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2013-14 PREVIEW

Bessemer Hurley Ironwood Wakefield-Marenisco Ontonagon Ewen-Trout Creek Mercer Watersmeet





Red Devils favored to repeat in East Division By PAT KRAUSE

IRONWOOD — Ironwood boys basketball coach Pete Lewinski likes to have his teams “fly under the radar screen” and not get noticed too much until the final days of the season when the Red Devils swoop in and grab a conference title. It happened last season. When Ironwood lost to Bessemer in the fourth game of the season on Dec. 13, the Devils were floundering. But the loss woke up Ironwood and the Red Devils began to roll. They won 15 of their last 16 games to finish with a sparkling 17-3 regular season record. Winning its first East Division title in the Indianhead Conference made Ironwood’s year special. “It was a very satisfying season that came to an abrupt end,” Lewinski said. “In the last two weeks of the season, Ironwood defeated Bessemer, Hurley and Wakefield-Marenisco to claim the East Division championship after trailing Bessemer in second place most of the season.” An excellent season ended in the district tournament final when the Devils’ leading scorer, Adam Mackey, broke a bone in his foot and Ironwood fell to L’Anse. If Lewinski wants to use his “radar” strategy again, he should remember the old Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” The Red Devils are tall, talented, experienced and still have things they want to accomplish. The word is out in basketball circles that Ironwood is the team to beat this season. “We return seven of 11 on the roster so we do have experience,” Lewinski said. “Four of five starters are returning. We also have overall decent height which should help us inside.”

Pat Krause/Daily Globe

THE 2013-14 Ironwood Red Devils are, from left, first row: Cassidy Muzzy and Sarah Johnson (managers); second row: assistant coach Tom Mott, Jake DiGiorgio, Jared Sobolewski, Adam Mackey, Matt Dary, Taylor Killam and coach Pete Lewinski; third row: James Giannunzio, Blayne Anderson, Bryant Rowe, Denver Sharrow, Jonathan Erickson and Colin Clausen. There’s decent height if you consider the Devils have eight players at 6 feet or taller in Jake DiGiorgio (6-5), Matt Dary (6-4), Mackey (6-3), Taylor Killiam (63), Bryant Rowe (6-2), Jared Sobolewski (6-2), Colin Clausen (6-1) and Denver Sharrow (6-0). They also have the school’s alltime leading scorer in Mackey, with 1,233 points entering his senior season. Lewinski has called him “one of the best players in Ironwood basketball history” and fans will have one final year to watch him finish out his high school basketball career. Mackey was named Second Team All-U.P. his freshman year and First Team All-U.P. during his sophomore and junior seasons. He was honorable mention

All-State and was selected by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan for All-State honors in Class C in 2012-13. Last year, he was named the Player of the Year in the East Division of the Indianhead Conference. Mackey averaged 17.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Lewinski said one of the best things about Mackey is that he makes the players around him better and it shows in the four assists he dished out in each game. Mackey is looking to leave the stage with a huge senior season. Bryant Rowe (senior, forward) has a smooth shot (11.5 ppg) and is especially good at shooting triples. He also became a player who can take it to the hoop. He

was a Second Team Indianhead Conference selection. Jacob DiGiorgio (junior, center) has grown to 6-5 and came out of nowhere to start in the third game of his sophomore season. He has a soft shooting touch (9.5 ppg) from around the free throw line and can be a force inside (7.1 rpg). He was selected First Team Indianhead Conference and All-U.P. Denver Sharrow (junior, guard) can shoot the rock (10.9 ppg) but also drives well to the hoop. He is athletic and a good defender who was awarded Honorable Mention in the Indianhead Conference for the 2012-’13 season. Matt Dary (junior, forward)

has “a nice shot” and is a good defensive player who is tall and has quick hands. He could have a break-out year if he can stay injury-free. Lewinski calls senior Jon Erickson (5-9, guard) “lightning quick” and he will run the offensive show from his point guard spot. He is able to penetrate and break down defenses. Lewinski said Jared Sobolewski (junior, forward) is a strong player on the glass and in the lane. He is athletic for a big man and has a nice touch around the basket. Taylor Killam (senior, forward) transferred from Clintonville, Wis., and has been a good addition to Ironwood’s ath-

letic program. Lewinski said he will be an inside presence and is also a good perimeter shooter. Senior Blayne Anderson (5-9, guard) is playing his first year of basketball and provides depth on the perimeter. Junior Colin Clausen (6-1, GF) played well on the jayvee team and will be a valuable swingman who will play inside or outside. Lewinski said forward James Giannunzio (5-9, junior) is up from the jayvees and will add depth to the Red Devils. Lewinski said he does have some concerns going into the 2013-14 season. “Ball-handling may be an issue,” he said. “Also, we hope to improve our shooting, becoming more consistent. Depth is also a question mark. The sooner our bench gains experience, the better we will be.” The Red Devils have high expectations for the season. Lewinski said Ironwood would like to contend for the Indianhead Conference and district tournament championships. “Bessemer, Hurley and Wakefield-Marenisco in the East Division will vie for the title in the Indianhead,” Lewinski said. “Bessemer had a fine season and surprised a lot of people last year. Hurley is always competitive and plays hard. “Wakefield-Marenisco has some young talent coming and will contend.” There will be some excellent basketball games played among area teams this winter and Ironwood is sure to be on any list as a top contender for its second straight Indianhead Conference title. Lewinski will have Tom Mott and Ben Schmandt as his assistant coaches.

Defense, defense, defense Ironwood girls to stress slowing down other teams By PAT KRAUSE

IRONWOOD — The themes for the Ironwood Red Devil girls basketball team in the 2013-14 season will be defense, commitment, hard work and teamwork. Fourth-year coach Noel Aho says she will insist on it and it will be the main way to improve on last year’s 8-12 overall record (8-8 in Indianhead Conference). “I am very defensive-minded and can’t stress the importance of defense enough,” Aho said. “These girls understand the game well and many have played for me for a year or more. They can play defense. “They are also ‘team first.’ That 100 percent team commitment is already there. They are unselfish players. It doesn’t matter to them who is the leading scorer or rebounder, as long as the team does well, works together and comes out with the win. They are hard workers, on and off the court.” The varsity team will be a balanced group with three seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen. The junior varsity team will consist of 12 players. Seniors Jessica Gering, Payton Aho and Rachel Pallin will be counted on for their leadership skills as much their basketball abilities. Gering (5-8, forward) is a multi-sport athlete who came on last year as a player and was second on the team last year in rebounding, assists and scoring, just behind Korrie Trier, who is now playing at Gogebic Community College. She earned honorable mention in the Indianhead Conference last year. Gering is an excellent defender with quick feet and hands and doesn’t mind mixing it up when going after the basketball. This is Gering’s

Pat Krause/Daily Globe

THE 2013-14 Ironwood Red Devils are, from left, first row: Paige Aho, Alyssa Huotari, Katie Piispanen, Payton Aho and Kacie Lundin; second row: assistant coach Lisa Graham, Samantha Peite, Jessica Gering, Rachel Pallin, Emily DiGiorgio, Kaylee Saari and coach Noel Aho. fourth year on the varsity. Payton Aho (5-3, guard) begins her second year on Ironwood’s varsity team. She is relentless and anticipates well on defense and has become a real good defensive player. Aho is also a quiet leader who leads by example. Aho said Rachel Pallin (5-11, center) provides much needed height and strength to the Red Devils and has shown a lot of improvement in the past year, especially in her shooting, free throw shooting and defense. She has very good court vision and is a good passer. Last year, freshman Emily DiGiorgio (5-10, forward) came up to the varsity in mid-season and earned a starting spot. She was an excellent shotblocker and was chosen for Honorable Mention in the Indianhead Conference. If her offense comes along, she will have a bright future with the Red Devils. Aho wants her to attack and drive to the basket more. Playing many sports for Ironwood, junior Katie Piispanen (5-7, guard) is motivated by competition and is mentally tough. Being a good athlete, Aho is

looking for her to take over the point guard position and run the show on offense. Aho said Piispanen a hard worker, handles pressure well and is driven to improve. Junior Samantha Peite (5-8) is a hard worker who will get more playing time as the season progresses. Sophomore Alyssa Huotari (5-5, guard) is a good ball-handler and was a starter on last year’s junior varsity team. She is athletic and has a good shot. She played well in varsity volleyball when she went in the game. Kaylee Saari (5-8, forward) provides good height for a sophomore. Aho said Saari was a good rebounder on the jayvee team, so she is counting on her for some rebounding and points off put-backs. Aho said freshman Kacie Lundin (5-5, guard) gives 100 percent effort and is an aggressive defensive player. Offensively, she has a nice shot and is a good ball-handler. Freshman Paige Aho (5-5, guard-small forward) is another strong, aggressive defender who gets her share of rebounds. She works hard, can shoot the rock and was a vocal leader in earlier grades. “The freshmen will have a bit of a learning curve

and adjustment period,” Aho said. “They were always playmakers, scorers and floor leaders. Although their roles may differ, I think they will adjust quickly. They will do whatever they need to in order for their team to succeed and win.” Aho is hoping to improve on last season’s team and conference record and be competitive in every game. With 100 percent commitment from the team, she feels the Red Devils can attain this goal. Aho wants to improve in every game and be playing their best basketball when the district tournaments come around. Aho said conference title should be wide open and it was very hard to pick out the top teams. “It’s hard to say with girls high school basketball,” Aho said. “Things change from year to year and even game to game. I’ve heard some teams are hampered by injuries already and several of the top players in the conference have graduated. There may be more teams with younger players this season. I saw a lot of improvement from every team we played, so it’s hard to pinpoint any one team.” Lisa Graham will coaching her fourth year of basketball as the junior varsity coach.


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Midgettes seek another East title By JASON JUNO

HURLEY — All 11 Hurley Midgettes saw time on last year’s varsity roster, many of them significant time for a team that had just two seniors. One of those seniors, though, shared the Indianhead Conference Player of the Year honor. Replacing Sam Ofstad, who ran the show at point guard, will be a major adjustment, even for a team that returns so many players. Even so, the Midgettes are the preseason favorite to once again win the title in the Indianhead Conference’s East Division, something they’ve done each year since the conference split into divisions for the 2011-’12 season. “Losing Sam is losing a big chunk of our offense when it comes to having a catalyst that creates a lot of different things, whether it’s for herself offensively or for others,” said Hurley coach Melissa Oja, who begins her seventh season. “She created a lot passing into the post, just seeing that opening that a lot of other people can’t see. “We’re just adjusting to that, seeing who’s going to step into that position. For us, we have multiple people that are kind of having shining moments as far as being up top for us. I don’t think we’re going to be a straight-up one point guard team. I think we’re going to have multiple people.” Players who will probably see time on top include senior Kayla Subert, juniors Gabby Pecotte, and Brittany Czarnecki and sophomore Tianne Kuula. “Gabby has stepped into that position on top, the point, and has done a really nice job for us,” Oja said. “We’re trying to get (Czarnecki) to come out a little more this year. We had her

underneath, but we saw really some strengths of hers in the tournament over the summer. She has some really nice abilities on top. She passes very well and she has a little more size to her and we can utilize her up there to give those girls a break. (Kuula is) a point guard. She has a really nice, quick first step. She looks at the floor, sees the floor very well. She needs to work on having confidence. Hopefully playing with us will be a good thing.” Subert was a Second Team all-conference selection last year. “She is just one of those scrappy defenders you like to have in a situation when you need someone to get on the ball or get a quick steal for you,” Oja said. “She’s somebody who’s definitely going to be an asset for us.” Junior Makayla Wolfe was the Midgettes’ leading scorer last year and will be looked to again to score. She was a First Team all-conference selection in the East Division last year. “She worked all summer; she really worked on her game,” Oja said. “She’s confident offensively. Everybody wants a player like that. She’s also not selfish. She looks to pass to others and that’s what’s nice, I think, this year. We’ve got a lot of threats when it comes to any position we have.” Harrington is Hurley’s other senior and she has something few Midgettes have, height. “Being 6-2, she has a presence for us when it comes to her body,” Oja said. “I have to say this year, she’s looking really strong, confident, taking some really nice shots, actually looking for the ball, wanting to be a little selfish. That’s something I told her I want her to work on, her shot and look to shoot. Not just be the type of post player

Jason Juno/Daily Globe

THE 2013-14 Hurley Midgettes are, from left, first row: Makayla Wolfe, Felicia Herlevi, Kayla Subert, Tianne Kuula and Kirkie Pecotte; second row: coach Melissa Oja, Brittany Czarnecki, Dani Irons, Beka Harrington, Natalie Moon, Maria Swartz and Gabby Pecotte. who passes. Try and create something for yourself. She’s doing a good job. The guards we have are doing a good job getting her the ball.” Hurley has seven juniors this year. Gabby Pecotte looks to be at the point position with Kirkie Pecotte at the 3. “Gabby and Kirkie, despite being twins, they both play different styles of basketball,” Oja said. “They give 100 percent at all times. They play year around, give it their all. Kirkie stepped into that 3 position where she’s inside-outside a little bit. For being small, she really does a great job of crashing the boards.” Felicia Herlevi is one of Hurley’s better outside shooters who is working on her footwork and dribble step, Oja said. Natalie Moon, an all-conference Second Team selection last year, and Dani Irons will play in

the post. “Physical girls, they get in great positions,” Oja said. “I know last year in the tournament, Natalie really stepped up really big for us against those Colby girls. She was a big key we were still in that game.” The Midgettes lost at Colby in the regional semifinal. Sophomore Maria Swartz also plays underneath and can go outside. “She has some really, nice natural footwork, something I really want to work off of and help her get some confidence playing with these older girls,” Oja said. The Midgettes look to continue their conference domination. “On our side, I think we have a great chance,” Oja said. “I know Wakefield’s going to be very strong this year. They had a lot of young talent last year. Bessemer still has some nice

players returning. Every team does. Ironwood, (Emily) DiGiorgio, (Jessica) Gering and other girls. I think it’s going to be fun basketball. For us, every year we pick up a little bit where we left off, so I think we’ll be strong. I think we’ll have a good team. “For us, it’s just going to be figuring out our offense, making sure we’re in position; our defense, playing a little bit of man, a little bit of zone. We’re small, so figuring out what’s going to work best against a big team and trying to take the pieces of the puzzle and put them together.” The biggest test against a big team comes Jan. 10 when South Shore and junior Megan Gustafson (6-3), who led the state in scoring last year, come to Hurley. The Cardinals, who broke Hurley’s 84-game conference win streak last year by winning a good battle in Port Wing,

are now coached by former Washburn coach Ryan Tiberg and lost Emily Gustafson (6-1), the state’s leading rebounder, to graduation. “That’s going to be a fun game,” Oja said. “That’s going to be the biggest thing is utilizing and focusing on what we do well and exploit their weaknesses, really provide some guard pressure on them. That’s going to be a fun game. That’s one I hope we get a lot of people to come and watch.” The Midgettes have 14 jayvee players under coach Shannon Dahlbacka. Hurley is working on shooting free throws better than it has in recent years and, “Running the offense, elaborating on different things and creating things on your own,” Oja said, adding, “not having that mentality you have to be set in that one spot; being able to move and see the floor and being able to create some things.”

