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Still searching: Hancock continues to look for first win after loss to Ishpeming

Hancock continues to look for first win after loss to Ishpeming

Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette Hancock’s Gabe Smith goes up for a layup against Ishpeming’s Chase Jensen in a game Wednesday at the Hancock Gym.

HANCOCK — The Hancock Bulldogs boys basketball team is still searching for their first win of the 2019-20 season. Down by just nine at halftime on Wednesday against the Ishpeming Hematites at home, things looked promising. However they were outscored 18-4 in the third quarter and eventually fell, 63-38, when the final buzzer sounded at the end of the fourth.

It was their fifth loss in a row.

Bulldogs head coach Matt Strong did the best he could to spin the loss in the best possible light.

“There were spurts of greatness and spurts of ‘what are we doing?’,” he said. “The shots weren’t falling as well.”

The Bulldogs pushed out to 5-4 lead in the first quarter. At the 5:12 mark, the score was tied at eight and it was a back-and-forth battle from there on out. The Hematites (2-3) had an 18-11 lead after the first eight minutes.

Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette Hancock’s J.D. Sebbas launches a shot.

The second quarter looked and felt similar as the Hematites kept one step ahead of the Bulldogs. At halftime they were still in the lead, 33-24.

“We played against a team we are not used to seeing and we were not at home,” said Ishpeming head coach George Niemi. “Hancock came out with a full-court press

and they tried to get us out of our rhythm and it worked. Once we settled down, we were able to work our game and get some buckets. At the end of the day, I was proud of the boys for getting the win.”

After coming out of the break, the game belonged to the Hematites as they stepped up their game on both ends of the floor.

Senior Jacob Kugler led Ishpeming with a game-high 28 points and was powerful on the rebounds.

“He had a great game both inside and out,” said Niemi. “He showed what he is capable of doing and really came through for us tonight.”

A tough Hematite defense kept the Bulldogs on the perimeter and the shots would not fall for Hancock in the third period. They were often one and done as Ishpeming’s bigger players outmanned them on the boards.

On the other end of the court, the Hematites were getting third and fourth chances under the rim. Too many turnovers did not help the Bulldogs cause either.

“They (Ishpeming) are big and experienced and we are young and small,” said Strong. “Despite the loss I was pleased with our defense. It is getting better as we were able to stop them at times, especially early in the game. I am certainly pleased with the effort these guys put in.”

Junior Carson Chynoweth led the Bulldogs with 13 points.

The Bulldogs will travel to Chassell on Friday in hopes to win their first win of the season.

Ishpeming 18 15 18 12 – 63

Hancock 11 13 4 10 – 38

ISHPEMING (63): Kipling 11, Corkin 5, Swanson 4, Waananem 1, Pruett 6, Jensen 2, Kugler 28; Fouls: 18; FTs: 11-30; 3-point field goals: Kugler 3

HANCOCK (38): Jacques 7, Chynoweth 13, Packard 5, Sebbas 7, Raasio 6, Froiland 1; Fouls: 20; FTs: 15-24; 3-point field goals: Raasio 2, Jacques 1, Sebbas 1

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