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Speedboys outrace Panthers for PMC title

BESSEMER - This group of Bessemer seniors made one more lasting memory in their final game at the House of Noise.

They won the final Porcupine Mountain Conference title by dominating Ewen-Trout Creek 85-57 Thursday night.

The PMC is merging with the Copper Country Conference next year. What a way for the final PMC championship to be decided, with a title game between 4-1 teams.

The Speedboys just took the drama out of it with a dominating performance.

"This was for our seniors, our last home game, and we just wanted to come out and give it our all," said Bessemer's Zack Mazurek, who led everyone with 31 points. "We really ran the floor well and played well together. I think it was one of our best games."

E-TC won the first meeting in Ewen in December and only stumbled at Wakefield-Marenisco in the PMC until falling here Thursday.

"They played well, we did not," E-TC coach Brad Besonen said. "They're more skilled than us, though. They've got some kids who have played a lot of varsity games. That senior group has done a lot of good things for Bessemer the last four years. We talked to the guys and said, 'Those guys aren't going to let you take it lightly on their senior night.'"

E-TC is a team that likes to run, but even the Panthers couldn't keep up with the intense speed the Speedboys were working - and working efficiently at.

"Mazurek was running like the track star that he is," Besonen said. "He had the jets on in the first quarter and we could not get back. We haven't played anybody that's run like that since the Carney game and Carney didn't run like this. They really put some serious stress on us in the first half and then competed for all the loose balls, rebounds, offensive glass. I don't know how many they had in the first half just with desire and quickness to the basketball. They certainly earned it tonight."

Bessemer won't turn down an opportunity to run the floor.

"When we play (E-TC), it's always a fun game," Bessemer coach Jim Partanen said. "It's basketball. It's not grind-it-out, it's not dirty. it's not physical, it's good run it up and down the floor basketball.

"When we played them down there, they shot the lights out in the first half. We come here and we shot the lights out in the first half and really the whole game."

The Speedboys were off for 13 days, but there didn't seem to be any rust Thursday night.

Bessemer led by as many as 16 points, 35-19, in the first half. E-TC got it down to a dozen, 39-27, at the half, but the Speedboys raced out to a 16-2 run to build the lead to 55-29. They scored on the break, Mazurek and Lance Berwald hit 3s and the Speedboys never let E-TC get a rally together.

"We were ready," Partanen said. "We were worried about the long layoff. We were worried about focus. We were worried about Ewen coming. They beat us the first time. Ewen-Bessemer is always a big rivalry game. We said three things we had to do, we had to shoot better than we did down there, limit our turnovers and we had to rebound. I think we did all three pretty well."

Mazurek hit four 3-pointers in his career night.

"Zack last year was mostly just a shooter," Partanen said. "This year, he's a scorer. He can take the ball to the basket, he can shoot the 3, good free throw shooter. Offensively, he is a complete player now. He complements the other guys well. Lance (Berwald) and Jess (Mazzon) are slashers. We have (Josh) Tomes, who is the inside presence. Zack, he's a scorer, he really is."

Berwald and Mazzon both had 16 points for the Speedboys. Andrew Peterson scored 10.

Alan Goll and Jack Boro both scored nine points to lead E-TC.

The PMC is merging with the CCC into the Copper Mountain Conference next year, so Bessemer was happy to win the PMC this year.

"We really did have that goal this year," Partanen said. "The kids are really proud of that. It's a big event for us."

Bessemer (14-6, 5-1) plays Republic-Michigamme Monday in the first round of the MHSAA Class D District 127 tournament at Wakefield. E-TC (9-11, 4-2) got a first-round bye and waits for the winner of that Bessemer/Republic game.

E-TC - Austin Berglund 4, Alan Goll 9, Tanner Driesenga 2, Landon Maki 9, Jacob Witt 4, John Berglund 3, Jacob Moilanen 7, Jack Boro 9. FTs: 9-15. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: Goll 3, Maki 3, J. Berglund 1, Moilanen 1.

Bessemer - Max Samardich 2, Andrew Peterson 10, Jess Mazzon 16, Andrew Metas 2, Lance Berwald 16, Zack Mazurek 31, Josh Tomes 6, Hunter Reed 2. FTs: 14-19. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: Mazurek 4, Peterson 2, Berwald 1.

E-TC 18 27 31 57

Bessemer 25 39 65 85

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