Survive and advance, that’s what the Calumet Girls Basketball team did Monday night to punch their ticket to the state semifinals.

The Copper Kings found themselves fighting for their season down 12 in the 3rd quarter against undefeated Maple City Glen Lake. That’s when Calumet head coach, Matt Laho, called a timeout.

“From there on out I just told them they had to play tough defense, limit them to one-and-done, then have good offensive possessions to get yourself back into it. They took care of business from there,” said Laho.

Thanks to some outstanding senior leadership, the Copper Kings were able to regroup and began chipping away at the deficit. After tying the game late in the third quarter, Calumet was able to take momentum into the final frame.

When the final buzzer sounded, it was Calumet who would edge the Lakers, 73-69. This wasn’t the first time Calumet has had their back to the wall this season.

“We’ve had three of our four games now where we’ve gotten down and have had to fight our way back,” said Laho.

Laho said experience is a big reason why the Copper Kings are still playing.

“You know, all that helps and they’re able to draw off of knowing from before that they can do it. It worked out,” said Laho.

Calumet’s road to a state title only gets more difficult. The will head to the Breslin Center in East Lansing Wednesday where they will face undefeated Kent City (20-0).

“I think the big thing for us is they know that they like to push the ball. They got some good shooters outside. You know, this time of year you got to make sure you play good defense and make sure there are no uncontested shots and you can’t give up easy layups,” said Laho.

Laho says he’s been having a lot of fun coaching this group who will go down as one of the best in program history no matter the outcome of the remainder of the state tournament.

“This is a hard working group, so it makes my job easier. They really soak up everything we go over in practice. They’re very detail-oriented so when we’re harping on the details, they’re making sure we’re executing what we’re going over in our gameplan.”

Calumet tips off with Kent City tomorrow at 12:30 pm ET at the Breslin Center. The winner will advance to the division 3 state title game Friday at 3pm ET.

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