MARQUETTE - Ben Smith led his Marquette Senior High School girls basketball team to a 17-3 regular season record with a combination of experienced and non-experienced players.
The Redettes' coach had five seniors and five sophomores to work with, as well as just four returning players.
But MSHS still turned in a banner season and claimed the Great Northern Conference crown with an 8-0 record.
MSHS head coach Ben Smith
Smith was rewarded for his efforts by being named the Class ABC Coach of the Year by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association at a meeting Wednesday at Northern Michigan University.
Smith picked up 21 UPSSA votes to two for Mike Cross of Kingsford. It's Smith's first such association honor.
Cross led the Flivvers to a 16-4 overall record and a 6-2 GNC mark, their only two league losses coming to Marquette (48-41 and 75-63).
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In Class D, Dorene Ingalls of state Class D champion St. Ignace picked up the UPSSA Coach of the Year nod with 19 votes. Superior Central's Greg Trowbridge and Forest Park's Jeff Syrjanen collected two votes apiece.
It's Ingalls' fourth such honor, the other three coming in Class ABC.
With assistance from her husband, Doug, she guided the Saints to a 20-0 regular season record en route to a 27-0 overall mark.
St. Ignace captured the Straits Area Conference title with a 10-0 record.
Trowbridge coached Superior Central to a 20-0 regular season record, including wins over such top teams as Ishpeming (45-37 and 62-48) and Bark River-Harris (71-58).
The Cougars claimed the Central U.P. League title with a 14-0 record.
Syrjanen led the Trojans to a 19-1 record, the team's only loss coming to Class B Kingsford, 52-51.
The coach, now 143-37 overall in eight seasons at the helm, guided Forest Park to the Skyline Conference championship with a 12-0 mark.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is email@example.com.