Chassell outguns Jeffers in 64-41 win

Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette Jeffers’ Brenna Hill drives down the floor while Chassell’s Maelene Warren gives chase during a game Monday in the Jeffers’ Gym.

PAINESDALE – Jeffers Jets girls basketball coach Joe Romano knew that he and his girls had their work cut out for them as the Chassell Panthers were in town.

The girls from Chassell played in the Class D state championship game a year ago. They have maintained their winning ways a year later and it showed Monday night as they outscored the Jets, 64-41.

“They are a good team,” said Romano. “I was pleased with our effort in the first two quarters as we stuck with them. But, we struggled to put anything together in the second half of the game.

“That has been the story of our year.”

Senior guard Jenna Pietala put the Panthers on the board with two free throws to kick the game off. Teammate Lela Rautiola followed with a jumper and the Panthers were off to a 4-0 lead.

Thanks to some inside play Dayna Johnson and free throws by Miranda Heinonen, the Jets were able to tie it at 6-6 halfway through the first quarter.

Chassell slowed things down and played a very controlled game, working the ball around the horn. They posted six more points and led 12-8 after eight minutes.

In the second, Chassell pulled away with seven unanswered points to make the score 19-8.

The Jets though bounced back with back-to-back lay ups from Gracia Asiala and Johnson and were able to get within six at 23-17 with a few minutes remaining. Brenna Hill then fired off a jumper at the top of the key to make it 23-19.

It looked like it could be either team’s game at halftime with Chassell leading 25-19.

“I was very pleased with Johnson, said Romano. “Her inside game is coming along.”

On the other bench, Chassell coach Bill Sleeman was pleased with the play of his team in the second two periods.

“We attacked the basket and were able to penetrate the paint,” he said. “We had good movement and, from that standpoint, we played well.”

The Panthers opened the third quarter with 10-0 run to make the score 35-19.

Hill finally broke the ice for the Jets at 3:47 as she sunk two free throws. However, the Panthers kept hitting their shots. Rautiola led the third with eight points and carried the score to 44-28.

The fourth quarter looked similar. Pietala and Sleeman combined for a number of transition baskets that turned into layups. Pietala was able to push the ball forward and hit Sleeman under the net for a layup.

Pietala was also unstoppable at the free throw line. She was 11 for 12. As a team, Chassell was 21-27.

“We practice free throws every day,” said Sleeman.

In the end, Chassell closed the game with a 23-point spread. Sleeman led the offensive charge with 20 points. Rautiola had 18 and Pietala had 17 points.

With the loss the Jets fall to 6-6 on the season.

“I was very pleased with our performance against a very good team,” said Romano. “We are improving. Scoring inside is what we need to work on especially as districts approach.”

The Panthers moved to 9-5.

“If we can attack the inside like we did tonight then we will continue to have success,” said Sleeman.

Chassell 12 13 19 20 – 64

Jeffers 8 11 9 13 – 41

CHS: Warren 5, Pietala 17, Hietala 2, Sleeman 20, Goddard 2, Rautiola 18; Fouls: 15; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Sleeman 1

JHS: Hillstrom 4, Hill 7, Asiala 4, Nordstrom 2, Johnson 15, Jurmu 2, M. Heinonen 7; Fouls: 21: Fouled out: B. Heinonen; 3-point field goals: Hill 1, Johnson 1