Prep boys basketball: Zhulkie scores 20, Ishpeming clinches tie for second in Mid-Peninsula Conference

ISHPEMING – Ishpeming broke open a close game in the second half to take a 60-43 victory over visiting Westwood in high school boys basketball action on Monday night.

The Hematites, third-ranked among Class ABC teams in today’s Upper Peninsula poll, led just 29-24 at halftime before a change in defense allowed them to pull away.

“I thought Westwood played hard, and they beat us to spots and made it hard for us to cover them one-on-one,” Ishpeming coach Jeff Olson said. “But we played a lot better defense starting in the third quarter when we went to a zone. We’ve not done that all year, but we weren’t moving our feet well enough to cover them with a man-to-man.”

The Hematites extended their lead to 41-31 by the end of the third quarter to improve to 14-4 overall and 9-2 in the Mid-Peninsula Conference, locking up at least a tie for second place.

Bobby Zhulkie paced Ishpeming with 20 points, scoring in bunches on the inside, according to Olson, while fellow senior Alex Briones added 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Another senior, Derek DeCaire scored 11 points.

For Westwood (6-10, 4-7), sophomore Luke Gray scored 13 points while senior Luke Duquette pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.

The Hematites also won the JV game, 58-31.

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Big Bay de Noc 60,

Superior Central 55

At Eben, Big Bay de Noc kept raining in 3-pointers to keep the lead throughout.

The Black Bears (11-7, 6-6 Central U.P. Conference) made eight 3s, five by Tyler Demars, who led all scorers with 25 points, and two from Cole Potvin, who finished with 14.

SC (4-15, 0-10) countered with Jake Aho, who scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

“This was a typical Jake night, shooting over 50 percent from the field and getting between five and 10 boards,” Cougars coach Herb Jenkins said.

SC’s Nick Maki scored 11 points and joined Cody Maki as each made four steals and dished out four assists. Teammate Justyn Hill added seven rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots.

Big Bay jumped out to a 12-2 lead and held a 17-10 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Though Demars nailed three triples in the second quarter, the Cougars cut their deficit to 33-29 at halftime.

Aho had 10 of his points in the third quarter, but the Bears were able to extend their lead slightly to 48-42 after three quarters.