Midgets aim to keep football momentum going in hoops season By JASON JUNO

HURLEY — Hurley will have to be ready to play basketball with a tough December schedule, but teams at schools that didn’t advance to the state semifinal in football are already ahead of the Midgets. Take Chequamegon. Hurley hosts the Screaming Eagles on Dec. 9. While the Midgets are about eight to 10 days behind in practice, coach Gary Giancola said, Chequamegon’s football team didn’t make the playoffs. That gave the hoops squad time to start practice and begin the season 3-0, which includes a win at football power Stratford. Giancola still expects his team to put it together quickly. “That’s the nature of the beast with football schools. We understand that,” Giancola said. “We’re going to hang our hat on the physical toughness, what Hurley’s noted for, at the beginning of the year. And hopefully we can get enough points to get through this first stretch and get us into the holiday season in good shape.” There are big Indianhead Conference games later in the month with Bessemer and WakefieldMarenisco. But first, the Chequamegon game is hugely important with it being the only team from the WIAA Division 4 regional that Hurley plays. “We’ll be pretty hard pressed to come up with any arguments at the seeding meeting if they beat us at home,” Giancola said. “They had a month to prepare for us. They have a transfer student from Menomonee Falls (Division 1, point guard). We need to take

Jason Juno/Daily Globe

THE 2013-14 Hurley Midgets are from left, first row: Jordan Kolpin, Jared Wendt, Jake Colassaco, Brad Vaara and Mark Saari; second row: Cameron Rowe, Dustin Simonar, James Sukanen, Mitchell Maki and Colton Dowd. Missing are Jake Tenlen and Damien Nickel. care of business.” The Indianhead Conference’s East Division promises entertaining games among the rival Gogebic Range schools because they’re all good, even if Ironwood is understandably an early-season favorite with All-U.P. First Teamer Adam Mackey, a senior, surrounded by a great cast. “I don’t think there’s any gray area this year. It’s pretty black

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and white. Ironwood would be the favorite in the East and Washburn in the West, and rather heavily,” Giancola said. “The Range here, I think it’s going to be very competitive.” Even if Hurley isn’t a favorite to win, Giancola said the goals don’t change. The hardest part may be surviving a rocky start to the season. The Midgets had an up-and-down regular season last

year, but became the only area team to win a tournament title, a WIAA regional. “We’re looking to win a conference championship,” he said. “We’re looking to take supremacy back on the Range. We weren’t happy about the way last year went, but we were pleased the way it finished. By no sense are we conceding anything to Ironwood or anything at this point in

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time. I want to be where we were last year, playing our best ball when we come into that seeding meeting. When we come into that tournament, I really strongly believe this team has the ingredients.” Hurley has the talent this year to have lofty goals, but it got harder with some preseason bad luck. Senior Brad Vaara broke his jaw skiing and teammate

Jake Colassaco is at 60 percent from a leg injury sustained during the first half of the first game of football season. That became more apparent in Monday’s scrimmage against Bessemer. That takes away a lot of what Hurley practiced to be this year, a quick, get-down-the floor team with five scorers that expected to be able to press and spread the floor more. It was part of an adjustment from not having someone with the size of Grant Innes, who controlled the paint, especially the boards, and provided some scoring. “We won’t have as much quickness and will need to make adjustments to the talent we have,” Giancola said. The Midgets’ depth also took a big hit when Vaara, a probable starter, went out. He’s probably out for at least six to eight weeks. Giancola said he feels bad for Vaara, who had improved after an off-season of working on basketball. “We’re a different team now,” Giancola said. “We’re not as quick. We just can’t play as fast now. He’s a kid that can get us up down the floor and play with a lot of energy.” Hurley will need more than just one player to shine, but Colassaco is a good player to have as the brightest of the group. Colassaco (5-11) enters his fourth year on the varsity program. “If he stays healthy, in my opinion, he’s one of the more dynamic, top players, East or West, certainly on the Range,” Giancola said. “There’s several good players throughout. We’re MIDGETS

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HOOPS Speedboys look to compete for two conference titles




BESSEMER — It’s been said that good things come to those who wait. Although he was a successful head coach of the Bessemer Speedgirls for a number of years, Jim Partanen had never been the head coach of the Speedboys, even though he was involved in Bessemer’s basketball program for 38 years. But this season Partanen gets his chance to take the reins and when the Daily Globe was at the House of Noise to take pictures of the first day of practice, he had the look of a man who was…well, enjoying himself. Like he was finally getting to do something he always wanted to do. “I’m excited to be able to coach at this level,” Partanen said. Few basketball fans doubt Partanen has the right stuff to be a successful, winning varsity coach and last year’s Speedboys proved they had what it takes by going from being a mystery team to finishing the regular season with an impressive 16-4 record. They won the Porcupine Mountain Conference title for the first time since 1997 with an unblemished 6-0 record. Early last season, previous coach Mark Movrich looked around after practice and remarked he thought Bessemer was, “Taylor Smith and a bunch of young, inexperienced guys.” And he was right. Smith was an all-conference performer, scoring 21 points per game, but sophomores Zack Mazurek, Jess Mazzon and Lance Berwald, as well as junior Ben Zielinski and a number of others, had seen limited playing time. Partanen said the coaches thought the young Speedboys had the physical tools to play varsity basketball, but they wondered if so many of the young players could make the mental and emotional adjustments to stepping up to the varsity level. That question was answered when Bessemer started fast and led the Indianhead Conference for over two months. But Besse-

Pat Krause/Daily Globe

THE 2013-14 Bessemer Speedboys are, from left, first row: Drew Bennetts, Nick Cossi, Trent Quade, Max France, Andrew Peterson, Jess Mazzon and Ben Zielinski; second row: coach Jim Partanen, Joshua Tomes, Tristen Wanden, Ashton Hocking, Lance Berwald, Brad Peterson, Zack Mazurek and Casey Heinz. mer’s bubble burst when a strong Ironwood team caught the Speedboys in the final days of the season and won the East Division. Ironwood coach Pete Lewinski called it “a relief” because the Red Devils had chased Bessemer for so long, but they refused to lose. Then after claiming the PMC title and beating E-TC twice, the season ended in disappointment when the Panthers defeated the Speedboys in the district tournament in Bessemer, even though E-TC’s All-Dream Team player, Dillon Gordon, was severely limited by a high ankle sprain. A surprising, highly positive season ended on a sour note. And perhaps Partanen indirectly addressed the season’s end when he talked about the team goals for 2013-14. “We want to compete in every game and improve each week,” Partanen said. “And we want to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season.” Unlike last year, Bessemer

will field an experienced team, except in the post, where Smith has departed. “We have seven returning varsity players, four that started quite a few games,” Partanen said. “Another strength for us will be the competitive nature of our team. We have to play as a team, control the tempo of the game and learn to defend bigger opponents. We need to show up every night and play our ‘A’ game to be successful. Nothing will come easy.” Thirteen players will be on Bessemer’s roster starting with senior Ben Zielinski (6-2, guard/forward/post). He is a very versatile player and Partanen said he will play multiple positions this year. Zielinski will provide senior leadership as well as a good outside shot. Partanen said junior Jess Mazzon (5-11, guard, forward) may be the team’s best athlete. He is hard-working, quick and an aggressive defender. His coach will look for Mazzon to score

more this year. Junior Lance Berwald (5-10, guard) is the team’s best on ball defender, according to Partanen. He is aggressive on both ends of the court. Offensively, he can knock down the outside shot or drive to the basket. Junior Zack Mazurek (6-2, forward) was a sometimes-starter last season. He is a pure shooter who can drain 3-pointers and be a zone-killer. Partanen said he is also a smart player who runs the floor well. Senior Drew Bennetts (5-8, guard) was a spot starter last season and is a deadly outside shooter. Partanen said the team will count on him to be an outside threat again this year. Max France (6-0, senior forward) is a returning letter-winner who is a smart player and can hit the outside shot, as well as find openings down low. He also runs the court well and plays hard. Partanen said Nick Cossi (6-1, senior forward) gives 100 percent

effort and can also get out and run the floor. He has improved his mid-range shooting and has a nose for the ball, much like he did in football. Andrew Peterson is a junior returning-letter-winner (5-10, guard) who was slowed by a knee injury last season. He has a nice outside shot. Newcomer Trent Quade (5-10, senior forward) is an aggressive physical player with good outside shooting touch. Partanen said senior Casey Heinz (6-2, center) is still learning the game, but he has grown over the summer and will get his share of playing time in the post. Brad Peterson is a 5-10 senior guard who is “a hard-nosed” defender who gives very good effort on both ends of the court. Partanen said junior Josh Tomes (6-4, post) is Bessemer’s tallest player. He moves well on the court and has a decent midrange jump shot. He will see time in the post area. Partanen had a slight smile on

his face as he looked out at Tristen Wanden (6-2, post) playing inside. At 6-2, 255 pounds, Wanden is a physical presence in the middle and a hard worker. He is returning to basketball after recovering from a knee injury. Partanen thinks both the PMC and Indianhead Conferences will have good balance. “In the PMC, E-TC is the perennial favorite,” he said. “Both E-TC and Watersmeet have veteran coaches that always have their teams prepared. I feel the conference is a toss-up. “In the Indianhead East (Division), Ironwood and Hurley appear to be the favorites, based on the talent that each has returning. “Both have veteran coaches and loads of size and talent,” Partanen said. Count on the Speedboys to make it interesting in both conferences.

Speedgirls hope for healthy ’13-’14 By PAT KRAUSE

BESSEMER — All Bessemer girls basketball coach Richard Matrella wants for Christmas is a team that can stay healthy for the entire 2013-14 season. Last year, injuries sabotaged the Speedgirls’ chances of having a good season. Mikhayla Sampson played in only four games and Allyson Hanson missed half the season due to injury. Then in the eighth game of the season, a Washburn player stepped on the back of Sarah Trudgeon’s foot as she reached for a ball that was going out-ofbounds. The result was an injured Achilles tendon that required surgery. Trudgeon was lost for the season and required extensive rehabilitation. Matrella said she was the team’s best shooter, ball-handler and team leader. Matrella said the Speedgirls had struggled to score and the injuries really “threw the team for a loop.” Also, players had to keep adjusting their roles on the team as the injuries mounted. The result was a 4-17 record and a loss to Watersmeet in Bessemer’s first game of the district tournament.

