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Lakes boys win battle at Calumet

Paula Porter/ For the Gazette The Calumet Copper Kings end a timeout in the fourth period in their game against the Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes on Thursday in Calumet.

CALUMET — After the anthem finished and the line-ups were read, intensity and enthusiasm generated by those in attendance poured down from the bleachers and onto the floor, where the teams consumed it and then used it to orchestrate a physical and aggressive basketball game.

It looked like the Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes were cruising to a win, but in the first four minutes of the fourth, the Calumet Copper Kings scored seven unanswered points to make it 44-42. The Lakes regained control and finished the game on a 9-4 run for a final score of 53-46.

“Our kids played tough, said LL-H head coach Brett Poissant. “It was a physical game, and I’d like to see a little bit more of a basketball game instead of a physicality game, but I thought our kids battled them inside the paint and did everything they needed to do to get a win.”

Despite the loss, Calumet head coach Frank Bonacorsi was happy with his team’s play and effort.

“I am very happy with the team’s play tonight,” said Bonacorsi. “We had a lot of opportunities, and that’s just a testament to our kids’ hustle. We had a ton of offensive rebounds, and we were executing,” Bonacorsi said. “They had a constant effort, and they know that’s what we have to do, and they did great with it tonight.”

Calumet propelled their fourth-quarter comeback attempt with high ball pressure and two-on-one traps.

“We put on a bit of a press in the fourth to try to create some turnovers,” Bonacorsi said. “We ended up with a couple of turnovers and then capitalized on them by executing very well offensively. We had some traps called, and the kids were doing a good job of being aggressive.

“We picked up a few too many fouls, which put us in foul trouble for a good chunk of the quarter, but they did a great job.”

Poissant reacted to Calumet’s late rally.

“Calumet was pressuring us for sure,” Poissant said. “We had some subs in there, but their pressure was definitely getting to us a little bit.”

The Lakes had three kids score in double digits: Danny Marcotte and Josh Daavettila had 13 points, and Gabe Popko added 12.

The Kings’ Blake Tarvis and Gavin Sturos put up 12 a piece.

The game started and was an instant battle. Each squad was finding the basket for half of the first quarter, and the close score portrayed that 13-11 in favor of LL-H.

The scoring slowed down for the home team. In the last four minutes of the quarter, Calumet only managed one point, while the visiting Lakes bumped their total by six.

The second frame would start with LL-H in the lead, 19-12. The Lakes pulled out a nine-point lead a few minutes in, 21-12. Calumet cut the deficit to six at the mid-point of the quarter, 23-17. Minutes later, the Lakes got their advantage back to nine after a 5-2 run, 28-19. The spread nearly stayed the same at half, but Calumet hit a late three to get closer to LL-H; the Lakes led 32-34 at the break.

Each team made a bucket before the Kings reeled off five straight, trimming the Lakes’ lead to three, 34-31. LL-H was up five a handful of minutes later, but the scrappy Calumet unit kept it close and showed no signs of letting up. The Lakes closed out the third quarter with four points in a row to return their lead to nine, 44-35.

The Kings had a newfound energy in the final eight minutes, which showed out in heavy pressure. It took over half of the fourth before LL-H scored, but by then, Calumet had cut their deficit to just two, 44-42.

There was 3:15 left in the contest when the Lakes figured out the new King system, and they did not look back. At the six-minute mark, LL-H had its lead to 48-42. Down 49-43, Calumet made it a game once again after a three dropped with 40 seconds left. The Kings began to foul to preserve the clock; however, it did not pan out, and the Lakes secured a 53-46 victory.

The playoffs begin Monday, and Bonacorsi feels good about where his team is.

“I love how we played against Ishpeming and LL-H,” said Bonacorsi. “They are two really good teams, and for us to battle with them to get a little bit more battle-tested should definitely help come tournament time.”

UP NEXT

Calumet hosts Hancock on Monday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m. in the first round of the district playoffs.

LL-H has a bye but will travel for their first playoff game on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. Their opponent is TBD.

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