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All-star hoops gets axe: Organizers forced to cancel annual Upper Peninsula All-Star Basketball Classic due to coronavirus

Negaunee's Natalie Bartle of the North team, center, attempts to get through several South team defenders who include Marquette's Stasha Warchock, right, during the U.P. All-Star Basketball Classic girls game played at Bothwell Middle School in Marquette on June 16, 2018. (Ironwood Daily Globe photo by Jason Juno)

By Journal Sports Staff

MARQUETTE — The 35th edition of the Upper Peninsula All-Star Basketball games scheduled for Marquette Senior High School in June has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Marquette athletic director Alex Tiseo informed the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame, the organizer of the event, through an email sent Tuesday to UPSHF all-star game chairman Dennis Grall.

“With the MHSAA making the official announcement to cancel remaining winter and spring seasons last Friday as part of an effort to remain in compliance with the directive by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to keep schools closed for the remainder of the (school) year, this will also mean the cancellation of the U.P. All-Star Basketball Game that was scheduled to take place at Marquette,” said Tiseo, who also sits on the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association. “With safety remaining the top priority, it would be unwise to bring in different populations of students, families and fans from across the U.P.”

UPSHF executive director Cathy Shamion had to agree with the decision.

Ishpeming's Hart Holmgren, right, of the North team goes up for a layup contested by Carney-Nadeau's Preston Lauscher of the South during the U.P. All-Star Basketball Classic boys game played at Bothwell Middle School in Marquette on June 16, 2018. (Ironwood Daily Globe photo by Jason Juno)

“It is sad, but it is our new state of reality,” she said. “Canceling it is the right thing to do.”

Grall, who had been in contact with Tiseo for the past month regarding the status of the game scheduled for June 13, also agreed.

“Hopefully this decision will allow everyone the chance to mitigate health and safety issues and to concentrate on staying safe and staying healthy and maintaining safe social distances while remaining at home to let this nasty virus run its course,” he said. “With spring sports and other national activities also called off, let us focus on a complete recovery and a bright future.”

The all-star game was held annually at Hedgcock Fieldhouse at Northern Michigan University in its early years, but since that venue has been closed, it has moved around to various sites all over the U.P.

Proceeds from the game go to the UPSHF scholarship fund.

The UPSHF induction banquet, originally planned for May 11, previously had been postponed to Aug. 21 at Island Resort & Casino in Harris.

The 2020 induction class includes Al Mitchell of Marquette, Jerry Racine of Ishpeming, Jennifer (Kangas) Brody of L’Anse, John Barnes and Todd Dagenais of Escanaba, the late Dewey Lane of Wakefield, William Mannisto of Houghton, the late Victor Turosky of Iron River, the late Mickey Valesano of Wakefield and Julie (Wonders) Heldt of Iron Mountain.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

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