A night to remember
It happened so long ago that state historians apparently forgot it, or were never appraised of it.
In January of 1957, the Calumet High School basketball team scored 43 points in one quarter in a game against Ironwood. It was a mark that has never been equaled locally in all the seasons since.
Contrary to popular belief, that era of local hoops ranked among the best ever. Scoring was much higher (15 to 20 points) than it is today, and most teams had three or four players who averaged in double figures.
Interest in the historic quarter came up because of a 42-point quarter Lake Linden-Hubbell achieved against Chassell in a Class D district tourney contest earlier this month.
According to record books compiled by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the output by the Lakes was a state record for a postseason game.
And the LL-H point exposion put it among the top three scoring quarters in the state. But Calumet’s 43-point explosion was nowhere to be found in the MHSAA annals.
Some members of that CHS team were surprised their record wasn’t listed … and so was I.
Albert Koskela, a member of the 1957 team, asked me just last year at a football game if I had ever done a story on the game. I told him I had in “C.C. Inside Sports,” a publication I put out more than a decade ago.
The game itself was one of the most unique ones ever played in the Copper Country. Ironwood, an Upper Peninsula power that season, stormed to a quick lead and went up by a 66-40 margin after the first three periods behind its 6-foot-5 star center Don Jakeway.
“He (Jakeway) was a very good player and he was on that night,” recalled Jay Rowe, a member of the Copper Kings. “But he ran into foul problems in the second half and fouled out at the end of the third quarter. We came out pressing and fast-breaking to begin the fourth quarter.”
With Rowe showing the way offensively and Koskela and Wayne Sickler controlling the boards, the Blue and Grey outscored the Red Devils by a 43-12 margin in the final stanza for an eventual 83-78 win.
Northend historian Bob Erkkila of Calumet was present at the game, and almost left after three quarters.
“My buddy and I were right near the exit at the end of the third quarter, but we decided to stay,” Erkkila recalled. “And when Calumet kept scoring and scoring, we stayed. We nearly didn’t see history made.”
One of the most unusual aspects of the big quarter was that CHS didn’t score until there were seven minutes left.
By the time all the tabulating was done that night at the Washington School Gym, Rowe had scored a game-high 36 points – 22 coming in the final eight minutes. Jakeway led Ironwood with 25 points.
Rowe said that people still ask him about the game to this day.
“You wouldn’t think it would attract much attention after all these years … but someone comes up every now and then and asks me about it,” he said. “It’s kind of amazing.”
For the record, Engadine High holds the state record for most points in a quarter with 48 in a 1966 game versus Grand Marais. Engadine won the game, 154-51.
But only Engadine and Saginaw Holy Rosary, with 46 points in a 1963 game, scored more than Calumet did on that long ago winter night in 1957.