Bulldogs girls sweep Copper Kings with 50-47 win

Hancock’s Bella Hebert works her way in for a layup against Calumet’s Caitlyn Strom (2) and Isabel Loukus (10) during a game Wednesday at the Calumet Gym. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

CALUMET — The Calumet Copper Kings girls’ basketball team have lost just three games this season (10-3). However, two of those losses came from the same team — the Hancock Bulldogs (11-1). They lost the first matchup in December, and then lost again to them Wednesday, 50-47.

“Hats off to them,” said Calumet coach Charlie Kemppainen. “They are hard to beat.”

He added that he thought he thought his girls outplayed the Bulldogs in three out of the four quarters. The stats for three of the four quarters agree as they led 12-6 after the first quarter and had a 23-17 lead at half. Yet, while the Copper Kings outscored the Bulldogs 14-13 in the fourth, Hancock’s 20-point third quarter, in essence, won the game.

With just a five-point difference at the half, both coaches knew this rivalry game could go either way.

“I was really happy with our first half,” added Kemppainen. “To hold a good team like that to just 17 points was great, but the third was our downfall.”

That was what Bulldogs coach Ward Helakoski was hoping would happen as he mapped out the start of the third in the locker room.

“I told the girls that if we win the first four minutes of the third, we will win this game,” he said.

His words were prophetic.

Bella Hebert opened the second half with back-to-back three pointers for the Bulldogs, and before they knew it, Calumet was down 29-23.

“Bella dominated the floor in the opening minutes of the third,” said Helakoski. “Equally impressive was Kaisa (Salani). She did everything right in the stretch. She handled the ball well, pulled down some big rebounds, and got to the basket. Those two set the tone.”

They also were Hancock’s two leading scores. Hebert sunk 19 points and Salani had 10.

Not only did the Bulldogs lead 37-33 at the start of the fourth, but momentum was on their side.

“We got sloppy on one end and tried to do too much on the other end,” said Kemppainen. “We lost our rhythm there at the end, and that cost us.”

For the Copper Kings, Laina Kariniemi led her team with 15 points and Isabel Loukus sunk 12 points.

Up next

The Bulldogs will welcome the Gwinn Modeltowners to their gym tonight with 7:15 tip off. The Copper Kings will travel to Westwood to face the Patriots on Monday, Feb. 6.


HCH 6 11 20 13 – 50

CAL 12 11 10 14 – 47

HCH – Aho 6, Pietila 7, Brey 8, Salani 10, Hebert 19.

CAL – Beiring 5, Bjorn 2, C. Loukus 2, Kariniemi 15, I. Loukus 12, Kiilunen 5, Strom 6.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today