Calumet dispatched Hancock for the third time this season, beating the Bulldogs 50-32 in Monday’s MHSAA Class C District 96 semifinal at John Krznarich Gym. The Copper Kings (13-8) travel to Ironwood (18-3) in Wednesday’s district final at 6:30 p.m. Ironwood won the final last year over the Kings at Calumet. On Monday, Calumet made shots, scoring all but two of its first-half buckets from the perimeter. That gave them a 26-13 lead over Hancock (7-14).
“Early on, we expected to see some type of zone defenses out of them; we executed pretty well,” Calumet coach and Ewen-Trout Creek graduate Mike Ojala said. “Jack Hyrkas got hot early on in that game, from the corner he hit a couple threes to soften up their zone and forced them to get out of that. They went box-and-one. I just think making shots early was a key against their zones.”
Hyrkas scored 10 points and made three treys. Wyatt Loukus also scored 10 points for Calumet. Nobody reached double figures for Hancock, which was led by Chad Raasio’s eight points. It was the second time this season Calumet held the Bulldogs to just 32 points.
“The kids worked hard defensively,” Ojala said. “We did a good job. Early on, we were a little soft with our press and they got a couple of buckets off of it. Second quarter, our defense was pretty good. For the most part, we limited them to one shot, which is always key. We can still do better with that. We stopped their penetration for the most part the first three quarters and worked hard defensively.”
Calumet will try to knock off the fifth-ranked team in the final U.P. Class ABC poll, Ironwood, Wednesday.
“We just have to sharpen up on the little things we weren’t very good at tonight,” Ojala said. “We just got to execute all the little things that will give you a chance to win the tight games in the tournament. Our kids are excited and hopefully we’ll just come out and play as hard as we can.”
Hancock 8 5 5 14 – 32
Calumet 13 13 11 13 – 50
Hancock – Hans Stimac 4, Jared Peryam 3, Chad Raasio 8, Cole Kemppainen 5, Spencer Slivola 6, Reece Anderson 6. FTs: 7-15. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: Peryam 1.
Calumet – Russ Bjorn 7, Owen Sturos 1, Wyatt Loukus 10, Peter Anderson 2, Samuel Kariniemi 7, Jack Hyrkas 10, Kurtis Keranen 2, Nathan Pieti 6, Jesse Helminen 1, Cooper Twardzik 4. FTs: 16-28. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: Bjorn. 3-pointers: Hyrkas 3, Kariniemi 1.