HOUGHTON — Tuesday night’s MHSSA Division 4 Region 25 semifinal game between the Chassell Panthers and the Bessemer Speedboys was the tale of two teams.
On one end of the court were the Speedboys, who had the hot hand, and at other the Panthers couldn’t buy a basket. The Speedboys pushed out to an early lead and shot their way to a 69-55 and a trip to the regional finals against Negaunee on Thursday.
“I think the epitome of this game was a third-quarter shot by Daba (Holmes) that swirled around the rim once or twice and then fell to the floor,” said Chassell head coach Raphael Soumis. “It was just one of those nights.”
While the box score showed a 14-point victory, the story on the court told another.
“Our games are always a battle,” said Bessemer head coach Richard Matrella. “Chassell is a great team, and they always give it their all.”
While the Speedboys were up 33-20 at halftime, Matrella was hardly resting on his laurels.
“I told the kids, the score is 0-0,” he said. “We have to continue to play our game because Chassell is going to come out strong in the third with pressure and trying to get turnovers.”
He was right. The Panthers upped their defense with a full-court press and did get a couple of turnovers. That resulted in shrinking the Speedboys’ lead to seven with 3:30 to go in the third. However, for every bucket the Panthers would sink, they would miss the next one. That frustration continued into the fourth even as Chassell came within four at 50-46 midway through the final period. The Speedboys didn’t let up.
“It was just one of those nights,” Soumis said. “We were not on our game.”
He added that one of the big problems was his team’s poor rebounding. Bessemer was getting two and three second chances off the boards while Chassell was one and done.
“We talk about the importance of rebounding a lot,” Matrella said. “I preach that you need to be around the basket once a shot goes up. I thought Lane (Kortemeier) had a great night on the boards.”
He also had 15 points — one of three Speedboys in double figures. Jack Matrella led with 21 points, and Peyton Solberg scored 13.
For the Panthers, Karl Rautiola poured in 25 points.
Mantrella knows that his team has their work cut out against Neguanee in the regional final against Negaunee.
“We’ve finally found a good fit as a team here at the end of the season,” Matrella said. “We are certainly good to need the pieces of the puzzle to come together against Negaunee.”
BHS 21 12 12 24 — 69
CHS 13 9 14 19 — 55
BESSEMER (69): Nyquist 7, Baross 3, Fingeroos 6, Matrella 21, Solberg 13, Kortemeier 15, Ormes 2, Church 2. 3-point FG: Nyquist 1, Matrella 4, Solberg 1, Kortemeier 1. FT. 16-24. F: 12.
CHASSELL (55): K. Rautiola 25, Pietila 8, Holmes 4, Kilpela 6, T, Rautiola 5, Kytta 4, Danison 3. 3-point FG: K. Rautiola 4, Danison 1, Kytta 1, T Rautiola 1. FT. 6-9. F: 13.