EAST LANSING – Clara Loukus had a vision.
Not one in which she made a three-pointer that gave Calumet (23-2) a 28-23 lead in the fourth quarter or her two free throws that ended the scoring in her team’s 30-26 Class C semifinal victory over Laingsburg (26-1) today at the Breslin Center.
No, it was her interception of a Laingsburg pass, the Wolfpack’s 22nd and final turnover of the game.
“As soon as I saw it leave that girl’s hands I knew I was going to get it,” said the junior guard, the only player to score in double figures with 10 points who chipped in five steals. “I could see it. I just had this vision that I was going to steal it away or something.”
On Laingsburg’s last two possessions, Calumet came up with steals in a defensive struggle on both sides.
“The one particular time-out we wanted Lindsey (Smith), being one of our best three-point shooters, come off the screen and do a hard cross-over back to her left and see if she could get an open three,” Laingsburg coach Doug Hurst said.
The other option was drive to the basket, which was a problem throughout the game when Calumet coach Jeff Twardzik decided to sit his daughter, Ellen, for 6-foot-2 junior Janie Torola. She was huge off the bench with nine points, seven rebounds and three blocked shot.
“She created problems because of her length,” Hurst said.
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep players console each other after the 50-46 loss in the Class C State Semifinal matchup with Flint Hamady Thursday, March 19, 2015 at the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University. Hamady won 50-46 and advances to the state final.
So did the 5-1 Loukus.
“She’s the heartbeat of our team,” Twardzik said. “She never quits. That three-pointer. … I could tell when it left her hands. On the free throws I turned to my assistant coach and said she’s going to make these because that’s the way she’s built.”
A turnover had given the Wolfpack possession and Hurst drew up the play with his team down 28-26.
What ensued was a botched play that resulted in a jump ball with the possession arrow in Calumet’s favor before Loukus’ final steal.
It was clear that the first team to score 30 points would win.
Torola, Calumet’s defensive pressure and five straight fourth-quarter points proved to be the difference for the Copper Kings.
Half of Laingsburg’s points came from freshman reserves Sophie Wilsey (eight) and Alexis Randall (five).
“I think they got tired,” Twardzik said.
Calumet shot 32.4% for the game while Laingsburg labored in the second half at 15% (3 of 20) and 26.7% for the game.
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.