Marquette’s Kivi, Munising’s Werner earn All-U.P. First Team honors

MARQUETTE — After getting three All-Upper Peninsula Dream Team awards for area players from the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, central U.P. teams picked up two more big awards as Marquette’s Sydney Kivi and Munising’s Michaela Werner earned spots on a First Team.

Kivi averaged 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and got a spot on the Great Northern Conference First Team before earning her All-U.P. Divisions 1-2-3 First Team nod.

Marquette head coach Ben Smith said Kivi is a player who can deceive you because she can take control in the post easily and then you realize that she’s not as tall as you think.

“I think watching her play is different than looking at her stats because if you watch her play, you’d think she’s like a 6-foot-1 post player out there, just dominating her position and playing aggressively in the post,” Smith said. “Then you step back and look and think about it and you see she’s 5-9.

“She gets a ton of stuff done with her will and work ethic down there. It’s one of those things where she’s a lefty and everyone knows she’s a lefty, but she still plays all over people with her left hand and then mixes in some right-hand moves and goes back to her left hand again.

“I think both of those two (she and Dream Teamer Avery Ledy) as leaders really stepped up. As juniors, they were really good players for us and really good kids, but they were more reserved in the leadership part.

“But I thought they were more vocal this year and as co-captains, I thought they stepped up and set a really good example for our team.”

Kivi was joined on the Divisions 1-2-3 First Team by Gladstone’s Megan Crow, Escanaba’s Nicole Kamin, West Iron County’s Emily Nelson and Iron Mountain’s Riley Poupore.

Werner was a Skyline Central Conference First Teamer along with earning her All-U.P. Division 4 First Team slot after getting two votes for the All-U.P. Dream Team.

The Mustangs’ senior post player averaged 18.8 points and 10.7 rebounds per game along with 2.2 steals and 2.1 blocks. She also shot 59 percent from the field in leading Munising to a district title.

“I think she’s been a great team player for a couple of years for us with a conference championship and a couple of district championships,” Mustangs head coach Matt Mattson said. “This year as a senior, she certainly stepped up her role.

“She’s pretty much a 20-point-per-game scorer. She’s a technician in the post and she’s a fantastic person. She’s a 4.0 (grade-point average) student and does everything well. You can’t ask for a better teammate.”

Mattson also said that Werner put a lot of extra effort toward improving her game and has come a long way since she was a freshman.

“I think she just works hard and she puts her time in,” he said. “I think if you’d told me when she was a freshman that she’d be a First Team-type player, I probably wouldn’t believed you, but she put in a ton of work in the summer and worked on her post moves and turned herself into a pretty good basketball player.”

Joining Werner on the D-4 First Team are Ewen-Trout Creek’s Elise Besonen, Carney-Nadeau’s Layla Blahnik-Thoune, Stephenson’s Autumn Rasner and Forest Park’s Mercedes Simmons.

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