Pat Krause/Daily Globe

THE 2013-14 Bessemer Speedgirls are, from left, first row: Nicki Lekies, Catalina Palm, Sarah Trudgeon, Claire Tourville, Caitlyn Pelissero, Emily Jacobson and Allyson Metas; second row: Mikhayla Sampson, Julie Ahnen, Jazzmyn McGeshick, Allyson Hanson, Rachel Mazurek, Whitney Trcka and Valerie Rowe. Matrella, now in his eighth year as Bessemer’s head coach, thinks better days are ahead. “We hope to rebound from an injury-riddled season,” Matrella said. “Numbers are up, which translates into better practices and therefore a better prepared team. The team is hoping to compete in every game this year and see where the chips fall.” It’s obvious Matrella is confident enough in this year’s Speedgirl team to have high expectations and goals. “We want to build cohesiveness, which will create confi-

dence and trust within the team,” he said. “We want to improve every day and have a winning record at home and overall. We’d like to win the titles in our conferences and the district (tournament) the same as everyone else.” Matrella feels all four teams in the Porcupine Mountain Conference will battle it out for the conference title and Hurley, Mellen and South Shore will be the top teams in the Indianhead Conference. Matrella said Bessemer has the team strengths needed to

play good basketball. They include speed, leadership, size and numbers. The varsity team has 14 players, although two have already been bitten by the injury bug. Trudgeon (senior, guard-wing) is back and Matrella couldn’t be happier about it, because she can do so many things well on the basketball court. “Sarah averaged 14 points and seven rebounds in eight games last year,” Matrella said. “She is really an unselfish player who would rather pass than shoot but understands we need her to

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tile defender and is strong going to the basket and very good around the basket. She has good leadership skills. Matrella said Claire Tourville (senior, wing) has very good offensive skills and plays well in fast-paced games. She can score in bunches and defends off the ball extremely well. She is also a smart player. Allyson Hanson (senior, post) has returned and she is Bessemer’s most experienced post player. She has shown the ability SPEEDGIRLS

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score. She is also our best ballhandler and extremely smart with the ball in her hands. Sarah can play inside or out and is our floor leader and coach on the floor.” Matrella said Mikhayla Sampson (senior, guard) is very athletic and strong. She is able to go right or left with the ball and plays good defense. Matrella wants her to score more, be a team leader and stay healthy. Julie Ahnen (senior, wing) is fast, strong and athletic. She plays hard, always giving 100 percent effort. Ahnen is a versa-

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New coach, Cardinals aim to move past lean years By PAT KRAUSE

WAKEFIELD — Wakefield-Marenisco girls basketball coach Pete Yon is one of three new coaches in the East Division of the Indianhead Conference, but he is no novice when it comes to coaching experience or his knowledge of the Cardinal basketball program. Yon coached many of the present day varsity players during five years in the junior high program and one year as the junior varsity coach. Last season, he was able to closely observe the varsity through 21 games and he knows two of the players, Hallee and Kassidee Yon, very well since they happen to be his twin daughters. Yon had seen the Cardinal girls program in the doldrums for a number of years. Wins each season came in single digits, sometime in the digit one. Yon calls them “the lean years.” But last season, things began to change. Freshmen Lauren Grace and the Yon sisters joined three-year starter Miranda Sibley on the varsity and new life was breathed into the program. The freshmen had played together since third grade and with Sibley as one of their leaders, the team became known for its chemistry and teamwork. The Cardinals played with energy, athleticism and were competitive and a fun team to watch. But there was still the problem with wins. There were a lot of close games, but W-M finished the regular season with a 4-16 record and lost to Watersmeet in the opening round of tournament play. Yon said the team didn’t shoot well, but the bigger problem was that the Cardinals were so young and inexperienced they “lacked confidence” going up against a lot of juniors and seniors. In other words, if you don’t think you’re going to win, you usually don’t. “We have to step it up this year,” Yon said. “We want to continue to grow as a team, keep improving and everything else will fall into place. We won four games last year and I’m looking at tripling our wins. “I know these girls very well and I’m excited,

Pat Krause/Daily Globe

THE 2013-14 Wakefield-Marenisco Cardinals are, from left, first row: Darienne Korpi, Hallee Yon, Miranda Sibley, Tosha Hemming and Kassidee Yon; second row: manager Abby Ahonen, Heather Hemming, Rachel Obradovich, Lauren Grace, coach Pete Yon and manager Carlee Yon. because they have so much potential. They have a lot of capabilities and we’ll get over the lack of confidence. There’s a lot of positives with this team.” Yon said he thinks one of the main reasons WM will have a successful season is because they have such a unified, tight team with plenty of camaraderie. And almost all the Cardinals are back with another year of experience. Yon is also planning to institute new ideas to get the Cardinals to play more aggressively. “We have athleticism and good ball-handlers, so transition will be a key for us,” Yon said. “We have two forwards and the rest are guards who can handle the ball. We want to play up-tempo and push the ball up the court. We should be able to run with teams.” Like many small schools, Yon is concerned about numbers. W-M has eight girls on its varsity roster due to a couple of injuries and Yon is not sure if they will be able to suit up. The Cardinals may be vertically challenged (lack of height) this year, but Yon thinks W-M can overcome the problem with athleticism. Lone senior Miranda Sibley (5-8, forward) will be a four-year starter and Yon said she works as hard as anyone on the team and team members look to her as a leader. Looking forward to matching a very good volleyball season with a big basketball year, Sibley has personal goals of being a

double-digit scorer and rebounder. Hallee Yon (5-6, sophomore) is the team’s floor leader and the offense starts and revolves around her. She led W-M in assists last year (3.3 per game) and has the confidence and ability to drive to the hoop or dish off. Pete Yon said she likes the up-tempo game and worked hard in the off-season. Kassidee Yon (5-6, sophomore) is very versatile and can play all positions on the court. She led the Cardinals in steals (3.2 pg) and field goal shooting percentage, and was second in scoring (7.6 ppg). Pete Yon said Kassidee is a deadly shooter if left open. Lauren Grace (5-9, sophomore) is very athletic and led the team in points scored (8.3 ppg), rebounds (9.1 rpg) and blocks (2.5 bpg). Yon said Grace has “tons of upside” and runs the court as well as anyone. “Heather Hemming (5-5, sophomore) is our best defender and takes a lot of charges,” Yon said. “She is very physical underneath and uses up all our ice packs. She is a solid rebounder and was third on our team with 5.9 rebounds per game.” Yon said Tosha Hemming (5-2, sophomore) will see plenty of playing time after spending one-half of last year on jayvees. She is a good outside shooter and Yon calls her “very reliable” and knows the game well. “Darienne Korpi (5-5, freshman) is as solid as

any freshman basketball player in our area,” Yon said. “She’s a strong ball-handler and has the green light to shoot. And she loves to run.” Yon said freshman Rachel O’Bradovich (5-8, post) is another athletic player, with good potential. He said she has lots of basketball skills. He is expecting a lot from her this year. Senior Summer Curtis is out with a shoulder injury and Yon is unsure if she will return this season. W-M will play in two conferences again this season. Yon said the Porcupine Mountain Conference is “wide open.” “E-TC is E-TC,” Yon said. “Watersmeet has almost everybody back and Bessemer has Sarah Trudgeon back and she’s one of the top seniors in the area. It makes it fun.” In the East Division of the Indianhead Conference, Yon said the focus should be on Hurley, Ironwood and Bessemer. “Hurley has ruled for so long,” he said. “Sam Ofstad is one of the few they lost, but they have a lot of starters back.” The Cardinals were known for their potential last year, but this will be the season to see if potential turns into wins. Bruce Mahler will coach the junior varsity team.

W-M boys stress improved defense, seek district crown By PAT KRAUSE

WAKEFIELD — In his first year as Wakefield-Marenisco’s head basketball coach, Terry Fetters knew that playing defense had been a problem for Cardinal teams for years. He stressed the defensive aspect of the game from day one of practice. The results were puzzling. Fetters said W-M’s opponents actually scored more points per game than the year before. The Cardinals finished with a 7-13 regular season record and then defeated Watersmeet and lost to Crystal Falls Forest Park in Class D District Tournament play. “Defense is definitely our biggest concern again this year,” Fetters said. “Even though we stressed defense all year, there were times we lost our intensity, focus and aggressiveness. So we are going to stress it again this year.” In his second year at the helm, Fetters has seen a change in his varsity team and it starts with a sophomore, a junior and a senior. “We have three guys in Collin Gagnon (sophomore), Kevin Lane (junior) and Jake Ringsmuth (senior) that form a really good core,” Fetters said. “Their leadership and attitudes have been very good and they’ve been working their butts off in the summer and the first week of practice. And it has rubbed off on the younger kids and they have followed their lead.” Fetters said all three players can put the ball in the hoop, but will good defense appear once again in the Cardinal Gym? When high-scoring Pat Liber-

Pat Krause/Daily Globe

THE 2013-14 Wakefield-Marenisco Cardinals are, from left, first row: Collin Gagnon, Shane Cole, Nick Tarro, Jake Cox and Jordan Cox; second row: Jake Ringsmuth, Kevin Lane, coach Terry Fetters, Tyler Cole and Nick Orlich. toski left through graduation last year, Fetters was concerned about how the offense would make up his point production. And with the stressing of more time on defense, the offense might have been expected to sputter. But Fetters said the offense averaged more points per game than the year before. This season another big offensive playmaker must be replaced. Last year, Eric Lane became a 1,000-point career scorer, a mark

of excellence for any high school offensive player. In his senior year, he scored 18.5 points per game and hauled down 11.5 rebounds per game, despite playing a number of games with a badly sprained ankle. Fetters thinks W-M will have to replace Eric Lane’s offensive production by committee. Fetters said one of the players he expects to step up is Kevin Lane, who is Eric’s brother. Kevin Lane has grown to 6-2 and Fetters expects him to be a good

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post player, but he is versatile enough to play out on the perimeter and Fetters will move him around. He is also a very good rebounder and a leader on the team. Jake Ringsmuth (6-0, senior) will be one of W-M’s key players and leaders in his third year on the varsity. He is a good perimeter player and a good athlete. Fetters said he’s hoping to get more scoring from the senior this season. Collin Gagnon (5-10, sopho-


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more) is an offensive threat who can shoot the rock from the outside or drive to the hoop. Fetters said he has done a lot of work on his shooting and ball-handling. Gagnon does not play like a sophomore and Fetters called him “a real competitor.” Tyler Cole (6-1, senior) didn’t play last year, but Fetters said he has been looking good in practice as he shakes off the rust from a year of inactivity. Cole is a good offensive player and Fetters is working with him on defense.

Juniors Jordan Cox (6-1, forward) and twin brother Jacob Cox (5-7, guard) have played basketball all throughout their years in school and Fetters expects them to contribute and see playing time coming off the bench. Fetters said Nick Orlich (5-11, sophomore) is a big, strong player who is not afraid of contact and will be counted on for defense and rebounding. He also has a pretty good shot and he has a chance to be a starter. Fetters said Nick Tarro (5-7, sophomore) will get his playing time coming off the bench, but is expected to contribute more as the season progresses. “Freshman Shane Cole (5-9, guard) is a very good offensive player who will be a shooting guard,” Fetters said. “He really improved in the off-season and could start, especially if we go with a smaller line-up.” Fetters said he is “real excited” about this year’s team, because it has a good nucleus of veteran players, plus underclassmen with lots of potential. He said the goal of this year’s W-M team is to win as many games as they could. He said the keys to a successful season were to stay healthy and keep the players academically eligible. “And we would like to win the districts (tournament),” Fetters said. “We should have won districts last year.” Fetters sees Ironwood as the top team in the Indianhead Conference race and Bessemer as the favorite to win the Porcupine Mountain Conference title. Pat Libertoski Sr. will be the Cardinals’ junior varsity coach this season.

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No Gordon not deterring Panthers By JASON JUNO

EWEN — Losing an All-U.P. Dream Team player who is at Michigan Tech and another who made the Second Team, EwenTrout Creek will certainly look different this season. But not having Dillon Gordon, a red-shirt freshman at Tech, and Michael Borseth, among others, doesn’t take the Panthers out of the Porcupine Mountain Conference and district title conversation. It just makes it more wide open than in most years. “I think a lot of people might look down on us because we lost so much, with good reason,” ETC coach Brad Besonen said. “We have hungry young fellows and we have talented young guys coming up to go with our improved bigs.” The Panthers play a difficult schedule to prepare for the Class D District 127 tournament they host in March. “Of all the years I’ve been coaching, this will be the one team it could really come into play and be an advantage for us,” Besonen said. “I think that district tournament will be wide open, just like our conference.” The Panthers will still look to play fast, preferring to get layups and quick shots before the defense sets up. They have more length than in recent years, just no big stars like Gordon or any of the LaPlants. “We’re a little bigger than we’ve been,” Besonen said. “We really run the floor well. Nick and Lane have always done that. They run from rim to rim better than anybody in the area, which has helped us to play fast. I think our guards will be very good. I think in the half court, we’ll be more patient.” Seniors Lane Brown (6-2) and Nick Hearns (6-3) enter their fourth year of varsity action. They are the only two Panthers with extensive game experience. Brown has put a lot of muscle on it the last year and is a player E-TC can turn to for offensive production. “He’s always had a really good

motor, but he seems to be more in control than he has been, especially with the ball,” Besonen said. He’s a good mid-range jump shooter who can also step out and hit the 3 and slash to the basket. Besonen also expects him to be tough to guard in the post. Hearns will have to continue to be a very good rebounder, Besonen said, with more production expected inside from him this year. It’s been a trying period of time for Hearns lately. The apartment he lived in was attached to the Bergland Grocery Store, which was damaged in a fire. They thought Hearns would be moving to the IronwoodBessemer area, but it worked out that he could graduate at E-TC. “He’s got a fresh outlook on things, like he’s taken full advantage of being able to stay here with the guys,” Besonen said. “He’s worked even harder since that week.” Both Brown and Hearns have been hurt by foul trouble in the past. E-TC would struggle to rebound, defend and score without them. “We’ve really been stressing to those guys, making sure they’re doing things clean so they can stay on the floor,” Besonen said. Senior Zack Leskela (6-1) provided solid offensive rebounding off the bench last season. He’s another player with good length for E-TC. After being limited last year offensively, he worked on ballhandling and his jump shot over the summer. “He really gets us some extra possessions with his rebounding,” Besonen said. There are three candidates for point guard: Junior Tanner Driesenga (5-10), senior Andy Meverden (5-5) and sophomore Landon Maki (5-11). “If nobody outshines the other, that could be a committee thing as we go throughout the season or whoever’s hot or playing well or defending well or matchups,” Besonen said. Driesenga (5-10) saw time last year.

