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County pair among best

Marquette’s Karp, Westwood’s Carlson make All-U.P. Dream Team

Westwood's Zach Carlson, front, is fouled by Marquette's Kam Karp as the Redmen player tries to steal the ball in the first quarter of their high school boys basketball game played at the Barb Crill Gymnasium at Marquette Senior High School on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. Official Charlie Morrison readies to signal the foul. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

MARQUETTE — The biggest high school basketball awards in the Upper Peninsula were handed out at the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association’s annual meeting last week.

Two Marquette County players were among five who stood out from the crowd as Marquette senior Kam Karp and Westwood junior Zach Carlson earned spots on the UPSSA All-U.P. Dream Team.

This is the second Dream Team award for Karp and the first for Carlson. Karp, a two-sport Northern Michigan University recruit, was a unanimous winner after averaging 14 points per game and being named Great Northern Conference Player of the Year. He also helped lead the Redmen to a district championship.

Carlson had a breakout season for the Patriots, averaging 21.3 points per game, 4.3 rebounds, 3.9 steals and 2.8 assists. He also made the West PAC Dream Team as well as the Mid-Peninsula Conference First Team and Defensive Team.

Westwood head coach Luke Gray said that Carlson’s constant effort distinguishes him.

“I think what makes him a Dream Team player is the way that he leads and the amount of energy that he puts forward through an entire game,” Gray said. “He plays hard for all 32 minutes. He’s a great leader for all 32 minutes and everybody sees the stats and the high points that he scores and that, but he matches that energy on defense and he matches that as a teammate and I think that’s what makes him special.”

When asked if he knew at the start of the year that Carlson would end the year as a Dream Teamer, Gray said no, but he knew that he was going to have a strong year.

“I won’t say that I knew he was going to be a Dream Team player, but I knew he was going to do great things for us,” Gray said. “I didn’t know exactly what that would be, but all season long, he did a great job of putting us in the position to win games and he’s just that competitor. He’s that kid and I’m really happy to have the chance to coach him.”

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

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