run the Gremlins over the course of the night, which created matchup problems for Houghton the longer the night went on.
“We were fortunate (with) the fastbreak. I think they (got) tired. That’s what I think was the changing point. They shot a lot better from the field. I think we may have shot a little better from the free throw line. Our defense was a lot (stronger).”
Both teams would exchange leads throughout the first half, and went into halftime with a 24-24 tie.
Jeffers junior Dayna Johnson would break that tie early in the third quarter.
Romano thought his entire team pulled together a strong win. He singled out the efforts of Heidi Hillstrom, who finished with 16 points, also had two key steals near the end of the game. Marissa Nordstrom, who had three points and Gracia Asiala, who picked up five, also came up big for the Jets.
“I thought Heidi Hillstrom really stepped it up tonight for our us,” Romano said. “Marissa Nordstrom really had a fantastic game. It took Gracia Asiala a little bit to get into the game, but when she did, she got in there. I’m really proud of them. They did a really nice job.”
Cassie Ryynanen lead the Gremlins with 11 points, with six coming in the first half.
Houghton coach Julie Filpus saw a stronger first half from her team but fouls and slower defense cost the Gremlins in the end.
“We were pleased with our start,” she said. “We had a couple of our key players get into some foul trouble. I think that turned the momentum in the game. We were pretty disappointed in our girls work on the defensive end and that was something we stressed after the game.”
Filpus was at a bit of a loss to explain what changed between the first and second halves.
“Even as the third quarter wore on, we had that glazed over look on our faces,” said Filpus. “It was just a struggle all-around in the second half.”
Filpus wants her team to show better focus before traveling to Westwood on Friday.
“Most importantly, it’s kind of how our girls decide to regroup,” she said. “This was a frustrating loss and, at the end of the day, they’re the ones who have to go out on the floor and execute and make things happen. I hope that they’ll do some self reflection and set us in the right direction.”
Houghton 12 12 11 11 – 41
Jeffers 9 15 13 12 – 49
HHS: Markham 10, Ryynanen 11, Connors 6, Bugni 3, Svoke 3, Trewhella 10; Fouls: 15; Fouled out: Svoke; 3-point field goals: Conners 2, Ryynanen 1
JHS: B. Heinonen 6, Hillstrom 16, Hill 6, Nordstrom 8, Asiala 5, Johnson 3, M. Heinonen 6; Fouls: 15; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Hillstrom 2, Asiala 1