Submitted photo

THE 2013-14 Ewen-Trout Creek Panthers are, from left, first row: Tanner Driesenga, Andrew Meverden, Alan Goll, Landon Maki and Michael Boro; second row: Lane Brown, Nick Hearns, Zack Leskela, John Berglund, Jacob Moilanen. He has the best lateral quickness on the team and should be able to stay in front of most people, Besonen said. He’s a good but streaky shooter. “I thought he really played well in scrimmages, playing those roles (scrappy and fast), pushing it ahead and finding our big guys running down the floor,” Besonen said. Meverden (5-5) returns after learning the game in practice last year, his first on the varsity team. He’s quick, stronger than last year and he has worked on his ballhandling. “He’s one of those guys that shows if you work hard, you’re going to improve and give yourself a chance to play,” Besonen said. “Last year, he was at the bottom of the bench. This season, he’s worked into, I’d say, the leading candidate at point.” Maki is a smart player who sees the floor well, handles the ball and is a good shooter. He just needs to get himself stronger and more physical for the contact seen on the varsity team. Maki, the quarterback, broke his collarbone in week two of the football season and was recently cleared for full contact in basketball.

Junior John Berglund (6-1) gives the Panthers another player with some length. Like Maki, he’s a smart player who understands the game. He was a top player for the 18-2 jayvee team last season. Berglund will be a swing position player, like Leskela and Jacob Moilanen. “John, I think, will have the most success being inside,” Besonen said. “He’s feisty. He likes to mix it up. He doesn’t mind contact at all. He’s not a real thick guy, but he’s stronger, good rebounder, real patient when he does have the ball inside.” Moilanen is a 6-1 junior who will player more outside. “He’s not afraid of contact even though he’s a little lighter than Lane or Nick. He’ll mix it up with them in practice,” Besonen said. He is another one of E-TC’s smart players. “I think we’re an inexperienced team, but the guys that are new are smart kids, willing to ask questions,” Besonen said. “I think we’ll learn quickly. It might be a little slower start because of the inexperience. It shouldn’t take us a year to figure things out with the intelligence

on our team.” Sophomore Alan Goll (5-8) loves basketball. He lives down the street from Besonen with a court between their houses. “He’s there all the time, nights at 11, Alan’s there shooting ball with his headphones on,” Besonen said. He wasn’t a good shooter in seventh grade, but three years of that kind of work has made him a real good one. “That’s the reason he’s on varsity,” Besonen said. “We need guys that can knock down perimeter shots.” Senior Michael Boro (5-11) gained more confidence while working on defense and rebounding last year on the jayvee team. “He really works hard, scrapping,” Besonen said. “If you don’t box him out, he’s going to get the rebound.” He could see quite a few minutes if Brown, Hearns and Leskela continue to get in foul trouble. The Panthers play a grueling schedule beyond just what should be a tough PMC. It includes Ironwood and L’Anse, which will be battling for a Class C district title; Houghton, Hancock, with Alex Almquist, who is

going to play at Tech, and Lake Linden, who could be in the top five in the U.P. in Class D, Besonen said. Every team in the conference lost a good scorer the rest of the team leaned on, Besonen said: Gordon, E-TC; Marcus Bain, Watersmeet; Taylor Smith, Bessemer and Eric Lane, W-M. “The conference will look different in that regard, more team basketball,” Besonen said. “I think (Jess) Mazzon’s one of the best players on our end with how smart he is, how strong he is and he’s just a good competitor, doesn’t let his team lose. Wakefield, I think Kevin Lane, when Eric went out, I thought Kevin really stepped up at. At times, I thought scoring-wise, Kevin was even more explosive than Eric was.” The Cardinals are tough with Jacob Ringsmuth and Collin Gagnon, he said. Watersmeet’s Ryan Bain played well against ETC last year and the Nimrods have other good pieces. “We have the same goal, try to get better and better until we get to districts and see what we’ve got then,” Besonen said.

Young Panthers hope to defend Porcupine Mountain Conference title By PAT KRAUSE sports@yourdaily

EWEN — Now Ewen-Trout Creek’s girls basketball coach Jacky Besonen has to figure out what to do for an encore. In Besonen’s first season (2010-’11), she took over a group of mainly sophomores who took their lumps and finished with a 3-17 record. In the 2012-’13 season, Besonen guided the sophomores turned seniors through the final stage of their development and won the Porcupine Mountain Conference title with an unblemished 6-0 conference record. The Panthers last won a PMC title in 2006 and ended the season with a 13-8 record, after running into a powerful Crystal Falls Forest Park team and future Michigan State player Lexi Gussert in the first round of tournament play. “It was awesome to finally get one of those conference championships back to E-TC,” Besonen said. It’s been said that it’s hard to reach the top, but it’s even tougher to stay there. That’s the challenge Besonen and her Panther team will face in the 201314 season. “We will be young, undersized and only have four returnees,” Besonen said. “And we will be in low in numbers with eight varsity players, plus the jayvee team. But we’re quick, will pressure the ball and get up and down the court with speed. If

Submitted photo

THE 2013-14 Ewen-Trout Creek Panthers are from left, first row: Brittany Myllylahti, Skylar Anderson and Madelynn Cronkright; second row: Taylor Niemi, Becca Warnke, Molly Niemi, Emily Driesenga and manager Kaitlyn Brady. Missing from photo is Casey Suomumaki. possible, we will run and press. With eight players and wanting to run, we’ll have to be in shape and well-conditioned.” And Besonen is not conceding the next PMC title to anyone just yet.

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“I think we can compete for the conference title again,” Besonen said. “But all the games will be tough. We have to take it one game at a time and be patient and improve. There will be a lot of learning and it will be a chal-

lenge for everyone to find their role. “Wakefield-Marenisco has all that young talent. Bessemer always has a solid team and Watersmeet has Michaela Burke and Frannie Zielinski. It will be


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difficult, but I’m looking forward to a good season.” And it’s not like the cupboard is bare for E-TC. Senior Becca Warnke (5-6, forward) returns for her fourth year on the varsity squad and her playing time has increased each season. At 5-6, she is not big for an inside player, but she plays big and is a good rebounder because she boxes out so well. Besonen is hoping for more scoring from Warnke with offensive rebounds and post moves. Senior Taylor Niemi is actually playing her fifth season on varsity, as she came up as an eighth grader. She is E-TC’s shooting guard and can really splash the 3s. Besonen said she can “make things happen” on offense and averaged 7 points per game, along with two steals and two assists. Besonen raves about senior Casey Suomumaki’s (5-1, guard) defense. “She’s the best ball defender,” Besonen said. “She can pressure the ball on the press and can stay with anybody. Defensively, she leads our team.” Junior Molly Niemi (5-6, guard) has played on varsity since eighth grade. She is the point guard who handles the ball the best and is a real hard worker. She has a good shot and is strong enough to take it to the hoop. Niemi also takes on the opposing team’s best big player, so she plays multiple roles on the team.

Sophomore Skylar Anderson is inexperienced but has a nice shot. Besonen wants her to work hard and improve. Freshman Emily Driesenga (5-4) looks to have won the fifth starting spot on the team. Besonen said she has a nice shot, drives to the basket well and is a good rebounder. She learns quickly and is gaining confidence. Besonen said Brittany Myllylahti (5-1, guard) specializes in being a good defender and working hard and giving 100 percent effort. She is also a strong ballhandler. Madelynn Cronkright is a 5-1 eighth grade guard who Besonen said out-worked other girls early in the early practice sessions and made the varsity. She is a good ball-handler and shooter and Besonen wants to get her playing time as soon as possible to get her experience and keep her confidence up. Besonen will have Zoey McGeshick as her assistant coach. McGeshick was the Helakoski Award winner last year in the PMC and was a First Team AllConference selection. Every team has problems to overcome and E-TC fans will find out if the young, undersized team can overcome their problem areas with quickness, the press and getting out and running. Another conference title challenge will depend on it.

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Much improved Tigers in line to turn things around By JASON JUNO

MERCER, Wis. — The outlook in Mercer is as bright as it’s been in a long time. The Tigers have more scorers than just Lexi Engler this year. With new pieces from a strong freshman class and a transfer student, Mercer may take some time to gel, but the potential is exciting. “It remains to be seen how we stack up against the Hurleys, Ironwoods, Bessemers and Wakefields this year in the conference,” Mercer coach Shannon Hiller said. “They’re going to have to play a game against us. They just can’t think of Mercer as an easy win this year. We’ve been down for quite a few years. I’m not saying we’re going to beat them until I see how we match up. But we’re going to play against those teams because I’ve got some players this year.” The Tigers used to fight to have enough players. They’ll be at least eight deep this year. They’re even looking to have jayvee games, with 13 total on the roster. They couldn’t commit to that early enough to make teams’ schedules, so it may be limited. A quick Mercer squad can be the team that causes turnovers off the teams without good guards, Hiller said. It used to be the other way around. Mercer’s change may be most apparent with Engler, a 5-5 junior. She not only led the Tigers in scoring the last couple of years, she scored the vast majority of their points. This year, she’s moving to forward, where she may well lead the Tigers in scoring again. But a lot of the weight is off her shoulders. Mercer has enough guards

to change her role; that wasn’t the case last year. “She’s definitely one of our best players. I’m counting on her a lot this year,” Hiller said. “We don’t have to focus totally on her offensively this year. That’s going to be a transition. I’ve kind of rode her coat tails for so long. She’s kept us able to score. We’ve been so young and inexperienced. “I have a lot of guards on my team. I needed to have somebody who is strong under the basket and she is strong. Probably 75 percent of her baskets are in the lane.” Hiller said she has a good knack around the basket, getting rebounds and that should translate to plenty of scoring opportunities. Another potential scorer is Shania St. Germaine, a 5-6 junior transfer student from Lakeland. She’ll be a point guard; she has played hoops her whole life. “She’s going to get her points,” Hiller said. “She is a really, really nice player. I’m excited to have her on the team. She brings a new element.” Freshman Sydney Thompson (5-10) will also be a threat to score double digits and will start this year. She missed last year due to foot surgery and it will take a little while for her to get basketball instincts back, Hiller said. “She’s got tremendous skills for a freshman,” Hiller said. “She’s going to do very well in our conference. I think a lot of these teams, they’re going to have to play her because she’s got good instincts. She understands the game.” Mercer will start two freshmen this year, the other being Caitlyn Hiller, a 5-5 guard. The

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THE 2013-14 Mercer Tigers are from left, first row: Lexi Engler, Kassie Wiedower, Sarah Kirchoff, Brianna Anderson and Mandy Scheels; second row: Sydney Thompson, Linda Tondel, Shania St. Germaine, Camille Kich, Kendra Tutt, Christina Grams, Caitlyn Hiller and Skady Fuchs. freshmen class helped the volleyball team to an East Division conference title. They’re good athletes and coach Hiller expects they will mature earlier than the usual freshmen to sophomore jump. Hiller can score, but she is more likely to set up her teammates to score. “Caitlyn also has really good instincts as a guard,” her coach and dad said. “One of the reasons I moved Lexi in, I have the guards I need. Any good basketball team, you need a good inside game, a good outside game, you can’t be one dimensional. Teams aren’t going to be able to do things against us they used to because we don’t just have one player. We have a lot of players who can play basketball.” Camille Kich (5-9) is a freshman forward. “She’s going to be a really good player. She’s very physical and very quick. She has probably the best instincts for rebounding I

have on the team,” Hiller said. Senior Kassie Wiedower (5-5) is one of Mercer’s four captain,s along with Engler, Mandy Scheels and St. Germaine. Wiedower is another guard. “She’s one of my leaders,” Hiller said. “She’s a great leader. She’s going to be a solid player.” Scheels, a 5-5 junior, has been battling injuries the last couple of years, but she is healthy now. She will also be a part of the guard rotation. “She’s going to be a strong player, too,” Hiller said. “She’s learning the game really well. It’s hard for anybody to be out of the swing of it for two years, but I’ve seen improvement from day one.” Christina Grams (5-5) is another freshman who is expected to help Mercer. She also transferred to Mercer. She’s a guard. “She’s played some AAU basketball. She’s got some experience. She’s going to be a big help to our team,” Hiller said.

Mercer has two foreign exchange students, both juniors, Skady Suchs (6-6), from Germany, and Linda Tondel (5-8), from Norway. Neither have played basketball before, but both are good athletes. Jayvee games would help Suchs, Hiller said. Tondel is a good enough athlete, she’ll probably help out on varsity later in the year. “She’s one of those rare athletes. She’s quick and really strong,” Hiller said. “She plays really good defense. The offense will take awhile for her to be comfortable.” Sophomores Sarah Kirchoff (5-3) and Brianna Anderson (5-2) will likely be on the jayvee team to start. Kirchoff is likely to see some varsity time. Freshman Kendra Tutt (5-7) will also probably play jayvee ball. Hiller still looks at Hurley as the favorite in the Indianhead Conference’s East Division. Nobody’s really challenged the

Midgettes lately. “I will say Hurley will always be a favorite. Nobody’s knocked them off that top ladder yet,” Hiller said. “Melissa (Oja) always runs such a great program there. She’s always developed really quality teams. They have numbers, too. That’s always a good thing when you’ve got competition for playing spots. “I think Wakefield and Ironwood will both be very strong. Wakefield had a young team last year, a lot of freshmen and sophomores. With a year of experience, I think Wakefield could definitely be a tough team. Ironwood didn’t lose a lot.” Hiller expects a lot of competitive games in the East Division with a lot of good teams. “I think girls basketball on the eastern part of the conference is going to be good, which will make for good games,” he said. “Nobody wants to see a 40-point basketball game.” Mercer last finished above .500 in the 2004-’05 season.

