Copper Kings find an even higher gear, rout Bulldogs

CALUMET – Because of a successful volleyball tournament run, the Calumet Copper Kings started girls’ basketball practice more than a week later than most of the rest of the teams in the U.P.

They’ve caught up.

They showed just how well they’re catching on by running past Hancock 63-33 in their first WestPAC home game of the year Tuesday.

Calumet coach Don Hill said, in Monday’s practice, his team (which includes four volleyball players) finally looked like it had the jump back in its step.

“We’re making some mental mistakes and some times our body’s going a little faster than our brain, but we’re catching up on that and physically we’re starting to get our basketball legs back and that’s a good sign,” he said.

Calumet had a lot of good signs Tuesday, starting with a 14-0 run to start the game.

Several of those points came from juniors (and volleyball players) Terilynne Budreau and Lexie Rowe. After Tristan Baranowski opened the scoring with a triple on the first possession, Budreau had five points and Rowe four over the next four-plus minutes.

Sophomore Clara Loukus tacked on one more bucket before the Bulldogs finally got on the board when Carolyn Parker found a seam on an inbounds play for an easy two 6:08 into the game.

“We talked about getting off to a fast start and playing with a lot of energy. We’re still making plenty of mistakes, but we played with a lot of energy tonight and I was really happy with the effort. Even though it’s not where it needs to be and it’s not where it’s gonna be, the effort was there, and I’m really happy with that,” Hill said.

Just like Calumet, Hancock started its season 3-0, and just like Calumet, Hancock is getting nearly all its contribution from non-seniors now that forward Taylor Mattson is sidelined with a shoulder injury. However, the Bulldogs are a significantly smaller bunch and the combination of size and athleticism the hosts featured was too much to handle.

“They outplayed us in every facet of the game. We didn’t respond with heart to what they could provide with ability,” Hancock coach Jack Johnson said.

The Bulldogs’ most encouraging stretch probably came early in the second quarter. Sophomore guard Molly Berg scored all six of her points in a 1:21 span as Hancock trimmed its deficit to 23-11, but Calumet finished the half on a 13-3 spurt.

After a play in which the Kings whipped the ball around the backcourt culminating in a deep Loukus trey as the first half expired, the hosts led 36-14 and had this one all but bagged.

“We were able to kind of get off the gas enough that we didn’t keep fouling, yet keep the tempo up and still create some opportunities to get a nice run in the second quarter,” Hill said.

Rowe finished with 14 points (in addition to six assists and seven boards) to lead all scorers. Katie Djerf came off the bench with 10.

Quincy Lorenzetti led the Bulldogs with seven points. Hancock (3-1, 1-1 WestPAC) is done for 2013 and will resume Jan. 3 with a home game vs. Dollar Bay.

Calumet (4-0, 2-0 WestPAC) has one more contest before break, Friday at Jeffers.