Panthers season ends with loss

Burt Angeli/Daily News (Iron Mountain) Ewen-Trout Creek’s Elise Besonen (22) passes out of trouble in a Division 4 regional semifinal Monday in Kingsford.

KINGSFORD — Stephenson’s game plan produced results in the third quarter and floored Ewen-Trout Creek 60-41 in a Division 4 Region 25 girls basketball semifinal Monday.

The Eagles (12-9) and the young Baraga Vikings (20-3) will square off at 6 p.m. Wednesday for the regional championship and berth in the state quarterfinals.

Stephenson rolled 23-6 in the third quarter to pull away after leading 26-25 at intermission.

“I told the girls at halftime that we were working harder, not smarter,” said Stephenson Coach Shanna Beal. “That’s why we came out in the third and started executing what our plan was in the beginning. Obviously it worked in the third quarter. That’s when we had our good run.”

ETC sophomore Elise Besonen scored 10 of her game-high 19 points in the second quarter to keep it close until Stephenson’s balanced attack took over.

“It just kind of dominoed and they just kept rolling,” ETC Coach Jacky Besonen said of the third quarter.

Emily Johnson, Makayla Johnson and Karlee Kuntze each scored 15 points for the Eagles. Autumn Rasner, a 1,000-plus point career scorer, added 11.

“We’ve been kind of working our way up to that (balanced scoring),” said Beal, whose Eagles collected seven points from Emily Johnson and six each from Rasner and Makayla Johnson in the third quarter.

Stephenson shot well — over 40 percent from two and three-point territory — and ETC struggled with an overall shooting mark of 29 percent.

“That really showed up in the second half,” Besonen said. “We were already getting in a hole and they would hit a big shot and put us deeper in the hole. They scored it well and we did not.”

The Eagles also snared 40 rebounds to 23 for the Panthers.

“That was a huge difference,” Besonen said. “We didn’t get many second attempts. We weren’t getting anything inside. It was all coming from our outside.

“They had some good length and strength. We got a little out-physicalled at times in the post when we were trying to get it in.”

Eighth-grader Kate Borseth chipped in 13 points for the Panthers (17-5).

Stephenson played a 1-2-2 zone and added a three-quarter court trap in the second half.

“We’ve really worked on our inside defense,” Beal noted.

Stephenson took an 18-point lead into the fourth quarter and maintained a double-digit lead for the rest of the game.

Sophomore Jaylyne Lindemann scored a game-high 20 points to lead Baraga past tournament favorite Munising 57-42 in the first regional semifinal. Freshman Reide Ostermann added 15 points and Rylie Koskinen had 12 for the Vikings. Megan Matson and Michaela Werner led the Mustangs (16-5) with 13 points apiece.

“Baraga looked small and quick,” Beal said.

The Vikings, with a roster of seven players, had one foul out and three more pick up four fouls. Playing a relentless style offensively and defensively, they split with ETC during the regular season.

“If Stephenson can handle Baraga’s pressure and hit those open shots it should be a good match-up,” Besonen said. “Baraga doesn’t have a lot of size but is very aggressive. They’ll pressure and probably get some turnovers.

“Stephenson has good, balanced scoring and great rebounding.”

Ewen-Trout Creek 13 12 6 10 — 41

Stephenson 13 13 23 11 — 60

ETC: Berglund 4, LeGault 3, Borseth 13, Besonen 19, Moilanen 2; FT: 4-10; Fouls: 12; 3-point field goals: Borseth 3, Besonen 2.

STE: Rasner 11, Schultz 4, E. Johnson 15, M. Johnson 15, Kuntze 15; FT: 12-16; Fouls: 12; 3-point field goals: Rasner 2, E. Johnson 3, Kuntze 1.