Saeger takes over Mercer; 10 of 14 high school boys playing basketball By PAT KRAUSE

MERCER — Coaching boys basketball in one of the smallest high schools in Wisconsin can be a real challenge for any coach. There are times when success has to be measured in ways other than wins and losses. Take Jake Rozhon, for example. Last year, the Tigers finished the year with a 1-21 record, but Rozhon’s commitment to his teammates and his love for the game of basketball led him to play the entire season with a blown out anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and his left knee’s ACL hanging by a thread and close to snapping. Some thought Rozhon needed surgery, rest and rehabilitation, but his struggles and story were also inspirational. New Tiger coach Vic Saeger has about 20 years of coaching experience at the middle school, freshman and assistant varsity

levels in the Lakeland schools. He chooses to look at the glass as half full, instead of half empty, and is intent on getting the most out of Mercer’s basketball program. “We have 14 boys in our high school and 10 are playing basketball,” Saeger said. “We got out the kids who were reluctant to play last year. One way the new kids are valuable to the program is because it allows us to scrimmage five-on-five and the whole team can improve. We’re getting the most out of the numbers and they are all good kids with positive attitudes.” Saeger said he will measure the success of the season on other things besides the win-loss record. “By the end of the season, we want to look back and say everybody did their best and tried their hardest,” Saeger said. “We want to have grown as a team and improved as the season has gone on. There’s also the life lessons

players learn from playing team sports.” Saeger said he and assistant coach Lesley Grams are looking at “building a program” in Mercer. He has started youth teams beginning with boys in third grade and said there are some good athletes in the lower grades and he wants them to learn the game of basketball and have fun playing it. As an example, the sixth grade team used to have to play eighth grade teams and took some lopsided defeats, which left them discouraged about playing basketball in the higher grades. Now, the teams are playing against players at their own age level and they can compete much better and enjoy more success. Saeger said one of the main strengths of this year’s team is having the 10 players and five returning letter-winners. There are much bigger schools that don’t have 10 players on their roster.

Another of Mercer’s strengths will be senior D’kota Engler (5-10). He has been a starter since his freshman year and will be the catalyst for the offense from his point guard position. Saeger said Engler is the team’s best ball-handler and is a good shooter who will be Mercer’s main offensive threat. Lucas Huybrecht (5-10, junior) will be called upon to play both the guard and forward spots and may even see time in the post. Saeger called him “a smart kid and a smart player.” Huybrecht saw plenty of playing time last season and was a starter when healthy. At 6-3, junior John Klopatek will play in the post and be the team’s main rebounder. Saeger said he has “really improved” and he’s hoping to get some scoring from Klopatek. Saeger said sophomore James Reichard (5-10, G/F) is Mercer’s other outside offensive threat.

“He will give us some speed and scoring,” Saeger said. “He’s pretty good for a sophomore. He’s also our second best ballhandler.” Guard Kyle Lukes (5-9, sophomore) got little playing time last season, but Saeger said he is improving and has a “nice shot.” Lukes is smart and makes good decisions on the court. Kyle Bianga (6-0, senior) has never played organized basketball, but Saeger said he has good athletic skills and could be a starter. Besides being a hard worker, Bianga can jump and Saeger is hoping he provides rebounding and be a good defender. Tyler Bianga (5-8, freshman) did not play middle school basketball. Saeger said he is like his brother in that his athletic skills are ahead of his basketball abilities at this time, but he could work into a starting role at some point. “John Cassiani (5-9, freshman)

is a very good shooter, possibly our best,” Saeger said. Saeger said Brandon Cassiani (6-1, junior) has never played basketball, but he is a strong, rebounder-type who has good hands. He should also be a good defensive player. Senior Brian Kich also has not played basketball, but Saeger said he has good quickness to go with an excellent attitude. Saeger said he is most concerned that the Tigers will struggle offensively. “We have some good shooters but no real excellent shooters,” he said. “We have to work on that in practice and get better.” Saeger said he can only remember watching Indianhead Conference teams play from a fan’s perspective last season, but he thought that in the East Division, Ironwood would be “tough” and he was impressed by Bessemer.

FROM LEFT are Hurley’s Jake Colassaco, Wakefield-Marenisco’s Kevin Lane, Bessemer’s Ben Zielinski, Mercer’s Lexi Engler and Hurley’s Makayla Wolfe (same photo) and Bessemer’s Sarah Trudgeon. Photos by: Jason Juno (Colassaco, Lane, Engler/Wolfe); Pat Krause (Zielinski, Trudgeon).



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HOOPS Lady Nimrods return three experienced players



WATERSMEET — Nearly half of Watersmeet’s roster has been on the varsity team for a long time. The Lady Nimrods’ problem? Nearly half of their roster is three players. Watersmeet enters the 201314 season with just seven players and no junior varsity team. But they have a familiar core and the same coach they’ve had the last two years, Norm Ellenberger, who turned 81 during the summer. “The main thing is we’ve got three players returning that should give us a good foundation to start the year with,” Ellenberger said. Michaela Burke and Lauren Ryskey are seniors. “Michaela has the most experience of all the kids who have played,” Ellenberger said. “She should have a quality year. We’ve been unable with such a short squad to scrimmage and practice the way you’d like to practice. But she’s got the experience. We should gain a lot out of leadership out of Michaela.” Ryskey is a guard/forward. “Physically, she’s had a tough summer. As this fall has opened up, she’s gotten stronger and seems to be coming back to her old self,” Ellenberger said. “One thing about her, she’s a good, tough, physical player that can guard a forward if you wanted

her to or play defense out in front, too, if need be. Her type of player is excellent to have on a team.” Zelinski is a junior who has seen as much time as anybody the last couple of years. “Frannie is wound tight and plays that way every second, whether it’s practice or games. She shows up every night and gives her best,” Ellenberger said. “She’ll be our guard that handles the ball most of the time and controls that part of it. Frannie will be involved in everything we do. “Those are the three that could make a foundation for a pretty nice basketball team.” The potential exists for a slow start to the season with no way to practice 5-on-5 with just seven players on the team. “If our three stawarts that are back from the last two and three years play like we finished last year, it’ll be really slow because we weren’t very good last year,” Ellenberger said. “It’s as much my fault as it was their’s last year. I did a poor job coaching. I’m not saying any player or any players. We have a collective society going on. We weren’t very good. We’re starting to bury that and get on with striving to get on a whole new chapter in our lives. Every phase of our game needs a real upgrade and these kinds of things take time. “As we mature together, since we are young and have some inexperience, as we learn to play

with each other and gain some experience, then our entire game should improve.” Junior Jessica Barajas saw considerable minutes last year off the bench. She’ll start this year. “She was a substitute into the guard situation and looks as if she could have a fine junior year,” Ellenberger said. “In the early start and what practices we’ve had, she’ll be fine once we get going.” Junior Megan Caron played on the JV team last year and will likely take the fifth starting spot. “She has good outside touch from the perimeter,” Ellenberger said. “She shows up every night and works hard at learning her position. Her position would be wherever we need her. With time, she’ll be a good player for us.” Sophomore Sierra Griffin moves up from the JV team. “I’m happy with Sierra,” Ellenberger said. “She improves a little each week. She’ll definitely see playing time. She has a nice touch around the basket and she loves to play. Inexperienced, of course, but that’s going to put a damper on her.” Eighth grader Beth Baldwin was a late addition to the roster and she’ll get playing time as well, Ellenberger said. Watersmeet finished second in the Porcupine Mountain Conference last year behind champion Ewen-Trout Creek.


Submitted photo

THE 2013-14 Watersmeet Lady Nimrods are from left: coach Norm Ellenberger, Megan Caron, Sierra Griffin, Frannie Zelinski (top), Bethany Baldwin, Jessica Barajas (11), Lauren Ryksey (4) and assistant coach Dino Giannola.

Not very tall, Nimrods have high hopes for 2013-14 campaign By JASON JUNO

WATERSMEET — Watersmeet may look up at other teams on the court, but the Nimrods hope other teams are looking up at them in the standings. Watersmeet doesn’t have a single player over 6 feet, but that doesn’t mean it can be counted out this season. “With no one over 6 feet, it will be a major concern of mine each night,” Watersmeet coach George Peterson III said. “Our quickness is the only way we can battle this. Seventy five percent is boxing out, so we will have to be fundamentally sound here or it will hurt us every night. … With our quickness, we could surprise a few people.” The Nimrods’ strengths include desire, strong-willed, well disciplined, and of course, quickness, Peterson said. “This is a superb group of young men,” Peterson said. “They come from strong families who support them, and as everyone knows, it all starts at home. I am looking forward to working with this year’s Nimrod squad.” Watersmeet hopes to get better each night. The Nimrods will face a tough Porcupine Mountain Conference, where all four teams should be strong, “And compete for the PMC title,” Peterson said. “We hope to also make a little noise in March.” Watersmeet has two seniors: Israel Bolton and Damion Baldwin.

Submitted photo

THE 2013-14 Watersmeet Nimrods are from left, first row: Kayne Williams, Ryan Bain, Rondell McKinney and Ethan McGeshick; second row: Kevin Stevens, George Zelinski, Israel Bolton, coach George Peterson III, Michael McGrath, Connor Voegtline and Damen Baldwin. Bolton has a good outside shot. “He needs to have a consistent year,” Peterson said. Baldwin is a swing man. “He’s very talented and needs to play within the team concept,”

Peterson said. “He is hard to stop when he has his game face on.” The Nimrods have six juniors. Ryan Bain is a point guardswing man. “He’s very talented, a hard-

working young man,” Peterson said. “He could be better than his brother if he continues to work hard the way he is. He’s one of the better players in the area.” His brother is Marcus Bain,

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who graduated from Watersmeet last year and plays for Gogebic Community College. Michael McGrath is “another hard-working young man who has the ability to carry a team,” Peter-

son said. “Along with Ryan, these two rank with some of the hardest working boys I have ever coached. They’re fundamentally sound.” Kevin Stevens is a strong force inside, Peterson said. “If we get him in playing shape, he will be a great addition to the team, both on defense and offense,” Peterson said. Kane Williams is “another swing player who needs to be on the floor for us if we are going to be as successful as we hope to be,” Peterson said. “We need his quickness and shooting ability.” George Zelinski is a strong rebounder, Peterson said. “I hope I have another Simon in George,” Peterson said, “a very strong, hard-working young man. Connor Voegtiline is “another solid rebounder who is willing to do whatever it takes for the team to be successful,” he said. There are two freshmen. Rondell McKinney is one of them. “This is a young man that has the talent of an all-around baller,” Peterson said. “I hope I can bring him a long as the season progresses a little more each night. By the end of the season, it might be hard to keep him off the floor. I am excited for Rondell. If he stays focused, people will know who he is over the next four years.” The other freshman is Ethan McGeshick. “Hh has talent, but needs to learn the team concept of the game,” Peterson said. “There’s a bright future for him.”

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Gladiators look to contend in tough Copper Country By JASON JUNO

ONTONAGON — Ontonagon has four returning players with good experience, but the Gladiators won’t have much depth in the new campaign. “Four are returning with decent experience and they are athletic,” Ontonagon coach Tim Nelson said. “They are smart on the floor and very coachable. We are very inexperienced on the bench and foul trouble could cause some issues. We are thin at the guard position so foul trouble could cause some problems.” Returning for Ontonagon are senior forwards Tony Soumis, Kyle Karttunen and Tony Roberts and sophomore guard Taylor Beaudry. Soumis is a great all-around athlete, Nelson said. “He will be my best defender and will be one of my best scor-

ers,” Nelson said. “He plays as hard as anybody on my team.” Beaudry will be the point guard. “He handles the ball very well and can shoot,” Nelson said. “He is young, so he will have to adjust to the speed and size of the varsity.” Karttunen is the tallest at 6-2. “He is very intelligent and makes great plays on defense because he anticipates what the offense is trying to do,” Nelson said. Roberts is at a forward spot. “Tony is very coachable and will do anything I ask of him,” Nelson said. “He will work very hard defending the post and will rebound well this year.” Junior Alex Ashley is expected to start at guard in his first year on the varsity team. “He did a nice job last year,” Nelson said. “He will have to

transition quickly from the jayvees to the varsity team.” Ontonagon will have to replace All-U.P. special mention senior Aaron Kaikko. “We are going to miss the point production and rebounds from Aaron,” Nelson said. “We are going to need some guys to step up to make up for his absence.” Other Gladiators include junior forward Aaron Dean, junior guard Gabe Adams, junior forward Matt Wiesen, junior guard Nick Takala and freshman guard-forward Mitchell Borseth. “We will be capable of scoring from the outside,” Nelson said. “I think that Beaudry and Soumis will create scoring chances for others because they penetrate so well.” The Copper Country Conference teams will make up the Class D District 128 at Jeffers.

