After one quarter of play, it might have looked like it was going to be a close game between the Calumet and Indian River Inland Lakes boys basketball teams.
But the second and third quarters made all the difference as the Copper Kings ran off on a 28-0 run to pull away for a 70-26 victory in a Class C regional semifinal played at Marquette Senior High School on Monday night.
Calumet (18-5) faces Iron Mountain (22-1) for the regional title at 7 p.m. Wednesday back at MSHS.
Kings head coach Mike Ojala said a tight pressure defense helped his team set the tempo and pull away.
“We had a little bit of film on these guys (Inland Lakes) and they really shot the 3 well in the games that we saw,” he said. “Early on we were a little late on help on some of their ball screen stuff and (No.) 23 (Nathanial Wandrie) hit a fadeaway on the baseline and I started thinking we’ve got to deal with some things we haven’t seen yet.
“We amped up our pressure at about the four-minute mark of the first quarter and then that defensive pressure seemed to get things going for us offensively, too.”
Ojala also said he expects Iron Mountain to be a challenge.
“It’ll be a big-time challenge for sure,” he said. “They’re a good-sized, physical team, good guard play. We’ve got one day to prep for them. We’ll take a look at some film, talk about what we need to do, come out and give it the best we can.”
Calumet senior Cooper Twardzik said everything fell the Copper Kings’ way as their team achieved a first in the process.
“We just played our hearts out and are trying to make history,” he said. “This is the first regional win in Calumet boys history. It’s very exciting. Everything just went right.”
Inland Lakes head coach Lee Nash could not be reached for comment.
Calumet jumped out to a 5-0 lead on buckets from junior Matthew Ojala and a triple from Twardzik at the top of the arc.
Inland Lakes fired right back. After hitting a pair of free throws, senior forward Ronnie LaBreque hit a 3 of his own to tie the game 5-5.
The Bulldogs took their first lead on a basket from sophomore forward Nathanial Wandrie, and got another right after that to put his team up 9-5. Calumet fought back, ending the quarter with a 3 from Ojala to put the Copper Kings up 13-11 after one quarter.
With the Copper Kings leading 21-17 in the second, that’s when the explosive run began.
Calumet held Inland Lakes scoreless until 2:47 was left in the third quarter when Bulldogs junior guard Cleveland Baker hit a triple to end the 28-0 run.
Those were the only points Inland Lakes scored in the third, as it had just nine points total in the second half.
Ojala finished with 25 points, eight assists and five steals to lead Calumet, while Twardzik had 20 points and 12 rebounds. Junior Travis Ojala also hit double digits with 10 points.
Wandrie led Inland Lakes with 13 points.
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Calumet 13 24 19 14 — 70
Inland Lakes 11 6 3 6 — 26
Calumet — Harmala 3, Matt Ojala 25, Travis Ojala 10, McParlan 4, Will Twardzik 4, Hyrkas 4, Torola 2, Cooper Twardzik 20. Free throws: 8-17; 3-point field goals: Matt Ojala 2, Harmala, Travis Ojala, Hyrkas.
Inland Lakes — Bishop 2, Baker 3, Overholt 3, LaBreque 5, Wandrie 13. Free throws: 4-5; 3-point shooting: Baker, LaBreque.