The Calumet Copper Kings had a couple of goals in mind when they traveled to Hancock Thursday night.
“One, we knew a win would give us a share of the conference title,” Calumet coach Mike Ojala said after his team’s 67-42 win over the Bulldogs. “Two, we wanted to keep our momentum going from the last two weeks.”
Mission accomplished for the Blue and Grey, who look like the favorites in the upcoming Class C district tourney next week.
Now 15-5 on the season and 7-1 in the West-PAC, the Copper Kings were solid in all departments.
Hancock coach Matt Strong feels the Kings have all the components.
“They’re strong in the backcourt and real solid in the frontcourt,” said Strong, whose team faces Calumet on Monday in an opening-round Class C district game. “Tonight, we started off strong in the first quarter, but then started turning it over. That’s been a season-long problem.”
Hancock grabbed a 12-11 lead with just 30 seconds left in the opening quarter only to have Matt Ojala make a steal and layup for a 13-12 Calumet lead.
Strong second quarters by Travis and Matt Ojala keyed a 25-point second period for the winners.
Travis had 10 points in the quarter, while Matt put in eight more. That all added up to a commanding 38-20 lead at intermission.
“I thought we played pretty solid basketball tonight,” Mike Ojala said. “We had good balance and you always like to see that.”
Both coaches had an opportunity to use their benches after Calumet mounted a 53-25 lead after three quarters.
Strong liked the hustle of some of his younger players.
“They played hard and you can’t ask for more than that,” he said.
Matt Ojala showed the way with 19 points and nine assists, while Travis Ojala notched 18 points. Senior center Cooper Twardzik was effective with 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
“I thought he (Twardzik) played well inside,” Mike Ojala said. “He can do some things.”
Hancock was paced by Carson Chynoweth with 17 points. Joe Watson added 10 points and Devin Raasio chipped in eight points and nine rebounds.
Calumet knocked off West Iron County on the road and then edged Houghton to earn a tie with West Iron County for the conference crown.
Monday’s district opener is set for 7 p.m. in Calumet.
– – –
Calumet 13 25 15 14 — 67
Hancock 12 8 5 17 — 42
CALUMET — T. Ojala 18, Hill 4, C. Twardzik 13, M. Ojala 19, Torola 4, McParlan 2, Hyrkas 3, W. Twardzik 3. FT: 11-18; Rebounds: 31 (C. Twardzik 8); Fouls: 14; Fouled out: None. 3-point FG: T. Ojala 3, W. Twardzik 1.
HANCOCK — Watson 10, Sintkowsk 3, Chynoweth 17, Raasio 8, E. Anderson 2. P. Anderson 2. FT: 3-8; Rebounds: 22 (Raasio 8); Fouls: 15; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Watson 2, Chynoweth 2.