Jan Tucker/Daily Globe

THE 2013-14 Ontonagon Gladiators are, from left, first row: Gabe Adams, Nick Takala, Alex Ashley, Taylor Beaudry and Tony Roberts; second row: Matt Wiesen, Tony Soumis, Aaron Dean, Andrew Jenkins and Kyle Karttunen. "We hope to be competitive in the conference and have a shot to win it at the end of the year," Nelson said. "Our district will be tough this year with Jeffers and

(Lake Linden-Hubbell) probably the front runners this year." Other area teams will also pose a challenge this season. "I think (Ewen-Trout Creek)

Gladiators strive for another CCC crown By JASON JUNO

ONTONAGON — Ontonagon enters the 2013-14 campaign as a bit of an unknown as the Gladiators try to defend their Copper Country Conference title. “If, if, if things go right, I think we’ll be in the mix and be competitive,” Ontonagon coach Dick Franti said. “Brooke’s (Turin) got to stay out of foul trouble. We’ve got to stay healthy. A lot of things have to go right for us to be in the mix. It’s probably the thing I’m most concerned about is, are we going to solve some of those issues? If we do, I think we can play well at times. Then there are other times.” That’s a lot of ifs. That’s their season outlook right now; the crystal ball isn’t very clear. “It’s a little bit iffy,” Franti said. “If this works, if that works, we’ll be OK. If it doesn’t work, then good luck.” Here’s part of the uncertainty: The Gladiators have five seniors, but Turin, the point guard, is the most veteran player Ontonagon has, by far. “We’re not as experienced as we’ve been the last couple years,”

Franti said. “That’s what I mean as far as Brooke’s going to have to be a leader for us. Then we’ll have to gain that experience quickly.” Ontonagon’s rigorous schedule should help move that process along. Besides the tough CCC lineup, the Gladiators play WestPAC teams Houghton, Calumet, L’Anse and Hancock. “We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Franti said. “There’s going to be some nights — Houghton, Calumet, L’Anse — we’re going to be hard pressed, really. As long as they fight and are as competitive as can be, sometimes you’ve got to live with it.” Franti looks at Dollar Bay, led by All-U.P. Class D Second Teamer Julia Daavettila, as the preseason conference favorite. All of these conference teams then meet in Baraga in February to decide the Class D District 128 title. Lake Linden is the defending district champion. “I think Lake Linden has some significant players back,” Franti said. “Baraga’s got a ton of talent. Those two are going to be right there. Jeffers has a good insideoutside game with (Shelby) Seppanen and (Haley) Makela. Chas-


Jan Tucker/Daily Globe

THE 2013-14 Ontonagon Gladiators are from left, first row: Natalie Silver, Taylor Behr, Abby Domitrovich and Hope Pintar; second row: Kori Weisinger, Brooke Turin, Molly Domitrovich, Rebecca Karttunen, Lori Wardynski and Bradee Pollard. sell might be the only one a little bit down because they relied on (Jamie) Dompier. She’s gone. We’ll see. Maybe they’ll mesh really well now that they’re not

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2013-14 Hoops Schedules

Speedgirls From page 9 to score from mid-range on in. Matrella said she is a good defender and rebounder when she gets physical. Whitney Trcka (junior, wing) had to spend her sophomore year playing out of position, but still did a good job. She averaged 11 points and seven rebounds per game. Trcka can really shoot and plays well, both facing the basket or with her back to it. Matrella said Valerie Rowe (junior, wing) is athletic, long, plays hard and is a very good teammate. She often guards the opposing team’s best offensive player. Jazzmyn McGeshick (junior, post) is a transfer player who has shown good offensive ability around the basket and plays good, tough defense. “Catilina Palm (junior, guard) is athletic and very good when attacking the basket. She has shown the ability to score and is a strong player.” Juniors Emily Jacobson and Nicki Lekies are both injured at this time and Matrella is looking forward to getting them back. Jacobson is a guard who is quick and fast and Lekies is a wing player with good athletic ability who can be a good spot up shooter. Matrella said Rachel Mazurek (sophomore, post-wing) constantly plays all-out and is always around the basket. She is a very good rebounder and defender and finds ways to score. Caitlyn Pelissero (sophomore, guard) has shown good speed and shooting ability. Matrella said she has a scorer’s mentality and is a smart player, especially when she has the ball. Allyson Metas made the varsity team as a freshman guard. Matrella said she has great ball skills and is a good on the ball defender. All she needs is the experience that most freshmen lack. For the upcoming season, Matrella is concerned about the Speedgirls’ lack of experience, their cohesiveness as a unit due to many new teammates, rebounding and their old bugaboo, scoring. But Bessemer has a nice blend of returning players and newcomers with basketball talent and if things fall their way, the Speedgirls could be the surprise team in the area, much like the Speedboys were last season. Gerry Pelissero will be in his sixth year as Bessemer’s jayvee and assistant varsity coach.


tHe Cover

Adam Mackey hopes to lead Ironwood to a repeat of last year’s Indianhead Conference title. Jason Juno/Daily Globe

Boys BasketBall Ironwood

Dec. 9, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Dec. 10, at Butternut, 7:15 Dec. 12, at Mercer, 7:15 Dec. 19, vs. Bessemer, 7:15 Dec. 20, at Ashland, 7:30 Jan. 2, at Hurley, 7:15 Jan. 7, at Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:15 Jan. 9, vs. Mellen, 7:15 Jan. 14, vs. South Shore, 7:15 Jan. 17, at Drummond, 7:15 Jan. 21, vs. Washburn (non-conference), 7:15 Jan. 24, vs. Ontonagon, 6:20 Jan. 28, at Solon Springs, 7:15 Jan. 31, vs. Bayfield, 7:15 Feb. 4, at Washburn, 7:15 Feb. 7, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Feb. 11, vs. Mercer, 7:15 Feb. 14, vs. Butternut, 7:15 Feb. 18, at Bessemer, 7:15 Feb. 21, vs. Hurley, 7:15


Dec. 5, vs. Mercer, 7:15 Dec. 6, vs. Butternut, 7:15 Dec. 9, vs. Chequamegon, 7:15 Dec. 10, at Washburn, 7:15 (non-conference) Dec. 12, vs. Ashland, 7:15 Dec. 16, at Bessemer, 7:15 Dec. 17, vs. Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:15 Dec. 19, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Dec. 27, at Northland Pines, 7:15 Jan. 2, vs. Ironwood, 7:15 Jan. 9, vs. Drummond, 7:15 Jan. 17, at South Shore, 7:15 Jan. 24, vs. Solon Springs, 7:15 Jan. 28, at Bayfield, 7:15 Jan. 31, vs. Washburn, 7:15 Feb. 4, at Mellen, 7:15 Feb. 6, at Butternut, 7:15 Feb. 7, at Mercer, 7:15 Feb. 10, at Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:15 Feb. 14, vs. Bessemer, 7:15 Feb. 18, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Feb. 21, at Ironwood, 7:15


Dec. 9, vs. Butternut, 7:15 Dec. 12, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Dec. 16, vs. Hurley, 7:15 Dec. 19, at Ironwood, 7:15 Dec. 20, at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:15 Jan. 7, vs. Mercer, 7:15 Jan. 9, vs. Washburn, 7:15 Jan. 14, vs. Watersmeet, 6:30 Jan. 17, at Mellen, 7:15 Jan. 24, vs. Drummond, 7:15 Jan. 28, at South Shore, 7:15 Jan. 31, vs. Solon Springs, 7:15 Feb. 3, at Butternut, 7:15 Feb. 4, at Bayfield, 7:15 Feb. 7, at Watersmeet, 6:30 Feb. 11, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Feb. 14, vs. Hurley, 7:15


Feb. 18, vs. Ironwood, 7:15 Feb. 20, at Mercer, 7:15 Feb. 27, vs. Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:30

ewen-trout Creek

All Times EST Dec. 9, vs. Ontonagon, 7:30 Dec. 12, at Hancock, 7:15 Dec. 14, vs. Lake Linden-Hubbell, 7:30 Dec. 17, at Hurley, 7:30 Dec. 20, vs. Bessemer, 7:30 Jan. 7, vs. Ironwood, 7:30 Jan. 10, vs. Watersmeet, 7:30 Jan. 13, vs. Superior Central, 7:30 Jan. 16, vs. Chassell, 7:30 Jan. 21, at Lake Linden, 7:20 Jan. 24, at L’Anse Jan. 28, at Ontonagon, 7:20 Jan. 31, at Houghton, 7:20 Feb. 4, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:30 Feb. 10, vs. Hurley, 7:30 Feb. 14, at Baraga, 7:20 Feb. 17, vs. Drummond at Northland College, Ashland, 7:30 Feb. 18, at Watersmeet, 7:20 Feb. 25, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:30 Feb. 27, at Bessemer, 7:30


Dec. 9, at Ironwood, 7:15 Dec. 12, vs. Bessemer, 7:15 Dec. 17, at Mercer, 7:15 Dec. 19, vs. Hurley, 7:15 Jan. 2, at Butternut, 7:15 Jan. 7, vs. South Shore, 7:15 Jan. 9, at Bayfield, 7:15 Jan. 13, at Solon Springs, 7:15 Jan. 17, at Washburn, 7:15 Jan. 24, vs. Mellen, 7:15 Jan. 28, at Drummond, 7:15 Jan. 31, vs. Watersmeet,6:30 Feb. 4, vs. Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:30 Feb. 7, vs. Ironwood, 7:15 Feb. 11, at Bessemer, 7:15 Feb. 14, vs. Mercer, 7:15 Feb. 18, at Hurley, 7:15 Feb. 20, vs. Butternut, 7:15 Feb. 25, at Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:30 Feb. 27, at Watersmeet, 6:30


Dec. 3, vs. Lac Courte Oreilles, ccd., snow Dec. 5, at Hurley, 7:15 Dec. 12, vs. Ironwood, 7:15 Dec. 17, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Dec. 19, vs. Butternut, 7:15 Dec. 27-28, Best with the Least Tournament at South Shore Jan. 7, at Bessemer, 7:15 Jan. 9, at South Shore, 7:15 Jan. 10, vs. Solon Springs, 7:15 Jan. 16, at Bayfield, 7:15 Jan. 21, at Watersmeet, 7:15 Jan. 23, vs. Mellen, 7:15 Jan. 28, vs. Washburn, 7:15 Jan. 30, at Drummond, 7:15 Feb. 4, at Lac Courte Oreilles, 7:15 Feb. 7, vs. Hurley, 7:15 Feb. 11, at Ironwood, 7:15

Feb. 14, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Feb. 18, at Butternut, 7:15 Feb. 20, vs. Bessemer, 7:15


Dec. 9, at Chassell, 6:20 Dec. 12, vs. Phelps, 6:30 Dec. 16, at Baraga, 6:20 Jan. 2, vs. Forest Park, 6:30 Jan. 7, at Dollar Bay, 6:20 Jan. 10, at Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:20 Jan. 13, at Phelps, 6:30 Jan. 14, at Bessemer, 6:30 Jan. 21, vs. Mercer, 6:30 Jan. 24, at Jeffers, 6:20 Jan. 28, vs. Chassell, 6:20 Jan. 30, vs. Dollar Bay, 6:20 Jan. 31, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 6:20 Feb. 4, at Northland Pines, 7:20 Feb. 7, vs. Bessemer, 6:30 Feb. 11, vs. Jeffers, 6:20 Feb. 18, vs. Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:20 Feb. 21, vs. Baraga, 6:20 Feb. 25, at Ontonagon, 6:20 Feb. 27, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, 6:30


All Times EST Dec. 9, at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:20 Dec. 12, at Calumet, 7:20 Dec. 19, vs. Dollar Bay, 7:20 Dec. 23, at Chassell, 5 Jan. 3, at Republic-Michigamme, 7:20 Jan. 6, vs. Calumet, 7:20 Jan. 9, vs. Baraga, 7:20 Jan. 13, at Lake Linden-Hubbell, 7:20 Jan. 16, vs. Jeffers, 7:20 Jan. 21, vs. Houghton, 7:20 Jan. 24, at Ironwood, 7:20 Jan. 28, vs. E-TC, 7:20 Jan. 31, vs. Lake Linden, 7:20 Feb. 7, at Dollar Bay, 7:20 Feb. 11, vs. Chassell, 7:20 Feb. 14, vs. Hancock, 7:20 Feb. 18, at L’Anse, 7:20 Feb. 21, at Jeffers, 7:20 Feb. 25, vs. Watersmeet, 7:20 Feb. 27, at Baraga, 7:20

mHsaa playoffs

District tournament: March 3, 5, 7; Class C District 96 at Calumet; Class D District 127 at Ewen-Trout Creek; Class D District 128 at Jeffers. Regional tournamnet: March 10, 12 Quarterfinals: March 18 At Breslin Center, East Lansing Semifinals: March 20 or 21 Finals: March 22

wIaa playoffs

High seed hosts through regional final Regionals: Feb. 25, 28, March 1 Division 4 area regional: Abbotsford, Athens, Chequamegon, Colby, Hurley, Phillips. Division 5 area regional: Bayfield, Butternut, Drummond, Mellen, Mercer, South Shore, Washburn, Mercer Sectionals: March 6, 8

At Kohl Center, Madison Semifinals: March 13 Finals: March 15

gIrls BasketBall Ironwood (1-0)

