U.P. school gym hosts college basketball

In two seasons from 2012 to 2013, the Finlandia Lions basketball team won a total of 10 games. Last season in Coach Mike O’Donnell’s first season, the Lions topped that mark going 12-13, including 7-1 at home.

This year, Finlandia is ready to make some more noise in Division 3 basketball.

The Lions bring back nine players from last year’s squad and that won the final two games of the season. And the team knows that there were a lot of positives that can be taken from their success.

“We came together as a team last year. We had a lot of new faces, mine being one of them and a lot of new parts. We really seemed to put things together and start playing as a team towards the second half of the season,” O’Donnell said.

“We were just one game short of a winning record so that was a good success and I think that was attributed to Coach O’Donnell coming in here and recruiting a bunch of good athletes and kids that make good chemistry off the first year,” said LaPlant.

Finlandia kicks off their season tonight against Northern Michigan in the Negaunee High School gym. For the players, it serves as a good measuring stick and for Coach O’Donnell, it will be a reunion of sorts as he returns to his old stomping grounds where he accumulated several accolades coaching the Miners for eight years.

“It’s special. I’m excited to go back and see some familiar faces. Obviously a special place to me and a lot of great memories. To be able to go back and to bring our university team down there is going to be a neat thing for me and I think just a neat experience for our players as well,” said O’Donnell.

“To me I believe that determines our season…how well we play against these teams because these are the teams that we want to compete against so when we play the teams that are less talented and not as…big schools, then we play better against them,” Robinette said.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the Lakeview Gym in Negaunee. Admission is $5 for adults, three for students and children 5 and under are free.