Strong 3rd sends Hancock past Ironwood

Jason Juno/Daily Globe (Ironwood) Hancock’s Chad Raasio shoots against Ironwood Monday in Ironwood.

IRONWOOD — Hancock’s second half was superior to Ironwood’s first half and it enabled the Bulldogs to come from behind to defeat the Red Devils 61-51 in the opening round of the MHSAA Class C District 96 basketball tournament held at the John Krznarich Gym on Monday.

“We haven’t been able to put together a full four quarters for most of the year,” Ironwood coach Pete Lewinski said. “The last two games we played well the whole game and we played well in the first half tonight. We played an excellent second quarter and our worst third quarter of the year. 

“They got the ball inside and then outside to (Hans) Stimac. Hancock is a solid, veteran team with good seniors.”

Hancock coach Matt Strong said the Bulldogs game plan was to get the ball inside to their big guys.

“We had too many turnovers in the first half,” Strong said. “We started playing inside-out, but credit Ironwood for denying our post touches. We got it back out to our No. 3 (Stimac) and he was big for us. If he shoots well, we have a chance to win.”

Stimac would score 20 points in the game, including six triples. Lewinski and his staff had scouted Hancock and Lewinski called Stimac “a deadly 3-point shooter.”

Early on, it felt like a tournament game because the action was fast-paced and intense.

Hancock led by one to three points most of the first quarter and towards the end of the first quarter, Ironwood’s Griffen Revoyr powered up a shot and then Jacob Joki drove the lane for a lefty lay-up to pull within one of the Bulldogs at 15-14 at the quarter.

Hancock started the second quarter quickly when Stimac drained a 3 from the left corner. But Revoyr answered back with a pair of free throws.

After Hancock went up by 21-18, Lewinski inserted Josh Joki into the lineup. The first thing Joki did was fight for rebound with a bunch of taller players, grabbed it and scored. Joki played like a man possessed getting rebounds and steals and his all-out play helped the Red Devils take the lead at 24-22.

“He really sparked us in the second quarter,” Lewinski said.

Then Justinak took over and splashed a top-of-the-key 3 with 57.4 seconds left and drilled a shot from the left corner to increase Ironwood’s lead to 29-25. Then Nathan Dray caught a long pass that broke the Bulldog press and he kept going to the basket for a score. 

It was 31-25 Ironwood at the half and the Red Devils got a big ovation from the crowd as they sprinted to the locker room. Hancock walked slowly and quietly to their locker room.

It had been a very good quarter for Ironwood as they outscored Hancock 17-10. It was how Ironwood had played going 5-1 in the month of February.

Things started well in the third quarter as Ironwood’s Tony Wiemeri and Dray added free throws and when Revoyr curled down the lane and took a pass for a lay-in, the Red Devils had its largest lead at 35-28.

But the Bulldogs were too legit to quit and they made their move. Mike McParlan went up strong with a shot off the glass, Chad Raasio put in his own missed shot and then intercepted a pass and went rim to rim for a layup. 

Hancock had regained the lead at 39-35 with 3:00 remaining in the quarter.

The Bulldogs reeled off ten more points as their lead ballooned to 49-39 by the quarter’s end. Hancock won the third quarter by a 24-8 margin.

“We had homecourt advantage and we fed off it in the second quarter,” Lewinski said.“Then we had the lousy third quarter.”

Hancock maintained its 10 point lead throughout the fourth quarter and went on to win 61-51.

“We’ll play Calumet at their gym on Wednesday,” Strong said.

After Stimac’s big night with 20 points, Chad Raasio followed with 12 and Reece Anderson reached double figures with 10.

Ironwood’s Griffen Revoyr finished off a first-rate sophomore season with 14 points and Ian Averiit notched 12.

“Ian Averitt played well and so did Josh Joki,” Lewinski said. “We didn’t shoot our free throws well at 59 percent (16-27) and we lose by 10 points. I’d like to thank our seniors for being a part of the program and doing a fine job.”

Hancock 15 10 24 12 – 61

Ironwood 14 17 8 12 – 51

Hancock – Chad Raasio 12, Hans Stimac 20, Mike McParlan 5, Reece Anderson 10, Devin Raasio 4 Will Blau 6. FT’s: 8-18, Fouls: 23, Fouled out: Chad Raasio, 3-pointers: Stimac 6, Chad Raasio 1.

Ironwood – Jacob Joki 6, Paul Justinak 7, Ian Averitt 12, Tony Wiemeri 5, Nathan Dray 3, Josh Joki 4, Griffen Revoyr 14. FT’s: 16-27, Fouls: 20, Fouled out: Jacob Joki, 3-pointers: Justinak.