Calumet wins school’s first state title as it upsets Flint Hamady 57-49 in Class C final
East Lansing – Calumet seemingly got every rebound in the final minutes against Flint Hamady.
Certainly Calumet got the important ones.
Unranked Calumet upset No. 5-ranked Flint Hamady, 57-49, to win the Class C title on Saturday at the Breslin Center.
For Calumet (24-2), located in the copper country in the Upper Peninsula, it’s the school’s first state title.
Calumet had never played in a state final before Saturday.
Coupled with St. Ignace LaSalle’s victory earlier Saturday in the Class D title game, for the first time in the 421-year history of the tournament two teams from the U.P. won state titles.
Alexis Rowe led Calumet with 22 points and seven rebounds, and Clara Loukus, the point guard and leader of the team, had 10 points, four rebounds and two steals.
Although they didn’t score much, interior players Ellen Twardzik and Terilynne Budreau were instrumental in allowing the Copper Kings second and third chances on the offensive end.
Twardzik had eight points and 11 rebounds, and Budreau had four points and 12 rebounds. The two teamed for 12 offensive rebounds, one more than Hamady.
Calumet held a 42-29 edge in rebounds and had more on the offensive end (22) than it did on defense.
“It’s that mentality of I’m going to get it,” Twardzik said. “And that you’re not going to stop me.”
It’s been a remarkable run for Calumet. It’s week started on Monday with an 8 a.m. pep rally then an hour later the team was on the bus for Tuesday’s quarterfinal. On Sunday they’ll make it back home, after a stop near the Mackinaw Bridge.
After the first quarter it looked like it would be an even longer trip.
Hamady (26-2) led 14-8 and had the game under control.
“We felt good about ourselves,” Hamady coach Keith Smith said. “What bothered me was we wanted to get more contact when we went to the basket.
“In the second half we got away from running our offense. In the first half we were getting open shots.”
Rowe’s 3-pointer just before halftime tied the score at 27-27.
Twardzik scored the first four points of the second half before Hamady took a 34-33 lead on Jalisha Terry’s 3-point play with 2:50 left.
The Copper Kings regained the lead, 35-34, 25 seconds later on Rowe’s two free throws and Hamady never got it back.
Calumet was 16-for-23 (69.6 percent) from the line in the fourth quarter and even when it missed the Copper Kings made it work.
Hamady had a couple of chance to cut into Calumet’s lead. Sasha Penn’s two free throws brought Hamady to within 47-44 with 1:52 left but quickly Calumet’s superiority underneath the basket proved pivotal.
Abby Bjorn made one free throw then missed the second with 1:45 left and Budreau got the rebound. Loukus was fouled four seconds later and she did the same, made the first and missed the second and again Calumet got the rebound. This time Twardzik got it and this led to Rowe being fouled with 1:33 left. Rowe made both free throws and Calumet led 51-44.
“We came in here hoping to keep them off the offensive glass,” Smith said. “With their size they were able to push us away.”
Terry led Hamady with 26 points and Aaliah Hill added nine points and 12 rebounds.
“This had more to do with their heart and minds,” Calumet coach and Twardzik’s father, Jeff Twardzik said. “It’s about me and you. I’ll work hard for you and I know you’ll work hard for me.”
It’s a code to live and win by.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For highlights from this game, tune into the State Champs! HS Sports Show Sunday at 9:00 AM on Fox Sports Detroit