Dec. 3, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, win 37-31 Dec. 10, at Butternut, 5:45 Dec. 12, at Mercer, 5:45 Dec. 13, vs. Bessemer, 7:15 Dec. 19, vs. Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:15 Dec. 20, at Hurley, 7:15 Jan. 3, at Mellen, 7:15 Jan. 10, vs. Drummond, 7:15 Jan. 14, vs. South Shore, 7:15 Jan. 16, at Washburn (non-conference), 7:15 Jan. 20, vs. Solon Springs, 7:15 Jan. 23, at Bayfield, 7:15 Jan. 28, vs. Ontonagon. 6:15 Jan. 30 vs. Washburn, 7:15 Feb. 3, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Feb. 4, at Northwestern, 7:15 Feb. 11, vs. Mercer, 5:45 Feb. 13, at Bessemer, 7:15 Feb. 14, vs. Butternut, 5:45 Feb. 20, vs. Hurley, 7:15

watersmeet (0-1)

Dec. 3, vs. Jeffers (loss 54-27) Dec. 6, at Ontonagon, 6 Dec. 10, at Northland Pines, 7:20 Dec. 12, vs. Phelps, 5 Dec. 17, at Bessemer, 6:30 Dec. 20, vs. Forest Park, 6:30 Jan. 3, vs. Baraga, 6:20 Jan. 6, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, 6:30 Jan. 9, vs. Dollar Bay, 6:20 Jan. 13, at Phelps, 5 Jan. 16, vs. Ontonagon, 6:20 Jan. 21, vs. Mercer, 5 Jan. 23, at Chassell, 6:20 Jan. 27, vs. Bessemer, 6:30 Feb. 3, at Jeffers, 6:20 Feb. 6, vs. Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:20 Feb. 11, at Dollar Bay, 6:20 Feb. 13, vs. Chassell, 6:20 Feb. 18, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 6:30 Feb. 21, at Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:20


Dec. 6, at Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:30 Dec. 9, vs. Butternut, 5:45 Dec. 10, vs. Hurley, 7:15 Dec. 13, at Ironwood, 7:15 Dec. 17, vs. Watersmeet, 6 Jan. 3, at Washburn, 7:15 Jan. 6, vs. Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:30 Jan. 7, vs. Mercer, 5:45 Jan. 10, vs. Mellen, 7:15 Jan. 13, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Jan. 16, at Drummond, 7:15 Jan. 20, vs. South Shore, 7:15 Jan. 23, at Solon Springs, 7:15 Jan. 27, at Watersmeet, 6:30 Jan. 30, vs. Bayfield, 7:15 Feb. 3, at Butternut, 5:45 Feb. 6, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Feb. 10, at Hurley, 7:15

Feb. 13, vs. Ironwood, 7:15 Feb. 20, at Mercer, 5:45

Feb. 20, vs. Dollar Bay, 7:30 Feb. 21, vs. Watersmeet, 7:30


wakefIeld-marenIsCo (0-1)


Dec. 3, vs. Lac Courte Oreilles, ccd., snow Dec. 5, at Hurley, 5:45 Dec. 12, vs. Ironwood, 5:45 Dec. 17, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, 5:45 Dec. 19, vs. Butternut, 5:45 Dec. 27-28, Best with the Least Tournament, at South Shore Jan. 7, at Bessemer, 5:45 Jan. 9, at South Shore, 5:45 Jan. 10, vs. Solon Springs, 5:45 Jan. 16, at Bayfield, 5:45 Jan. 21, at Watersmeet, 5:45 Jan. 23, vs. Mellen, 5:45 Jan. 28, vs. Washburn, 5:45 Jan. 30, at Drummond, 5:45 Feb. 4, at Lac Courte Oreilles, 5:45 Feb. 7, vs. Hurley, 5:45 Feb. 11, at Ironwood, 5:45 Feb. 14, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 5:45 Feb. 18, at Butternut, 5:45 Feb. 20, vs. Bessemer, 5:45

ewen-trout Creek

District tournament: Feb. 24, 26, 28. Class C District 96 at L’Anse; Class D District 127 at Wakefield-Marenisco; Class D Distirct 128 at Baraga. Regional: March 4, 6 Quarterfinals: March 11. At Breslin Center, East Lansing Semifinals: March 13 or 14 Finals: March 15

Dec. 5, vs. Mercer, 5:45 Dec. 6, vs. Butternut, 5:45 Dec. 10, at Bessemer, 7:15 Dec. 13, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Dec. 17, at Northland Pines, 7:15 Dec. 20, vs. Ironwood, 7:15 Dec. 21, at Ashland, 7:15 Jan. 3, at Drummond, 7:15 Jan. 6, at Chequamegon, 7:15 Jan. 10, vs. South Shore, 7:15 Jan. 14, vs. Lakeland, 7:15 Jan. 16, at Solon Springs, 7:15 Jan. 20, vs. Bayfield, 7:15 Jan. 23, at Washburn, 7:15 Jan. 30, vs. Mellen, 7:15 Feb. 6, at Butternut, 5:45 Feb. 7, at Mercer, 5:45 Feb. 10, vs. Bessemer, 7:15 Feb. 13, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Feb. 17, vs. Northwestern, 7:15 Feb. 20, at Ironwood, 7:15 Feb. 27, vs. Ashland, 7:15 All Times EST Dec. 6, vs. Watersmeet, 7 Dec. 10, at Jeffers, 7:20 Dec. 13, at Baraga, 7:20 Dec. 17, vs. Lake Linden, 7:20 Dec. 20, vs. Dollar Bay, 7:20 Dec. 23, at Chassell, 3:30 Jan. 7, at Calumet, 7:20 Jan. 10, vs. Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:20 Jan. 14, at Hancock, 7:20 Jan. 16, at Watersmeet, 7:20 Jan. 17, at Lake Linden, 7:20 Jan. 20, vs. L’Anse, 7:20 Jan. 23, at Dollar Bay, 7:20 Jan. 28, at Ironwood, 7:15 Feb. 3, at E-TC, 7:20 Feb. 6, vs. Houghton, 7:20 Feb. 7, vs. Jeffers, 7:20 Feb. 13, vs. Baraga, 7:20 Feb. 17, vs. Chassell, 7:20

All Times EST Dec. 5, vs. Baraga, 7:30 Dec. 6, vs. Bessemer, 7:30 Dec. 10, at Chassell, 7 Dec. 13, vs. Lake Linden-Hubbell, 7:30 Dec. 16, at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:30 Dec. 19, at Ironwood, 7:15 Jan. 3, vs. Chassell, 7 Jan. 6, at Bessemer, 7:30 Jan. 10, at Ontonagon, 7:20 Jan. 14, vs. West Iron County, 7:30 Jan. 17, vs. Bark River-Harris, 7:30 Jan. 20, at Republic-Michigamme, 7:30 Jan. 27, vs. Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:30 Jan. 30, at Dollar Bay, 7:20 EST Feb. 3, vs. Ontonagon, 7:30 Feb. 6, at Watersmeet, 7:30 Feb. 10, at Baraga, 7:20 Feb. 13, vs. Jeffers, 7:30

Dec. 3, at Ironwood, loss, 37-31 Dec. 13, vs. Hurley, 7:15 Dec. 16, vs. Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:30 Dec. 17, at Mercer, 7:15 Jan. 2, at Butternut, 7:15 Jan. 3, at Bayfield, 7:15 Jan. 6, at Watersmeet, 6:30 Jan. 10, vs. Washburn, 7:15 Jan. 13, vs. Bessemer, 7:15 Jan. 16, at Mellen, 7:15 Jan. 20, vs. Drummond, 7:15 Jan. 23, at South Shore, 7:15 Jan. 27, at Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:30 Jan. 30, vs. Solon Springs, 7:15 Feb. 3, vs. Ironwood, 7:15 Feb. 6, at Bessemer, 7:15 Feb. 13, at Hurley, 7:15 Feb. 14, vs. Mercer, 7:15 Feb. 18, vs. Watersmeet, 6:30 Feb. 20, vs. Butternut, 7:15


mHsaa playoffs

wIaa playoffs

High seed hosts through regional final Regionals: March 4, 7, 8 Divison 4 area regional: Abbotsford, Athens, Chequamegon, Colby, Hurley, Phillips Division 5 area regional: Bayfield, Butternut, Drummond, Mellen, Mercer, South Shore, Washburn, Winter Sectionals: March 13, 15 At Resch Center, Green Bay Semifinals: March 20 Finals: March 22

D AY B Y D AY S C H E D U L E Thursday, Dec. 5 Boys basketball Mercer at Hurley, 7:15 Girls basketball Mercer at Hurley, 5:45 Baraga at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Friday, Dec. 6 Girls basketball Watersmeet at Ontonagon, 7 EST Bessemer at E-TC, 7:30 EST Butternut at Hurley, 5:45 Boys basketball Butternut at Hurley, 7:15 Saturday, Dec. 7 College basketball GCC Samsons at UW-Marinette, 2 GCC Lady Samsons at NDSCS tourney, 4 Sunday, Dec. 8 College basketball GCC Lady Samsons at NDSCS tourney Monday, Dec. 9 Boys basketball Watersmeet at Chassell, 6:20 Wakefield-Marenisco at Ironwood, 7:15 Butternut at Bessemer, 7:15 Chequamegon at Hurley, 7:15 Ontonagon at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:20 EST Girls basketball Butternut at Bessemer, 5:45 Tuesday, Dec. 10 Girls basketball Watersmeet at Northland Pines, 7:20 Ironwood at Butternut, 5:45 Hurley at Bessemer, 7:15 Ontonagon at Jeffers, 7:20 EST Ewen-Trout Creek at Chassell, 7 EST Boys basketball Ironwood at Butternut, 7:15 Hurley at Washburn, 7:15 Wednesday, Dec. 11 College basketball Mesabi Range at GCC, women, 5; men, 7 Thursday, Dec. 12 College basketball GCC Lady Samsons at UW-Superior JV, 7:30 Boys basketball Phelps at Watersmeet, 6:30 Ironwood at Mercer, 7:15 Bessemer at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Ashland at Hurley, 7:15 Ontonagon at Calumet, 7:20 EST Ewen-Trout Creek at Hancock, 7:15 EST Girls basketball Phelsps at Watersmeet, 5 Ironwood at Mercer, 5:45 Hurley at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Friday, Dec. 13 Girls basketball Bessemer at Ironwood, 7:15 Hurley at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Ontonagon at Baraga, 7:20 EST Lake Linden at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Saturday, Dec. 14

Boys basketball Lake Linden at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Monday, Dec. 16 Boys basketball Watersmeet at Baraga, 6:20 Hurley at Bessemer, 7:15 Girls basketball Ewen-Trout Creek at WakefieldMarenisco, 6:30 Tuesday, Dec. 17 Girls basketball Watersmeet at Bessemer, 6:30 Wakefield-Marenisco at Mercer, 5:45 Hurley at Northland Pines, 7:15 Lake Linden at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Boys basketball Wakefield-Marenisco at Mercer, 7:15 Ewen-Trout Creek at Hurley Wednesday, Dec. 18 College basketball GCC at Hibbing, women, 5; men, 7 Thursday, Dec. 19 Boys basketball Bessemer at Ironwood, 7:30 Hurley at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Butternut at Mercer, 7:15 Dollar Bay at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Girls basketball Ewen-Trout Creek at Ironwood, 6 Butternut at Mercer, 5:45 Friday, Dec. 20 College basketball GCC at Mesabi Holiday Classic, women, 2; men, 8 Girls basketball Crystal Falls Forest Park at Watersmeet, 6:30 Ironwood at Hurley, 7:15 Dollar Bay at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Boys basketball Ironwood at Ashland, 7:30 Bessemer at Ewen-Trout Creek, 6:30 Saturday, Dec. 21 College basketball GCC at Mesabi Holiday Classic, women, 2; men, 4 Girls basketball Hurley at Ashland, 7:15 Monday, Dec. 23 Boys basketball Ontonagon at Chassell, 5 EST Girls basketball Ontonagon at Chassell, 3:30 EST Friday, Dec. 27 Boys basketball Best with the Least Tournament at South Shore: Mercer vs. Phelps, 2:30 Hurley at Northland Pines, 7:15 Girls basketball Best with the Least Tournament at South Shore: Mercer vs. Phelps, 1 Saturday, Dec. 28 Best with the Least Tournament at South Shore Thursday, Jan. 2 Boys basketball Crystal Falls Forest Park at Watersmeet, 6:30 Ironwood at Hurley, 7:15 Wakefield-Marenisco at Butternut, 7:15

Midgets From page 3 looking for him to have tremendous leadership. He’s hungry because he lost his football season. Hopefully the gods are with us and he stays healthy. I’ve seen the maturity level out of Jake that we need for a senior to come in with his ability.” Colassaco was on fire in the regional championship win over Abbotsford last year, netting a career-best 40 points. “He’s the kid that’s going to make us go on the offensive end,” Giancola said. “What we’re looking for from Jake this year is a significant difference on the defensive end, to really assert himself on the defensive end.” Senior Mark Saari (6-0) is coming off a fantastic football season where he set a Hurley record for most rushing yards in a single season. He is expected to start for the basketball team. “Jake’s probably our most skilled

player. Mark’s probably our most physical,” Giancola said. “Obviously I don’t have to say a lot about Mark’s physical ability after what he did on the gridiron. His first year at running back was phenomenal. What impresses me even more about Mark is his character, his leadership and all the intangibles that go along with being an athlete, a scholar athlete.” Giancola expects Saari’s skills to develop more as the season moves along. Giancola has big expectations for senior Jared Wendt (6-3), a starter with lots of length. “I see Jared as a bundle of talent,” Giancola said. “That has been brought along the last two years. I don’t know if he was content to fit in and contribute here and there. His role has changed this year. We’re looking for Jared to be one of the top players in the conference. He’s got the size. He’s got the basketball body. With him playing football the last two

