CALUMET — According to the latest U.S. Census, the Upper Peninsula accounts for just three percent of the entire population of the state of Michigan. However, this past weekend, the U.P. accounted for 50% of the girls high school basketball championships at the Breslin Center.
After being considered an underdog throughout the entire playoffs, the Calumet High School girls basketball team won their first ever Class C state championship is school history. The unranked Lady Copper Kings defeated fifth–ranked Flint Hamady by a score of 57 to 49. Calumet got a big lift from Alexi Rowe and her three point shooting. She made four out of seven shots and was also eight for 13 from the free throw line, leading the way with 22 points. The team did not shoot particularly well but a huge advantage at rebounding, including 22 offensive boards, allowed Calumet to play ball control and get second chances at points.
Before this season, the farthest the Copper Kings had got was the Class B quarterfinals in 1977. They finish the season 24–2.
“A couple shots started falling. You could see the confidence building. Lex was stroking a couple of beautiful shots from the outside and Ellen was taking care of the inside so I think we just settled down and started playing our game,” Twardzik said.
“I just believed in my team and I knew from the start that even when we got down and we weren’t in the lead, I knew my team was going to come back and that we were going to do this together and it wasn’t just going to be one person and it was going to be everyone trying to get the win,” Rowe said.
And it was a huge win for St. Ignace as they beat Pittsford 64–60. The Saints were down 20 in third quarter but showed poise and resilience to come back and win in overtime. Abbey Ostman had 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Saints to their fifth title in school history.