Jeffers comes back to defeat Chassell 53-51

Paul Peterson photo Jeffers’ Ivy Klemett goes to the floor in pursuit of a lose ball Monday against Chassell.

PAINESDALE — Call it a mid-term exam or whatever.

But the Jeffers High girls basketball team passed with flying colors Monday night against rival Chassell.

Trailing by five points with just 1 minute, 34 seconds remaining, the Range crew dug in, caught and then passed the Panthers to win by a 53-51 score.

A jubilant JHS coach Joe Romano said his team learned an important lesson in a game played with playoff intensity.

“It proved to my kids that we can beat Chassell,” Romano said. “That was huge. Of course, we’ll probably see them again in a couple of weeks in the districts.”

Senior Jets’ guard Julia Nordstrom took over the Copper Mountain Conference (CCC Division) game in the final quarter.

Nordstrom pumped in 13 of the 18 points her team tallied in the final quarter. Her 3-point play shaved a 50-45 deficit to 50-48, then set up teammate Alexa Clouthier for the tying basket.

A basket by Ivy Klemett and a free throw by Nordstrom negated a hoop by Chassell’s Sydney Danison.

CHS skipper Brandi Hainault said her team failed to execute in the final two minutes.

“We played OK up to then,” she said. “Then we made some bad decisions. We have to be better than that handling the basketball.”

With a steady full-court 1-2-2 press bothering the Panthers, the Jets grabbed an 18-13 lead late in the second frame.

But five points by Sophia Huhta and four more by Meg Hokenson helped vault the Panthers into a 24-23 halftime lead.

Jeffers kept applying pressure to good use in the third period, taking a slim 35-34 margin at quarter’s end.

Romano said his press received some tweaking.

“We changed some personnel and we worked hard on it,” he noted. “We wanted to get more aggressive on defense than we’ve been.”

Still, the Panthers, 12-5 overall and 10-3 in the league, appeared to be in good shape when Milly Allen’s eight points apparently put them in charge.

Hainault said her team won’t be discouraged by the loss.

“You can’t turn the ball over like that and expect to win a game,” she said. “Sure, Jeffers is a great team and they played hard tonight, but I think we’re a pretty good team, too.”

Nordstrom led all scorers with 26 points and also had five assists and four steals. Brooke Heinonen netted seven points, while Klemett and Ciarra Stevens divided 12 more.

Clouthier, who missed most of the game with an ankle sprain, contributed some big plays down the stretch for the 11-6, 9-3 winners.

Allen was all over the court for the Panthers, accounting for 14 points, nine steals and four assists.

“I thought Milly played a really fine game,” Hainault commented. “She was all over the place.”

Danison was held to 11 points, but snagged a game-high 11 rebounds. Huhta and Lela Rautiola netted nine points apiece, while Hokenson has eight markers.

The Jets host Ewen-Trout Creek Thursday in their final home game.

Chassell will do likewise to Watersmeet.

Chassell 9 15 10 17 – 51

Jeffers 7 16 12 18 – 53.

CHASSELL — Hokenson 8, Allen 14, Huhta 9, Danison 11, Rautiola 9. FT: 10-16; Rebounds: 31 (Danison 11); Fouls: 15; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Allen 2, Rautiola 1.

JEFFERS — Klemett 6, Heinonen 7, Stevens 6, Nordstrom 26, Kinnunen 2, Clouthier 3, Pennala 3. FT: 13-19; Rebounds: 29 (Stevens 8); Fouls: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Nordstrom 3, Stevens 1.