Girls basketball Wakefield-Marenisco at Butternut, 7:15 Friday, Jan. 3 College basketball GCC at Mesabi New Year’s Classic, women, 2; men, 4 Girls basketball Baraga at Watersmeet, 6:20 Ironwood at Mellen, 7:15 Bessemer at Washburn, 7:15 Wakefield-Marenisco at Bayfield, 7:15 Hurley at Drummond, 7:15 Chassell at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7 EST Boys basketball Ontonagon at Republic-Michigamme, 7:20 EST Saturday, Jan. 4 College basketball GCC at Mesabi New Year’s Classic, women, 10; men, 5 Monday, Jan. 6 Girls basketball Wakefield-Marenisco at Watersmeet, 6:30 Ewen-Trout Creek at Bessemer, 6:30 Hurley at Chequamegon, 7:15 Boys basketball Calumet at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Tuesday, Jan. 7 Boys basketball Watersmeet at Dollar Bay, 6:20 Ironwood at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:15 EST Mercer at Bessemer, 7:15 South Shore at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Girls basketball Mercer at Bessemer, 5:45 Ontonagon at Calumet, 7:20 EST Thursday, Jan. 9 Girls basketball Dollar Bay at Watersmeet, 6:20 Mercer at South Shore, 5:45 Boys basketball Mellen at Ironwood, 7:15 Washburn at Bessemer, 7:15 Wakefield-Marenisco at Bayfield, 7:15 Mercer at South Shore, 7:15 Drummond at Hurley, 7:15 Baraga at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Friday, Jan. 10 College basketball GCC Samsons vs. UW-Fox Valley, Fox Valley Classic, 7 GCC Lady Samsons vs. Fox Valley Tech, Fox Valley Classic, 5 Boys basketball Watersmeet at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:20 EST Solon Springs at Mercer, 7:15 Girls basketball Drummond at Ironwood, 7:15 Mellen at Bessemer, 7:15 Washburn at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Solon Springs at Mercer, 5:45 South Shore at Hurley, 7:15 Ewen-Trout Creek at Ontonagon, 7:20 Saturday, Jan. 11

College basketball GCC Samsons vs. Fox Valley Tech, Fox Valley Classic GCC Lady Samsons vs. UW-Fox Valley, Fox Valley Classic Monday, Jan. 13 Boys basketball Watersmeet at Phelps, 6:30 Wakefield-Marenisco at Solon Springs, 7:15 Ontonagon at Lake Linden, 7:20 EST Superior Central at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Girls basketball Watersmeet at Phelps, 5 Bessemer at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Tuesday, Jan. 14 Boys basketball Watersmeet at Bessemer, 6:30 South Shore at Ironwood, 7:15 Girls basketball South Shore at Ironwood, 5:45 Lakeland at Hurley, 7:15 Ontonagon at Hancock, 7:20 EST West Iron County at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Thursday, Jan. 16 Girls basketball Ontonagon at Watersmeet, 6:20 Ironwood at Washburn (non-conference), 7:15 Mercer at Bayfield, 5:45 Hurley at Solon Springs, 7:15 Bessemer at Drummond, 7:15 Wakefield-Marenisco at Mellen, 7:15 Boys basketball Mercer at Bayfield, 5:45 Jeffers at Ontonagon, 7:20 Chassell at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Friday, Jan. 17 Boys basketball Ironwood at Drummond, 7:15 Bessemer at Mellen, 7:15 Wakefield-Marenisco at Washburn, 7:15 Hurley at South Shore, 7:15 Girls basketball Ontonagon at Lake Linden, 7:20 EST Bark River-Harris at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Sunday, Jan. 19 College basketball GCC at Silver Lake College, women, 1; men, 3 Monday, Jan. 20 Girls basketball Solon Springs at Ironwood, 7:15 South Shore at Bessemer, 7:15 Drummond at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Bayfield at Hurley, 7:15 L’Anse at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Ewen-Trout Creek at RepublicMichigamme, 7:30 EST Tuesday, Jan. 21 Boys basketball Mercer at Watersmeet, 6:30 Washburn at Ironwood (non-conference), 7:15 Houghton at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Ewen-Trout Creek at Lake Linden,

years, it’s brought along some physicality. “It’s all there. All the pieces are there for Jared to be a top player. It’s up to Jared to figure it out (mentally) to apply it on the floor and get the maximum out of his ability.” Sophomore James Sukanen (6-5) worked during the off-season to get better and will start. He came down with mono late in the football season and is still regaining his stamina. “I thought he was probably the best freshman in the conference last year,” Giancola said. “Certainly I think he’s going to be one of the best sophomores this year.” Giancola thinks he will catch up offensively to the conference’s top post players like Ironwood’s Jake DiGiorgio. Plus, he’s going to have an inside and outside game as he continues to develop. “He’ll be able to get a rebound and go coast to coast,” Giancola said. “He’ll be able to come down and shoot a 3. He’ll be able to post you up. He’ll be able to get an

7:20 EST

Girls basketball Mercer at Watersmeet, 5 Thursday, Jan. 23 Girls basketball Watersmeet at Chassell, 6:20 Ironwood at Bayfield, 7:15 Bessemer at Solon Springs, 7:15 Wakefield-Marenisco at South Shore, 7:15 Mellen at Mercer, 5:45 Hurley at Washburn, 7:15 Ontonagon at Dollar Bay, 7:20 EST Boys basketball Mellen at Mercer, 7:15 Friday, Jan. 24 Boys basketball Watersmeet at Jeffers, 6:20 Ontonagon at Ironwood, 6:20 Drummond at Bessemer, 7:15 Mellen at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Solon Springs at Hurley, 7:15 Ewen-Trout Creek at L’Anse Monday, Jan. 27 Girls basketball Bessemer at Watersmeet, 6:30 Wakefield-Marenisco at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Tuesday, Jan. 28 Boys basketball Chassell at Watersmeet, 6:20 Ironwood at Solon Springs, 7:15 Bessemer at South Shore, 7:15 Wakefield-Marenisco at Drummond, 7:15 Washburn at Mercer, 7:15 Hurley at Bayfield, 7:15 Ewen-Trout Creek at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Girls basketball Ontonagon at Ironwood, 6:15 Washburn at Mercer, 5:45 Wednesday, Jan. 29 College basketball UW-Superior JV at GCC Lady Samsons, 7 Thursday, Jan. 30 Boys basketball Dollar Bay at Watersmeet, 6:20 Mercer at Drummond, 7:15 Girls basketball Washburn at Ironwood, 7:15 Bayfield at Bessemer, 7:15 Solon Springs at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Mercer at Drummond, 5:45 Mellen at Hurley, 7:15 Ewen-Trout Creek at Dollary Bay, 7:20 EST Friday, Jan. 31 Boys basketball Watersmeet at Wakefield-Marenisco, 6:30 Bayfield at Ironwood, 7:15 Solon Springs at Bessemer, 7:15 Washburn at Hurley, 7:15 Lake Linden at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Ewen-Trout Creek at Houghton, 7:20 EST Saturday, Feb. 1 College basketball UW-Marinette at GCC Samsons, 3 Monday, Feb. 3

Girls basketball Watersmeet at Jeffers, 6:20 Ironwood at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Bessemer at Butternut, 5:45 Ontonagon at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:20 EST Boys basketball Bessemer at Butternut, 7:15 Tuesday, Feb. 4 Boys basketball Watersmeet at Northland Pines, 7:20 Ironwood at Washburn, 7:15 Bessemer at Bayfield, 7:15 Ewen-Trout Creek at WakefieldMarenisco, 6:30 Mercer at Lac Courte Oreilles, 7:15 Hurley at Mellen, 7:15 Girls basketball Ironwood at Northwestern, 7:15 Mercer at Lac Courte Oreilles, 5:45 Thursday, Feb. 6 Girls basketball Ewen-Trout Creek at Watersmeet, 6:20 Wakefield-Marenisco at Bessemer, 7:15 Hurley at Butternut, 5:45 Houghton at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Boys basketball Hurley at Butternut, 7:15 Friday, Feb. 7 Boys basketball Bessemer at Watersmeet, 6:30 Ironwood at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Hurley at Mercer, 7:15 Ontonagon at Dollar Bay, 7:20 EST Girls basketball Hurley at Mercer, 5:45 Jeffers at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Saturday, Feb. 8 College basketball Silver Lake College at GCC, women, 1; men, 3 Monday, Feb. 10 Girls basketball Bessemer at Hurley, 7:15 Ewen-Trout Creek at Baraga, 7:20 EST Boys basketball Hurley at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:15 EST Tuesday, Feb. 11 Boys basketball Jeffers at Watersmeet, 6:20 Mercer at Ironwood, 7:15 Wakefield-Marenisco at Bessemer, 7:15 Chassell at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Girls basketball Watersmeet at Dollar Bay, 6:20 Mercer at Ironwood 5:45 Wednesday, Feb. 12 College basketball GCC at Fox Valley Tech, women, 5:30; men, 7:30 Thursday, Feb. 13 Girls basketball Chassell at Watersmeet, 6:20 Ironwood at Bessemer, 7:15 Wakefield-Marenisco at Hurley, 7:15 Baraga at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST

offensive rebound and putback. He’ll be able to make eight out of 10 free throws. He’s going to be that kind of versatile player. We have high hopes for James this year.” Sophomore Mitchell Maki (6-1) will start in Vaara’s place, although Maki was in line to see some starts regardless. That gives Hurley a starting lineup with three seniors and two sophomores. Maki isn’t as fast as Vaara, but he’s more physical. “Mitch Maki is flat out an athlete,” Giancola said. “You can do a lot of things with an athlete the caliber of Mitch Maki — 6-1, 205. He’s a little hesitant with his offensive ability, but I think you see that with a sophomore. We’re going to push him a little more on the offensive end to contribute. He’s going to be a lockdown defender with his size and his quickness and his athletic ability.” Junior Jake Tenlen (6-1) can play the 1, 2 or 3 spots. He continues to battle a thumb injury from football. Tenlen took over as quarterback in the final regularseason game because of Sukanen’s ill-

Jeffers at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Friday, Feb. 14 Boys basketball Butternut at Ironwood, 7:15 Hurley at Bessemer, 7:15 Mercer at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Hancock at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Ewen-Trout Creek at Baraga, 7:20 EST Girls basketball Butternut at Ironwood, 5:45 Mercer at Wakefield-Marenisco, 5:45 Saturday, Feb. 15 College basketball Dakota County Technical College at GCC Samsons, 2 Monday, Feb. 17 Girls basketball Northwestern at Hurley, 7:15 Chassell at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Boys basketball Ewen-Trout Creek vs. Drummond at Northland College, Ashland, 7:30 EST Tuesday, Feb. 18 Boys basketball Ewen-Trout Creek at Watersmeet, 6:20 Ironwood at Bessemer, 7:15 Wakefield-Marenisco at Hurley, 7:15 Mercer at Butternut, 7:15 Ontonagon at L’Anse, 7:20 EST Girls basketball Watersmeet at Wakefield-Marenisco, 6:30 Mercer at Butternut, 5:45 Wednesday, Feb. 19 College basketball Fox Valley Tech at GCC, women, 5:30; men, 7:30 Thursday, Feb. 20 Girls basketball Hurley at Ironwood, 7:15 Bessemer at Mercer, 5:45 Dollar Bay at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Boys basketball Butternut at Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:15 Bessemer at Mercer, 7:15 Friday, Feb. 21 Boys basketball Baraga at Watersmeet, 6:20 Hurley at Ironwood, 7:15 Ontonagon at Jeffers, 7:20 EST Girls basketball Watersmeet at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Saturday, Feb. 22 College basketball Northland International University at GCC, women, 1; men, 3 Tuesday, Feb. 25 Boys basketball Watersmeet at Ontonagon, 7:20 EST Wakefield-Marenisco at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 EST Thursday, Feb. 27 Boys basketball Wakefield-Marenisco at Watersmeet, 6:30 Ewen-Trout Creek at Bessemer, 6:30 Ontonagon at Baraga, 7:20 EST Girls basketball Ashland at Hurley, 7:15

ness and thrived. Vaara’s injury should give Tenlen more minutes. “The confidence he gained with the run he had in football I think is carrying over to basketball,” Giancola said. Senior Jordan Kolpin (6-5) enters the season healthy, after battling a foot injury coming into last season. He was the Offensive Lineman of the Year in football. “It remains to be seen if we can see that confidence and ability we’ve been expecting out of Jordan,” Giancola said. “There’s no question he has some potential. He can be a kid that gives us the height and physical presence in there.” Senior Cameron Rowe (5-10) is a strong defender. “If we bring him, it’s not going to drop off on the defensive end, if it’s not helping on the defensive end,” Giancola said. Other Midgets include senior Damien Nickel (6-2) and juniors Colton Dowd (510) and Dustin Simonar (5-8). Steve Lombardo is jayvee coach and Jay Aijala helps. With 34 players, Hurley will also have a C team.

Hoops, 2013-14 Preview  

Preseason High School Basketball Preview

Hoops, 2013-14 Preview  

Preseason High School Basketball Preview