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Panthers surprise Speedboys


Pat Krause/Daily Globe photo

EWEN-TROUT Creek's Landon Maki goes over the top of Bessemer's Zack Mazurek as both reach for a ball going out-of-bounds in Friday night's game in Ewen.

EWEN - The undefeated Bessemer Speedboys didn't ask for a 78-65 thumping from Ewen-Trout Creek for Christmas, but they got one anyway in Porcupine Mountain Conference action on Friday.

E-TC coach Brad Besonen said it was "a fun game" to be a part of since the Speedboys and Panthers often present mirror images of each other.

'We like to play fast and Bessemer goes fast and gives all-out effort for 32 minutes," Besonen said. "Both of us play aggressive and we both play pressure defense and our games are to run and push it up the floor."

Both Besonen and Bessemer coach Jim Partanen agreed that shooting made the difference in the game.

"We shot the lights out in the first half," Besonen said. "We shot in streaks and had them on their heels in the first quarter. Bessemer had some poor shots. We got some nice leads, but they kept coming back.

"I think the turning point was (Lance) Berwald getting in foul trouble. He's been a thorn in our side for years and he only played 2 1/2 quarters. His going out was big and when you come back in after being out so long, it's hard. I was happy with everybody tonight. We made hustle plays and big shots and our guards handled their pressure very well. I think confidence-wise we have turned the corner."

Partanen stressed that the Speedboys got out of their game and it hurt them.

"E-TC played very well," Partanen said. "I saw them against Hurley and they were physical, but tonight I was surprised at how well they shot, especially in the first half. We didn't shoot well. We did not make smart decisions and started to settle for jump shots rather than aggressive drives to the basket.

"We made a couple runs and I think we got it down to four points and then they'd go on a run."

The Speedboys should have known what they were in for when E-TC's Landon Maki drained a 3 from the left wing early in the game and teammate Jacob Moilanen followed with a triple from the same spot seconds later.

Maki and Moilanen would each drill three 3s and Alan Goll splashed two and John Berglund had one 3-ball as the Panthers would rain down nine 3s in the contest.

E-TC built an 8-2 lead before Berwald hit a long 3 from in an inbound play and Max Samardich scored to make it 8-7.

But the Panthers got rolling and out-scored Bessemer 15-6 the rest of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Bessemer's DeAndre Price made a steal and scored from mid-court, but when freshman Jacob Witt drove the baseline and made a reverse layup, E-TC was up 36-19 with 5:02 left.

When Bessemer's Andrew Peterson nailed two 3-balls, the Speedboys pulled within 39-34 with 57.4 seconds remaining in the half.

The fast-paced game was sometimes too fast-paced and some late turnovers gave E-TC a 46-34 advantage at the half.

Bessemer made another run at E-TC in the third quarter behind a Peterson triple and Hunter Reed's offensive rebound put-back, but each time the Panthers responded.

Speedboy Zack Mazurek opened the fourth quarter with a score, but John Berglund drove the lane, got bumped as he went up and still rolled in a layup.

After Berwald went coast-to-coast for a lay-in and Mazurek pumped in four points, E-TC's Tanner Driesenga tossed in a jump shot from 15-feet to lead 72-59 with 2:35 remaining in the game.

Down the stretch, the Panthers went to a semi-stall and Bessemer was forced to foul.

E-TC had excellent, balanced scoring with four players in double figures. Berglund topped ETC's scoring with 16-points, while Moilanen added 14. Both Maki and Driesenga notched 13.

Despite his limited playing time, Berwald led Bessemer's scoring with 18-points. Mazurek and Peterson garnered 13.

E-TC won the junior varsity game 58-50.

After the Christmas break, the Speed Boys (2-1, 1-1 PMC) will travel to Mercer for a Jan. 5 Indianhead Conference game.

E-TC (2-2, 1-0 PMC) will host Carney Nadeau on Dec. 30 in a non-conference battle.

With Bessemer, E-TC, Watersmeet and Wakefield all featuring teams with good talent, both Partanen and Besonen are thinking the PMC could be a logjam this season.

"It could go right down to the wire in the PMC," Partanen said. "You have to win all your home games and steal one on the road."

Bessemer - DeAndre Price 6, Max Samardich 6, Andrew Peterson 13, Andrew Metas 1, Lance Berwald 18, Zack Mazurek 13, Hunter Reed 2, Josh Tomes 6. FTs: 14-26, Fouls: 24, Fouled out: Berwald, Price. 3-pointers: Peterson 3, Berwald 2..

E-TC - John Berglund 16, Jacob Moilanen 14, Tanner Driesenga 13, Landon Maki 13, Alan Goll 8, Jack Boro 6, Jacob Witt 8. FTs: 13-26, Fouls: 24, Fouled out: Maki, 3-pointers: Maki 3, Moilanen 3, Goll 2, Berglund 1.

Bessemer 13 34 38 65

E-TC 23 46 61 78


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