The L’Anse Purple Hornets hung tough for one quarter against favored Calumet Monday in Class C boys basketball district tourney action.
Then the roof fell in on the Purple Gang in the second quarter as the Copper Kings used a smothering defense to put the game way.
“We talked about staying focused,” CHS coach Mike Ojala said after his team’s 53-25 victory. “And L’Anse has talented kids who can play.
“We knew we would have to work for this tonight. But the kids took over and played exceptional basketball in the second and third quarters.”
A 19-0 run by the northend team to begin the second quarter turned a close 14-10 lead into a 33-10 rout.
“We just couldn’t find the basket after the first quarter,” L’Anse assistant Scott Koski noted. “And Calumet is too skilled of a team to have a cold night against. They can shoot and penetrate inside. They do a lot of good things.”
The Calumet trapping defense, led by guards Wyatt Loukus and Matt Ojala, forced numerous LHS turnovers.
“We kept amping up the pressure and kind of wore on them,” Mike Ojala said. “The defense created some transition stuff in the second quarter.”
Loukus knocked down a pair of 3-point baskets in the first quarter, while Ojala canned a pair of triples in the second period.
“Wyatt and Matt have done a nice job in the backcourt all year,” Mike Ojala said. “They played well again tonight.”
Calumet, which earned the right to host Hancock Wednesday night for the district crown, is now 15-6 on the season.
The West-PAC champions kept the pressure on in the second half, allowing L’Anse just 12 points.
Matt Ojala paced the winners with 15 points. Loukus was next with 12 points and David Kaipio managed 10 more.
L’Anse, closing at 6-15, received eight points from Logan Fish. Brandt Tembreull put in six points and had a game-leading 12 rebounds, drawing Koski’s praise.
“He (Tembreull) was our only senior and he hustled all season,” Koski said. “I can’t say enough about his play.”
Mike Ojala said Hancock is a very familiar opponent, having faced the Bulldogs three times this winter.
“This will be Round 4 with Hancock and each one of them has been a war,” he said. “It certainly will be no picnic.”
Calumet 14 19 13 7 – 53
L’Anse 10 3 6 6 – 25
CALUMET — Loukus 12, T. Ojala 4, Twardzik 4, M. Ojala 15, Kaipio 10, Hyrkas 3, Torola 2, Helminen 3. FT: 5-6; Rebounds: 27 (Loukus 6); Fouls: 15; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: M. Ojala 4, Loukus 2, Hyrkas 1, Kapio 1.
L’ANSE — Fish 8, Parker 4, Rajala 2, Tembreull 6, Waranka 2, Sanregret 3. FT: 6-11; Rebounds: 25 (Tembreull 12); Fouls: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Fish 2, Sanregret 1.