Banner year for Copper Country girls with 10 picks

MARQUETTE – The Copper Country received rich recognition for being one of the strongest girls’ basketball regions in the U.P., as Houghton’s Elisa Jurmu was named to the Dream Team and was Class ABC Player of the Year (see related story), three more locals made first teams and six made the second team.

L’Anse junior Madi Swanson, who shared WestPAC Player of the Year honors with Jurmu, was named to the Class ABC First Team, up a level from her sophomore campaign. Swanson, who slashed fearlessly to the basket despite her slight 5-foot-2 frame, averaged 18.3 points per game and had 26 as the Purple Hornets earned the first victory by a local team over Houghton since 1999 in their 60-56 overtime thriller in December.

She is joined on the ABC First Team by another high-intensity underclassman, Calumet sophomore Lexie Rowe.

Rowe was the top scorer on a Calumet team ranked among the U.P.’s best all season, averaging 13.4 points and 3.9 rebounds. In addition to her finishing ability, Rowe made major contributions in a variety of different avenues, finishing second on the team in made threes, assists and rebounds.

At 5-foot-1, Chassell’s Jamie Dompier was the shortest of more than 100 players considered for the All-U.P. boys’ and girls’ teams. That didn’t stop her one bit, as Dompier easily made the Class D First Team.

She racked up 15.7 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, including eight double-doubles and one triple-double, a 16-point, 11-steal, 10-rebound effort at Watersmeet Jan. 24.

Three local players made the Second Team in both Class ABC and Class D.

Blaire Zenner of Houghton may have been the Copper Country’s most improved player over the course of the season, evolving into a complementary scoring threat to Jurmu as Houghton racked up 15 straight wins mid-season.

Zenner averaged 8.9 points and 7.3 boards and scored a season-high 19 in a WestPAC-deciding road win at Calumet.

Fellow senior Kristy Lasanen of Calumet also made the Second Team.

A three-year starter and one of the best outside shooters in CHS history, Lasanen averaged 12.3 points, many of them coming from beyond the arc, where she connected 41 times this season.

L’Anse junior Valerie Rajala was also elected to the Second Team. Her 5-9 height was modest but vital inside to the Purple Hornets, who suffered three of their seven regular-season losses when she was out, first with a knee injury, then later due to illness. She averaged a double-double of 11.7 points and 11.8 boards.

In Class D, Dollar Bay junior Julia Daavettila was recognized for another excellent season as the Bays’ chief scoring threat. Daavettila averaged 14.3 points per game.

Ontonagon senior Chelsea Truscott played a leading role in Ontonagon winning the Copper Country Conference title for the fifth time in six years. She averaged 10.2 points and six rebounds a game.

Ewen-Trout Creek senior Zoey McGeshick, a major contributor all four years of her varsity career, stepped it up to 12 points and 8.4 rebounds a game as the Panthers wrested control of the Porcupine Mountain Conference from Watersmeet.

Three other locals received special mention, that is two or more votes from the 23-person panel: Kelsey Ross of L’Anse, Jenna Heikkinen of Baraga and Brittni Kisul of Lake Linden-Hubbell.

Kelsie Richards of Houghton also received honorable mention.