Cruise control: Copper Kings roll over Red Devils, 72-49

Paul Peterson/For the Gazette Calumet’s Elli Djerf drives in for a layup in Wednesday’s Division 3 District 65 Tournament game against Ironwood. Djerf scored 15 points in her team’s 72-49 victory. Ironwood’s Caitlin Mylly is also in the picture.

CALUMET — It turned into pretty much a stroll in the park for the Calumet Copper Kings in Wednesday night’s Division 3 District 65 Tournament girls basketball semifinal against Ironwood Wednesday night.

Playing in front of their home crowd, the Copper Kings had little trouble rolling to a 72-49 win.

“I thought we played really well tonight,” Calumet coach Matt Laho said. “We had been on a bit of a roller coaster this season, where we would play some good games …. and then tail off. But we were steady all of this game.”

Ironwood coach Angela Ruotsala was very impressed with Calumet.

“They (Copper Kings) have a very good team.” Ruotsala said. “They all run the floor very well. They play defense and they can all shoot.”

The 13-8 Calumet cagers will now meet West Iron County Friday for the district championship. The game is set for 7 p.m. in Calumet.

The Wykons and Copper Kings split two games during the regular season, a fact noted by Laho.

“We know West Iron is good, and they have some tall players,” he said. “We’re familiar with each other.”

After spotting the Red Devils a 5-0 lead Wednesday, Calumet took off behind speedy senior guard Ava Anderson.

Anderson notched seven points and Elli Djerf put in five more to key the locals to a 17-11 lead after one quarter.

Bothered by Calumet’s constant defensive pressure, the Red Devils were outscored by a 27-12 margin. That made it 44-23 at the half.

“We got too far behind them in the second quarter,” Ruotsala said. “Too many turnovers and too many mistakes against a team like that will kill you.”

A slight Calumet lull in the third quarter and some accurate outside shooting by McKenzie Boyd of the Red Devils made it close for a time.

But Calumet answered back on two hoops by Djerf and one from Molly Larson to restore order and go up by a 52-35 count by quarter’s end.

The depth of the northend team wore down Ironwood in the final quarter even though Boyd kept firing.

Anderson led the winners with 21 points and several steals. The athletic Djerf, who sparked the Calumet defense, tossed in 13 points and also collected 9 rebounds. Mary Beth Halonen and Larson combined for 17 markers.

Ironwood, closing at 14-8, was paced by Boyd with 23 points. She potted seven treys in all. Kaitlin Mylly netted 15.

Laho said his team plans to run as much as possible in the title game.

“That’s the way our girls like play that way, they like to push the ball. If we can run it, we’re going to run it.”

Ironwood 11 12 12 14 – 49

Calumet 17 27 8 19 – 72

IHS: Boyd 23, Vaughn 4, Mylly 15, Weber 5, Jackson 2; FT: 6-8; Rebounds: 22 (Boyd 6); Fouls: 14; Fouled out: none: 3-point field goals; Boyd 7, Mylly 2.

CLK: Anderson 21, Loukus 5, Kariniemi 2, Djerf 13, Larson 8, Torola 6, Kiilunen 4, Halonen 9, Peterson 4; FT: 8-10; Rebounds: 33 (Djerf 9); Fouls: 10; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Anderson 2, Halonen 1, Loukus 1.