Westwood girls ease back into Upper Peninsula’s No. 1 spot in basketball poll

MARQUETTE — Though several teams moved a single spot, the Westwood girls becoming the No. 1 team in Divisions 1-3 overshadowed them all in the weekly Upper Peninsula high school basketball polls.

Conducted by the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, today’s poll features the Patriots (16-1) overtaking previous No. 1 West Iron County (14-2) by a single point as each of those teams received three of the six first-place votes.

It wasn’t anything the Wykons did wrong, as WIC defeated Hancock and Calumet, both by single digits, in the last week.

Instead, Westwood lifted itself by beating a pair of Marquette County Divisions 1-3 top-five ranked teams during the past week at home — now No. 3 Marquette 45-37 on Wednesday and No. 4 Negaunee 53-40 on Friday.

Nevertheless, Westwood has just the one-point edge in votes, 27-26, with only this week and next left in the regular season.

This was the first time the Patriots have been No. 1 in this hotly contested girls poll since the second week of rankings on Jan. 15.

Marquette (14-3) switched places with Negaunee (13-3), though also only by one point, as those teams took a loss to Westwood while winning their other game — the Redettes felled struggling Houghton by 50 points and the Miners took out Iron Mountain by eight.

In the girls Division 4 rankings, Baraga (14-2) moved up a spot to No. 2 after beating previous No. 2 and now No. 3 Ewen-Trout Creek by eight points and Jeffers by 27.

In the boys polls, Negaunee (11-7) moved up a spot to No. 3 in Divisions 1-3 after splitting a pair of games in the last week. The Miners’ roller-coaster ride began with a 15-win over previous No. 3 Gladstone before they took a 31-point pounding at No. 2 Marquette (15-3) just a day later.

The Redmen held their spot after that win over Negaunee along with a five-point home victory over Gaylord on Saturday.

The rankings don’t reflect Monday’s win by those teams — Marquette beating Divisions 1-3 vote-getter Escanaba 58-49 and Negaunee knocking off WIC 60-40.

In Division 4, Munising (12-3) fell a spot to No. 4 despite winning big in both its games, a 38-point triumph over Big Bay de Noc and 39-point win over Mid Peninsula. Those two opponents are a combined 3-33.

In the state Associated Press polls also released today, the Munising boys were the last team listed in the “others” category in Division 4 after ranking 13th and receiving 17 votes, just four votes out of the top 10.

Baraga was in a similar position for Division 4 girls, except the Vikings are the first team out of the top 10 in 11th with 23 votes, also four votes out of 10th.

In games this week among ranked area teams playing other ranked teams, Marquette plays at Negaunee in a girls game tonight.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.