The high school boys’ basketball season is over for teams here in the Upper Peninsula.
ABC 10 Sports Director Jerry Taylor looks back at an exciting postseason run for two U.P. teams who came a couple of wins shy of winning it all.
Like every sport, basketball is a game of emotion. At the end of the day, someone is going to win, and that means someone has to lose.
The Negaunee Miners made a valiant run back to the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Thursday for the second time in two years, but they fell to Detroit Consortium, 69-54. The Negaunee class of 2014 won four straight district and regional championships.
“They really set the bar high for what we’re going to try to do in the future here,” Miners head coach Mike O’Donnell said. “We told the other guys, too, that Josh Jackson’s not going away. Detroit Consortium’s not going away, and these other schools. We’ve got a level to strive for that we need to get to in these off-seasons.”
“Seniors, we’ll always remember this,” Negaunee guard Tyler Jandron said. “Every one of us. We’ll go back 30 years and remember this game. We played together, and we’re out on the court together, off the court together. I’m really going to miss these guys, and whatever they do in college, I’m going to fully be there for them.”
“We’re going to be friends; we’re all going to talk,” Miners guard Eric Lori said. “Quarterfinals four years in a row? I don’t know if that’s happened up in the U.P. (Going to the) Breslin (Center) two years…it’s a great feeling and I don’t think I can really sum it up.”
For Negaunee to make back-to-back runs to the state semifinals is impressive, considering the amount of games you have to play in a short amount of time. O’Donnell talked about the grind factor that comes with tournament time.
“Once you get to the tournament, to prepare, to focus, these quick turnarounds, the district to the regionals, you’re playing four games in seven days,” he said. “Just to get out of our district is, a lot of times, the toughest thing. It’s a testament to our guys and the amount of time they put in and are willing to prepare and just go out and execute.”
Negaunee finished the season 24–2.
The North Central Jets lived by the meaning of ‘March Madness’. The Jets played back-to-back overtime games in the regionals to make it back to the state quarterfinals, but they came up just one basket short against Cedarville on Tuesday, which ended their season.
North Central head coach Adam Mercier said that this senior class has left a foundation for the next group of Jets to build on. “Our seniors have done a great job,” Mercier said. “I think our record is about 66–11 when they’ve been here since sophomores, so they’ve done a great job for our program. All the seniors have done that. They’ve left big shoes to fill for these underclassmen, and I know they’re going to get back to work in about a week or two in hopes of getting back here again next year.”
North Central finished the season 25–1.
With the winter sports seasons now behind us, let’s look ahead to what the spring has in store. The NMU football team began spring practice on Tuesday, but due to a problem with the turf in the Superior Dome, the Wildcats had to practice outside.
Wildcats head coach Chris Ostrowsky talked about what the team wants to accomplish during their 15 scheduled spring sessions. “I think what we’ve got to do is understand the pace and the energy it takes to win championships, and I think we can establish that in these 15 practices,” Ostrowsky said. “There are a lot of special players that have played a lot of minutes in this program now. We’re young, but we’re not inexperienced, and that’s an exciting thing to have.”
NMU has since returned to the dome, where their spring season ends with the playing of the spring football game on Saturday, April 12th.
ABC 10 Sports has learned that former Marquette Senior High School golfer Avery Rochester has accepted a sponsor exception to play in the LPGA Symetra Tour Island Resort Championship this summer at the Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris.
Rochester is a freshman at Columbia College in Missouri. She is the two-time defending Upper Peninsula Ladies Golf Association champion. Rochester and the Cougars begin their spring golf season next week.
The Island Resort Championship takes place June 27th through the 29th.