MARQUETTE – The goal of the U.P. All-Star Classic basketball game is to raise funds for scholarships for Upper Peninsula high school athletes. Saturday two of the most recent scholarship recipients will be on hand to personally say thank you when they participate in the 33rd annual Classic at Marquette High School.
Clara Johnson of Negaunee will play for the North girls in the opening game at 12 noon while Jake Witt of Ewen-Trout Creek will play for the North boys in the finale at 2 p.m. Both players have also received scholarships to play basketball at Michigan Tech University. They are among 13 girls and nine boys who plan to play college sports this fall.
Also receiving UPSHF scholarships this year were Luke Rambo of Marquette and Laura Lyons of Lake Linden-Hubbell. They each receive $500 for each of the next four years from the scholarship program that began in 1997.
The day begins at 9 a.m. for a breakfast brunch at Marquette High School for all players. It is also open to the public. At 11 a.m., athletes will compete in various skills contests (free throw and 3-point shooting for girls and 3-point shooting and slam dunk for the boys).
Witt and Linnie Gustafson of St. Ignace will make their final prep appearances after being selected the first Mr. Basketball and Miss Basketball by the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. Gustafson, who headlines the South girls team, will play basketball at Northwood Institute.
Milly Allen, who led Chassell to the Class D state championship game, joins Johnson on the North girls. Allen will play at Calvin College. Other future college players on the North girls are Sydney Danison of Chassell and Mackenzie Kalchik of Sault Ste. Marie, who will play at Lake Superior State, Madigan Johns of Ishpeming who will play at Northern Michigan, Mariah Austin of Ishpeming who will play at Lakeland, Wis. College, Natalie Bartle of Negaunee who will play at Colorado Mesa College and Taylor Opolka of Pickford, who will play at Grand Rapids Davenport University.
Five members of the South girls will play at Bay de Noc Community College in Escanaba, Taylor Hunter of Gladstone, Tierra Taylor of Gwinn, Brooke Dalgord of Big Bay de Noc, and Keisha Davis of St. Ignace.
Witt will be joined by three college prospects on the North boys. Hart Holmgren of Ishpeming will play at NMU, Devin Schmitz of Dollar Bay will play at Tech and Brandon Paul of Sault Ste. Marie will play at Grand Valley.
The South college prospects include Brad Spindler of Gladstone at Lake Superior and three future Bay College cagers, Logan Hardwick of Rapid River, Ryan Robinette of Escanaba and Ryan Arndt of Bark River-Harris. Also headed to college will be Terry Brower of Mid Peninsula, who will be on the Grand Valley track team.
The two girls coaches have appeared at the Classic before. Dorene Ingalls of St. Ignace has directed the South girls several times while North coach Brandi (Brancheau) Hainault of Chassell represented Republic-Michigamme as a player in 1999.
The two boys coaches will make their Classic debuts, Jesse Kentala of Dollar Bay for North and Richard Poma of Rapid River for South.
South, Ryan Robinette, Escanaba; Brad Spindler, Gladstone; Steve Nelson, West Iron; Connor Ortman, Norway; Ryan Arndt, BR-H; Preston Lauscher, Carney; Terry Brower, Mid Pen; Lucas Dombrowski, North Central; Logan Hardwick, Rapid River; Jacob Kleiman, Carney. Coaches Richard Poma and Chris Mattson
North: Brandon Paul, Sault; Devin Schmitz, Dollar Bay; Jake Witt, E-TC; Jaden Janke, Dollar Bay; Jacob Suzik, Wakefield; Joe Heinonen, Superior Central; Alec Blank, Munising; Cade Contreras, Munising; Hart Holmgren, Ishpeming. Coach Jesse Kentala
North: Missy Allen, Chassell; Kara Pietila, Houghton; Sydney Danison, Chassell; Meg Hokenson, Chassell; Mackenzie Kalchik Sault Ste. Marie; Natalie Bartle, Negaunee; Clara Johnson, Negaunee; Madigan Johns, Ishpeming; Mariah Austin, Ishpeming; Kianne Wendt, Munising; Taylor Opolka, Pickford; Coach, Brandi Hainault, Chassell.
South: Taylor Hunter, Gladstone; Jordyn Kriegl, Kingsford; Tierra Taylor, Gwinn; Bethany Baldwin, Watersmeet; Brooke Dalgord, Big Bay de Noc; Megan Robinette, Bark River-Harris; JuliAnn Wickman, North Dickinson; Linnie Gustafson, St. Ignace; Keisha Davis, St. Ignace; Stasha Warchock, Marquette. Coach, Dorene Ingalls, St. Ignace.
By: Dennis Grall