CALUMET, Mich. (WJMN) – The Calumet Copper Kings have big goals in mind this season and so far they’re meeting their own high expectations.
“We’ve had a few games where there was some, you know, where we built some leads and we lost some early on,” said Matt Laho, the Head Coach for Calumet. “But I think a little bit of that is just getting back into the routine. So far we’re progressing well I think at this point we are where we want to be we just have to keep working and getting better every day.”
With wins over Marquette, Westwood, and most recently Houghton, the Copper Kings seem to be firing on all cylinders.
“I think every week we’ve gotten better and then especially this last week I feel like we’ve taken some huge steps that we needed to,” said Laho. “So, I’d put us right where we needed to be or even slightly ahead of where I thought we would be at this time.”
“I’m feeling really good,” said Jana Loukus, a senior point guard for Calumet. “We still have a lot of young players and we still have a lot of room to develop and get better as the season goes on. We have improved as we’ve gone on but there is a lot of improvements we can still make.”
The Copper Kings play style is hard to defend. They’re at their best pushing the pace and creating chaos.
“These girls do a great job,” said Laho. “They get the ball up the court very quickly and they’re able to play off each other pretty well. Defensively, we do a great job of pressuring the other team and getting them to create turnovers and then scoring off of those turnovers.”
“Everyone is always trying to beat us and stuff like that,” said Loukus. “So, we just use that as motivation. They’re always just a little bit cocky, so, then we’re like we’re going to go attack this team and show them that we’re going to win.”
And if one player is having an off night, they have another player ready to pick up the slack.
“Really, scoring-wise, it’s spread out,” said Laho. “Every game can be a little bit different. Marybeth Halonen, she’s one that we rely on to score. Jana Loukus, Laina Karaniemi, Alexis strom. Any game can be somebody different.”
And while stacking wins is nice, Calumet is more focused on getting better for when the real fun starts.
“We want to be undefeated and go all the way down,” said Loukus. “That’s one of our biggest goals. We want to go back to where we were last year and keep going into the next game.”
“For the most part, we use our mid-season games as our work to get ready for the postseason,” said Laho. “Win-loss record, scoring points, those things don’t matter as much as use as just getting better and improving on the things we need to for the postseason. I think the biggest thing when we talked about goals at the beginning of the year is they just want to be at their best at the end of the year. So, you know, whether that means winning districts and moving on beyond that, as the season progresses those things will change. Right now, their biggest goal is meeting their expectations as far as playing their best.”