Republic-Michigamme Hawks girls, boys basketball team look to make progress following past struggles

The Republic-Michigamme Hawks girls basketball team is looking to continue to make improvements that began last season. In the front row from left are Allie Radcliffe, Olivia Jarvi, Alyson Saari and Rachel Kaminen. Top row from left, Kaitlin Ambuehl, Shawna DuMoulin, Tailyn Raisanen, head coach April Radcliffe, Alicia Ball, Nikki Wertanen and Leah Westman. (Photo courtesy April Radcliffe)

Republic-Michigamme boys

2017-18 schedule

All times Eastern

Dec. 4 — Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 7 — Ontonagon, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 11 — at Chassell, 7:20 p.m.

Dec. 14 — at Mid Peninsula, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 18 — Lake Linden-Hubbell, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 4 — at Bessemer, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 8 — at Jeffers, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 11 — Hannahville, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 19 — at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 23 — at Watersmeet, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 26 — Baraga, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 30 — Jeffers, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 1 — at Hannahville, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 2 — Chassell, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 6 — at Lake Linden-Hubbell, 7:20 p.m.

Feb. 9 — at Baraga, 7:20 p.m.

Feb. 16 — at Dollar Bay, 7:20 p.m.

Feb. 20 — North Dickinson, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 23 — Mid Peninsula, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 27 — Dollar Bay, 7:30 p.m.

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Republic-Michigamme girls

2017-18 schedule

All times Eastern

Nov. 28 — Lake Linden-Hubbell, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 1 — at Chassell, 7:20 p.m.

Dec. 5 — at North Dickinson, 8 p.m.

Dec. 8 — at Mid Peninsula, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 12 — Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 2 — Jeffers, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 5 — Mid Peninsula, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 9 — at Baraga, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 11 – Hannahville, 5 p.m.

Jan. 12 — at Dollar Bay, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 16 — Baraga, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 18 — Watersmeet, 6 p.m.

Jan. 22 — at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 25 — at Jeffers, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 29 — at Ontonagon, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 5 — Chassell, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 8 — Bessemer, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 12 — at Lake Linden-Hubbell, 7:20 p.m.

Feb. 15 — at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 19 — Dollar Bay, 7:30 p.m.

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REPUBLIC — If there’s one word to describe the Republic-Michigamme High School basketball programs, it’s progress.

Both the boys and girls teams made improvements last season and look to have better seasons in 2017-18.

The girls team got their first victory in a long time last season, and while that may not seem like much, it was a huge accomplishment for the Hawks and head coach April Radcliffe.

“Last year was probably the first year that I felt like the team came together and was actually starting to work together, which was good,” she said. “It was a just a good atmosphere on the team with good camaraderie and it was a very positive group of girls.”

This year, the Hawks have the potential to get a few more victories as key players like Tailyn Raisanen, Shawna DuMoulin and Nikki Wertanen are back on the roster.

“My whole team from last year is going to be pretty much the same with a couple additions,” Radcliffe said. “Tailyn is extremely aggressive and she wants to win. She was a freshman last year and she is one that I try to make everyone aim to be.

“Shawna is our team leader. She’s been through all of the teams the past seasons, so she’s gone through the ups and downs. She’s a solid player and she has some good ideas for the girls. She’s got good leadership skills and she’s someone I can count on.

“Nikki is my center and we’re trying to work on her to play the post and really start to take charge down there and be more confident in herself to start driving the lane. She had some really good games last year and I’m just hoping for more consistency this year.”

Overall, even though the conference is going to be difficult, Radcliffe is feeling positive about her team’s chances.

“It’s still going to be pretty tough, but some of the teams we play against lost a lot of their seniors and lost some of their leadership. I think we have a good shot. I’m hoping for an optimistic six wins.”

The boys team also hopes to get a few more victories and will have a new coach leading them this year in Mario Marana, who was JV coach the last two seasons.

Even though he wasn’t the varsity coach last year, Marana knew that the Hawks didn’t have a lot of seniors, but said this year will be very senior-laden as he has some key players coming back, including guards Dylan Hanninen and River Shumate.

“Dylan’s a guard who shoots a lot and can do it all,” Marana said. “He can shoot from the 3-point line and he can get to the rim if he has to. He can bring it inside or outside if he wants. River is our point guard and he handles the ball and gets people in the right position. He can shoot and if he has to get to the rim, he can do that, too.”

Marana said his team’s biggest asset is its experience and that his players are starting realize what they need to do to have a good season.

He also said that the Copper Mountain Conference is going to be difficult, but he thinks his team will be good to go when the season opens.

“For the last two years, we haven’t had winning records, but I think having three guys that have been on the varsity for three years is going to be very helpful,” he said. “I think they’re starting to understand what they need to do to be successful.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and our first game, but we’re going to be ready by the time that comes around.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.