No waiting period: State’s No. 1 girls basketball team in MHSAA Division 4, Ishpeming amidst gauntlet of tough opponents

Ishpeming's Jenna Maki scores the first points of the game in the opening minute over the defense of Negaunee’s Callie Rajala, front, and Ella Mason, partially hidden, during their high school girls basketball game played at the Hematites’ gym on Friday. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

UPSSA Basketball Polls

(first-place votes in parentheses)



Divisions 1-3 W-L Pts Pvs

Marquette's Jack Quinnell, on the floor, tries to pass the ball to Henry Wood, far left, after he steals it from Westwood's Liam Luke, top right, during their high school boys basketball game played at the Barb Grill Gymnasium in Marquette on Dec. 18. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

1. Iron Mountain (3) 17-1 21 1

2. Marquette (1) 15-3 19 2

3. Kingsford (1) 16-2 17 3

4. Menominee 13-5 13 4

5. Jeffers 18-1 5 5

Ishpeming's Mya Hemmer, left center, gets a clean block on Negaunee's Grace Nardi, center right, in the first quarter during their high school girls basketball game played at the Hematites’ gym on Friday. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

Others receiving votes: None


Division 4 W-L Pts Pvs

1. Munising (2) 14-4 22 1

2. Forest Park (2) 15-2 17 T3

3. St. Ignace (1) 12-6 16 2

4. Pickford 14-2 11 T3

5. Norway 13-5 5 5

Others receiving votes: Lake Linden-Hubbell (15-3) 2, Rudyard (12-4) 2



Divisions 1-3 W-L Pts Pvs

1. Negaunee (5) 17-1 25 1

2. Bark River-Harris 15-1 19 2

3. Sault Ste. Marie 9-4 13 4

4. Houghton 12-5 10 3

5. Gladstone 9-6 3 5

(tie) Escanaba 10-7 3 —

Others receiving votes: Menominee (8-9) 2


Division 4 W-L Pts Pvs

1. Ishpeming (5) 15-1 25 1

2. Baraga 14-3 20 2

3. Lake Linden-Hubbell 16-1 15 3

4. St. Ignace 12-4 8 4

5. Ewen-Trout Creek 12-3 4 5

Others receiving votes: Munising (13-2) 2, Big Bay de Noc (13-2) 1


MARQUETTE — Anticipation ISN’T making girls basketball fans in Ishpeming wait.

Pop artist Carly Simon said that anticipation was making her wait in a song from the 1970s — Heinz ketchup made sure everybody knew that in its TV commercials — but Hematites fans don’t have to wait long for their team to take on its next big challenge, actually next two challenges.

The No. 1 team in the state in MHSAA Division 4 had a home showdown with next-door rival Negaunee on Friday night, and while the Miners prevailed in that matchup, Ishpeming gets a chance to redeem themselves when Baraga comes to town at 7:15 p.m. today back in the Hematites’ gym.

And it won’t get a whole lot easier later this week either, when Ishpeming travels to play at Escanaba at 7 p.m. Thursday.

This week’s games are the last two of four in row U.P. ranked teams on the Hematites’ schedule. The voting is conducted weekly during the regular season by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.

Like the Hematites in Division 4, Negaunee is a unanimous No. 1 in the Divisions 1-3 rankings, while Baraga is No. 2 in Division 4 and Escanaba is tied for fifth in Divisions 1-3.

Ishpeming has a 15-1 record while Negaunee is 17-1, their only losses coming against each other — the Hematites prevailed in Negaunee’s Lakeview Memorial Gym 57-53 on Jan. 12, while the Miners got a 65-56 victory on Ishpeming’s home court on Friday.

Baraga is a solid 14-3, while Escanaba is 10-7 playing its bigger-schools schedule.

Last week, the Hematites also defeated Divisions 1-3 No. 5 Gladstone 77-59, while Negaunee tacked on a 57-44 win at Calumet.

Baraga also had a pair of road wins last week, downing Ewen-Trout Creek 50-41 and Jeffers 41-31.

One other area school also received votes in the girls polls as Munising (13-2) missed the Division 4 top five by a pair of votes after winning twice last week, 47-37 at Forest Park and 52-12 at home vs. North Dickinson.

The boys races are really heating up at the top with each poll featuring three teams receiving first-place votes.

That’s good news for Marquette (15-3), which while still No. 2 in Divisions 1-3, did receive a No. 1 vote and is just two total votes shy of no-longer-undefeated Iron Mountain (17-1).

The newly monikered Sentinels picked up three victories last week, winning at Gladstone 75-39 and at home against Escanaba 80-77 and St. Ignace 93-88 in overtime. The OT game was Marquette’s fourth this season and evened their record in those contests at 2-2.

Despite also winning twice by lopsided scores last week, IM suffered its first blemish in an OT thriller at home against U.P. No. 4 Menominee, 60-58.

With MSHS and No. 3 Kingsford (16-2) getting one first-place vote, the Mountaineers still received the other three.

In Division 4, No. 1 Munising (14-4) has a couple contenders nipping at its heels after the Mustangs split a pair of games last week, falling at Escanaba 52-48 and defeating North Central at home 60-48.

Both Munising and Forest Park (15-2), which leapfrogged St. Ignace (12-6) for second, have two first-place votes while the No. 3 Saints have one.

Forest Park won twice last week while St. Ignace split a pair.

In Associated Press state polls that like the UPSSA’s are also released each Tuesday, the Ishpeming girls held onto the No. 1 spot in Division 4, though the Hematites are no longer unanimous.

However, IHS still received two first-place votes and has a six voting-point lead on No. 2 Colon. Interestingly, while Colon didn’t get any first-place votes, No. 3 Kingston earned three while still trailing Ishpeming by 10 votes.

In addition, U.P. No. 3 Lake Linden-Hubbell is fifth in the AP Division 4, while Baraga is tied for seventh.

In Division 2, the Negaunee girls held their No. 6 spot with 43 points as Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard (18-0) is No. 1 and Grand Rapids West Catholic (15-1) is No. 2.

In boys polls, Marquette entered the Division 1 rankings for the first time this season with a single vote to be tied with Troy for 22nd. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (19-1) is a unanimous No. 1 in those rankings.

In Division 4, Munising bumped up a spot to No. 5 with 44 votes as three schools split the first-place votes — No. 1 Adrian Lenawee Christian (15-2), No. 2 Taylor Trillium Academy (16-1) and No. 3 Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (13-4).

A handful of other U.P. schools also broke into the top 10 or at least received votes from the AP.

For the girls in Division 3, Bark River-Harris is 12th, and in Division 4, Ewen-Trout Creek is 15th and St. Ignace is tied for 20th.

Among the boys in Division 2, Kingsford is 12th; and in Division 3, Iron Mountain is third with one first-place vote, while Jeffers is 13th and Menominee 14th; and in Division 4, St. Ignace and LL-Hubbell are tied for 11th, just one vote out of 10th, as Forest Park is tied for 13th, Pickford 16th, Rudyard 20th and Norway 21st.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 552. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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