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Calumet beats Glen Lake to reach state semifinals

Calumet’s Laura Giachino (30) defends against Maple City Glen Lake during a MHSAA Division 3 state quarterfinal Monday in Houghton Lake. The Copper Kings beat Glen Lake 73-69 to advance to the Division 3 state semifinal Wednesday in East Lansing. (James Cook/Traverse City RecordEagle)

HOUGHTON LAKE — The Copper Kings overcame a 12-point deficit to hand Maple City Glen Lake its first and only loss of the season 73-69 in the MHSAA Division 3 state quarterfinals on Monday.

Calumet will face Kent City (20-0) after it beat Schoolcraft 52-19 in another quarterfinals game. Calumet and Kent City’s state semifinals matchup is 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. It’s Calumet’s first state semifinals appearance since winning the state title against Flint Hamady in 2015.

The winner plays in the Division 3 state finals at 3 p.m. Friday.

The Copper Kings (20-0) were led Monday by Elli Djerf’s 23 points. Alexis Strom scored 16 points and Marybeth Halonen added 15.

Grace Bradford led Glen Lake (19-1) with 14 points. Millie Foglesong scored 13 points. Maddie Bradford scored 12 points.

Copper Kings head coach Matt Laho credits his team leader Elli Djerf for rallying the troops in the third.

“When we got down by 12 and called time out in the third, Elli grabbed her teammates and said, ‘We can do this. Let’s play,'” Laho recalled. “And they went out and executed and chipped away at that lead.”

Laho said games have gotten harder and harder as the Copper Kings have advanced in the state tournament.

He said that as the game got underway, his girls were caught off guard by the speed in which the Lakers pushed the ball and how quickly they scored. As well, he said Glen Lake had three or four tall girls.

“Once we slowed them down a little bit and got them to play half court, it helped us a ton,” he said. “It took awhile for us to adapt to the tall girls but once we were able to adjust and adapt to their length, we were fine.”

Calumet was down by two after the first period at 18-16 and down by one at halftime with a 37-36 score.

“I told the girls at halftime to play our game, hit our spots and communicate,” he said.

After three quarters, the Lakers still led 54-52, but the last eight minutes belonged to the Copper Kings. They outscored Glen Lake 21-15 for the win.

Djerf led the scoring for the Copper Kings with 23 points and four triples. Alexis Strom scored 16 points and had nine rebounds. Marybeth Halonen sunk with 15 and had three three pointers.

“The girls are so excited,” Laho said. “They’ve played hard all year and it’s paid off.”

GLHS 18 19 17 15 — 69

CHS 16 20 16 21 — 73

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