Westwood, Marquette named U.P. Teams of the Year

MARQUETTE — Both the Westwood and Marquette girls teams had strong seasons with the Patriots (24-2) making it to the MHSAA Division 3 state quarterfinals and the Redettes (20-4) notching another Great Northern Conference title as well as a Division 1 district championship.

Each was also named an Upper Peninsula Team of the Year by the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association at its annual basketball meeting held Tuesday.

The Patriots earned the Division 3 award while the Redettes took the Divisions 1-2 honor.

Westwood had two players make the UPSSA All-U.P. Dream Team in junior guards Tessa Leece and Madi Koski, with Leece also being named Division 1-2-3 Player of the Year.

For Westwood head coach Kurt Corcoran, who was also named Division 1-2-3 Coach of the Year, the season was a tremendous accomplishment.

“Not a lot of teams with 24 (wins) and I think if we got another shot at it, we’d get 25 or 26 wins, but that’s just how the tournament rolls,” he said. “(In the quarterfinals), Lake City had a really good four-minute spurt that took the momentum and we couldn’t recover.

“We were able to recover the other times where we faced adversity through the year…. I would say it’s arguable, but we probably had the toughest schedule out of anybody in the U.P. Maybe Marquette would be close, but we played everybody.”

The Redettes continued to dominate the Great Northern Conference and roll through the districts, then were eliminated in a tough MHSAA Division 1 regional.

Senior Avery Ledy made the Dream Team and Sydney Kivi earned a spot on the Division 1-2-3 First Team.

Even though the season ended sooner than hoped, Marquette head coach Ben Smith still was proud of what his squad achieved.

“The way we played in the first half of our regional game, we were up 24-11 against Midland Dow, which was No. 5 in the state,” he said. “It was one of those things where you’d like to think when you have a 13-point lead and were doing everything right that you could kind of secure the ball a little bit more and make some plays to keep that spread or increase it. But they’re No. 5 in the state for a reason.”

“We’ll definitely miss this group of kids. We had six seniors like Sydney and Avery as co-captains, but also Sophia and Kayley Elmblad both started. And then Rachael Hunt and Kaeleigh Talbacka.

“I thought as a group the seniors did a great job of getting us going in the right direction. Maddie Carter and Aspen Michelin and Reegan Ketzenberger and Sophia van den Ende did a great job as juniors stepping up and figuring out what it’s all about.

“But no matter how you are individually, if you don’t have a team around you that tries hard and cares and is invested for everybody, some of those individual things don’t come either.”

MHSAA state runner-up St. Ignace got the UPSSA Division 4 Team of the Year award.

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