Jets pull away from Panthers in third

CHASSELL – Bad third quarters had been a problem for the Jeffers High girls’ basketball team so far this season.

But that wasn’t the case Tuesday night as the Jets exploded in the third frame against the Chassell Panthers on the way to a 56-48 Copper Country Conference victory.

“We’ve really had our problems in the third quarter,” JHS coach Joe Romano said. “But we came out strong tonight and started playing much better.”

A 21-6 advantage in the third stanza gave the Green and White a 44-28 cushion going into the final eight minutes. That was enough to hold off a couple of rallies by coach Brandi Hainault’s Panthers in the closing period.

“We usually play better defense than that,” Hainault commented. “They (Jets) were beating us up the floor and they outrebounded because we didn’t box out properly.”

Senior guard Shelby Seppanen gave the Panthers fits all night with her hustling play.

“Shelby (Seppanen) is our quarterback.” Romano said. “That’s a good Chassell team and she was able to cause them a lot of problems.”

Seppanen, who notched 13 points, six steals and five assists, had plenty of assistance from freshman Alexa Clouthier and junior Haley Makela.

Clouthier led all scorers in the contest at Ed Helakoski Memorial Gym with 18 points, knocking down four triples.

Makela added 14 points and a whopping 22 rebounds.

“Alexa (Clouthier) had a good night, she’s a basketball player all the way,” Romano said. “Haley (Makela) and Lindsey Johnson really came through on the boards in the second half. That was huge … it saved the game for us.”

After a slow first quarter that saw CHS take an 8-6 lead, both teams loosened up in the second stanza.

Consecutive treys from Kirsten Daavettila, Julia Pietila, Macy Holombo and Sara Kilpela shot the Panthers into a 20-14 lead midway through the quarter.

“We were shooting a lot of threes in that quarter,” Hainault noted. “But Jeffers answered back and made some of their own out there. It’s something we have to work on.”

But the Jets roared back behind eight points from Clouthier to assume a slim 23-22 halftime lead.

That set the stage for the telltale third quarter for the Range crew, who improved to 3-5 overall and 1-1 in the league.

Chassell, now 3-6 on the year and 0-5 in league play, was paced by Daavettila with 15 points. Pietila nailed three triples for nine points, a total matched by Holombo.

The Jets host Baraga Friday evening in another league test. Chassell goes to Hancock the same night.