Great eight from Copper Country make All-U.P. team

MARQUETTE – The Copper Country was well-represented and odds are good it will continue to be in the 2012-13 All-U.P. boys’ basketball team.

Eight local players made the cut and four of them will be back for another season in December.

After Ewen-Trout Creek senior Dillon Gordon (see related story), the area got a player onto each of the All-U.P. first teams. In Class ABC, it was Hancock junior center Alex Almqust, and in D, it was Jeffers senior guard Troy Kinnunen.

Almquist, a 6-foot-7 center, patrolled the pain to the tune of 21.5 points and 11.6 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs this year as they pulled out of an 0-5 start to finish the regular season at the .500 mark.

Almquist scored 20 or more points in 10 games and had 30-plus twice, including a 33-point effort at Jeffers Jan. 14. He was named WestPAC most valuable player.

Kinnunen had 20 in that same contest for the Jets. In another 20-point game about a month later against Watersmeet, Kinnunen passed the 1,000-point mark for his career.

He finished with 1,088, putting him in second place behind Kyle Smith in the all-time JHS list.

The Copper Country Conference most valuable player, Kinnunen’s season high was 35 in a non-league game with Lake Linden-Hubbell and he had three games of 30 or more.

Three other local WestPAC players earned All-U.P. honors.

Houghton junior point guard Ryan LaBerge paced the Gremlins to a major improvement in 2012-13, including a share of the WestPAC title and a Class C regional final berth. He made the Class ABC Second Team on the strength of 14.1 points and 3.2 assists per game.

Calumet senior forward Paul Torola averaged 17.7 points and 5.5 rebounds as the focal point of the Copper King offense. He had eight games of 20 points or more.

L’Anse junior Jacob Ostermeyer put up 10.2 points and 7.3 rebounds a game and piloted his team to a successful second half after the loss of 2012 All-U.P. forward James Veker from the line-up.

In Class D, Mike Borseth played a capable second fiddle to Gordon, averaging 11.8 points and 3.3 steals a game. He made the D Second Team alongside Lake Linden-Hubbell sophomore Tyler Roose.

Roose spurred the Lakes’ improvement from a three-win team in 2011-12 to a 15-5 regular season record and perfect 10-0 CCC run.

He averaged 18.2 points and 5.2 rebounds, including two games of 30-plus and seven of 20 or more points.

Four local players received special mention, that is, at least two votes:?Trent Keteri of Houghton, Aaron Kaikko of Ontonagon, Alex Outinen of Jeffers and Josh Pietila of Chassell.

Receiving honorable mention were Cody Goodreau of Houghton and Carson Ryynanen of Chassell.