NIT returns with busy Saturday

By Journal Sports Staff

NEGAUNEE — Like a phoenix from the ashes, the Negaunee Invitational Tournament has returned.

The 50th annual edition of the NIT was held in 2014, then put in mothballs for five years before being revived by the Negaunee High School girls softball program this winter.

Saturday marked the return of the tourney to its old home, the Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium at Lakeview Elementary School in Negaunee.

Games were held in the six-team Class D and four-team women’s divisions, with championship games scheduled for this afternoon.

The women’s final is set for 1:45 p.m. and the “D” championship at 3 p.m., according to tourney official Randy Carlson, also the Miners’ head softball coach.

He added that next weekend will feature six teams in Class B and nine in Class C.

Saturday’s play opened with a pair of overtime games in Class D.

In the first, the Sky Hookers edged Dressler’s Mechanical 70-68 as Jacob Adriano led the winners with 22 points while Austin Forbes poured in 38 for Dressler’s.

Another OT period was required for The Finns to ease past the Lake Linden-Tamarack City Blue Lakes 74-69. Paul Torola and Ross Kinnunen paced The Finns with 17 points each while LL’s Arthur Lyons had 27.

In the first women’s game, Smarty’s Saloon dropped the Level Ups 64-57 as Smarty’s Carsyn Osterman had 23 and Level Ups’ Mariah LaPointe-Dunham scored 15.

Still among the women, Cal Ball outdefended Tincknell Distributing 47-38. Becky Anderson led the winners with 11 points while Tincknell’s Kenzie Karki had 10.

Returning to Class D, Tino’s held off the Sky Hookers 53-41 as Tino’s Jason Argall and Sky Hookers’ Zach Niemi both scored 16.

The Finns nipped Jackson’s Pit 59-54 in “D” as Torola scored 26 and Ben Luke and Steve Ludlum had 11 apiece for Jackson’s.

Level Up got in the win column in the women’s division with a 68-34 drubbing of Tincknell. Brooke Pasanen led the victors with 25 while Tincknell’s Kennan Marana had 12.

The final two results available were from Class D.

Lake Linden raced past the Sky Hookers 73-52 as Lyons scored 24 and Adriano had 21.

And Jackson’s Pit zipped by Dressler’s 61-56 as Ludlum scored 17 and Forbes had 25.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is