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Area comes up just short for Player of the Year, Coach of the Year

MARQUETTE — Marquette County players and coaches came close but couldn’t quite nab any of the special boys basketball awards Wednesday at the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association meeting.

In Class A-B-C Player of the Year voting between a pair of senior forwards, Iron Mountain’s Carson Wonders edged out Negaunee’s Trent Bell.

Both players were also members of the All-U.P. Dream Team and made it as Associated Press all-state, with Wonders earning a spot on the First Team and Bell on the Second Team.

In Class D, North Central’s Jason Whitens and Dawson Bilski shared the Class D Player of the Year award via a motion approved by UPSSA members.

Much was the same for Coach of the Year.

Marquette’s Brad Nelson almost earned the Class A-B-C honor, getting more votes than Negaunee’s Dan Waterman and Iron Mountain’s Bucky Johnson in the initial round, but tying Gladstone’s Clayton Castor for first before a runoff vote was held that went to Castor.

Nelson led the Redmen to a 20-2 record, the Great Northern Conference title and the No. 1 position in the final UPPSA Class A-B-C regular-season poll of the season.

In the Class D coach’s race, North Central bench boss Adam Mercier won the award unopposed after leading the Jets to their third straight Class D state title.

This is the third time Mercier has earned the honor after winning it back to back in 2013 and 2014.

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