GARDEN CORNERS - Four years and three coaches later, Big Bay de Noc's senior class got its first taste of postseason success, as they outlasted Rapid River, 63-50, in Wednesday night's regional semifinal at Big Bay de Noc.
The Black Bears advance to the district final in which they will take on Munising (19-3), which defeated Grand Marais 79-24 on Wednesday.
BBdN has lost to Munising twice already this season. The two schools played a close game for three quarters in Munising before the Mustangs prevailed 73-54. BBdN also lost at home, 64-62.
"Munising's a tough team, they've been tough all year," said BBdN first year head coach Angie LaLonde. "We played two pretty good games against them and the boys tell me that we play to the caliber of the team we're playing against, so I'm hoping we can turn it up that extra notch."
Junior center Ben Stasewich led Munising with 17 points in Wednesday's win over Grand Marais. All 12 players saw the floor for the Mustangs and all 12 players scored as they held the Polar Bears to seven second half points.
"We're happy to get the win, we were a little sluggish at the start but I thought for the last 3 quarters we played with pretty good energy," said Munising head coach Dan Waterman. "It was nice again to get everyone in the game and get out without an injury. We're going to have a lot tougher test on Friday."
Munising 79, Grand Marais 24
Munising 26 19 21 13 - 79
Grand Marais 7 10 0 7 - 24
Munising - Nebel 4, Immel 1, Kelto 11, Cooper 4, Cercone 2, Blank 14, Ackerman 3, Johnson 5, Hill 9, Stasewich 17, Tweedale 3, Lindbeck 6; FT: 10-32; F: 11; Fouled out: None
Grand Marais - Harbaum 5, Rauff 5, Woodruff 2, Kinlaw 8, Stachnik 4; FT: 2-7; F: 19; Fouled out: None.
Wednesday's U.P. district scores
Traverse City West 77, Sault Ste. Marie 57
Alpena 55, Traverse City Central 36
Menominee 50, Kingsford 42
Escanaba 60, Gladstone 48
Ishpeming 78, Westwood 44
Negaunee 64, Gwinn 51
St. Ignace 59, Harbor Springs 56
Indian River Inland Lakes 61, Newberry 59 (OT)
Ironwood 52, Calumet 26
Norway 39, Iron Mountain 32
Munising 79, Grand Marais 24
Big Bay de Noc 63, Rapid River 50
Wakefield-Marenisco 41, Ewen-Trout Creek 35
Forest Park 73, Watersmeet 45
Lake Linden-Hubbell 75, Baraga 32
Jeffers 47, Dollar Bay 27
Carney-Nadeau 72, Bark River-Harris 60
North Central 74, North Dickinson 63
Brimley 54, DeTour 43
Cedarville 94, Pickford 62
Waterman said the Mustangs key to victory will be keeping BBdN senior Cole Potvin, who scored 25 points in their last match-up, in check.
"Big Bay has size but it all starts with Potvin, he is a heck of an athlete, a heck of a player," Waterman said. "He'll be a focus."
Potvin, who has been on varsity since his freshman year, did everything he could down the stretch to snub Rapid River's shot at a comeback against BBdN. Potvin dropped eight of his game high 25 points in the fourth, while staying active on defense and creating shots for his teammates.
"Cole's just such a smart player on the floor," LaLonde said. "He's sees everybody, where they're on the floor. He's the one you want the ball to be in his hands at the end of the game and I was pretty proud of him tonight."