Last of the survivors: Negaunee Miners, Newberry Indians boys basketball teams still chasing hopes of a state championship

Negaunee’s Trent Bell, front left, takes the ball to the hoop past the Iron Mountain defense on Feb. 28 at Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in Negaunee. The teams would meet up for a third time this season if both win regional semifinal games tonight in Escanaba. (Journal photo by Jess Makela)

More inside: Preview of tonight’s games in Negaunee. Page 3B

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MARQUETTE — The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of tournament action on high school basketball courts, and to a lesser extent, hockey rinks.

Now we’re down to two area boys teams left to begin MHSAA regional tournament play, one late this afternoon and the other tonight, both in Delta County.

In addition, Negaunee’s Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium will host a total of four boys and girls games over the next three nights for elite Upper Peninsula teams.

The two area boys teams still playing are in the Class C regional semifinals, Newberry (14-8) and Negaunee (18-4).

At Escanaba High School, the Indians face Iron Mountain (19-3) at 5:30 p.m. while the Miners take on Calumet (16-6) at 7:30 p.m. Winners return for the regional championship game at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

This and other regional champions then get six days off before quarterfinals are played on Tuesday, March 21. With two wins this week, the regional winner advances to a game to be played in Petoskey.

Negaunee is hosting a Class D boys regional tonight and Wednesday along with a Class D girls quarterfinal on Tuesday.

Tonight, the 23-0 North Central boys put their 77-game winning streak — the longest current streak in the country — on the line against Dollar Bay (19-4) at 8 p.m. That’s comes after a matchup pitting Rapid River (10-12) and Ewen-Trout Creek (13-8) at 6 p.m.

Tonight’s winners return to Negaunee at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

North Central — or whoever can pull off the stunning upset of the Jets — would advance to a quarterfinal on March 21 in Escanaba, though there’s a possibility it may be moved east if the winner of the St. Ignace regional is a Lower Peninsula team.

St. Ignace features the U.P.’s Cedarville (16-6) vs. the L.P.’s Hillman (22-1) and the U.P.’s Engadine (12-10) vs. the L.P.’s Pellston (16-6) today.

In between at 7 p.m. Tuesday, a girls Class D quarterfinal comes to the Lakeview gym pitting Forest Park (20-4) vs. Engadine (18-5), with the winner advancing to a semifinal to be played at Michigan State University at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The other half of the semifinal will be either Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (19-5) or Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary (13-9).

The MHSAA’s website says that tickets to regional games — the boys games this week — are $5 per person, while quarterfinals — the girls game on Tuesday — costs $6 to be admitted.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.