Postseason favorites established in final U.P. boys’ basketball poll

HOUGHTON – The favorites are set for the boys’ basketball postseason after the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association issued its final pronouncement of 2012-13 today.

Negaunee (Class ABC) and Cedarville (Class D) were unanimously voted No. 1 in their classifications in the ninth and final poll of the season.

Negaunee (19-1) lost its fourth game of the year (59-43 at Marquette Dec. 13) and has won 16 straight since. Only one team (Gwinn, twice) has been within 15 points of the Miners over the winning streak.

Negaunee visits the Model Town for district play on Wednesday night, where they’ll open with Westwood in the 7:45 semifinal.

The 14-6 Modeltowners, ranked in a tie for fourth this week, play Ishpeming in the early semi.

Marquette was not seriously punished for its loss to Houghton in the season finale, ranking second with 19 poll points. Opening at home, MSHS (17-3) survived a tough matchup with 16-4 Petoskey in Class A district play as Mark Pap made five of six free throws in the last 35 seconds of a 64-61 win. He finished with a team-high 20 points.

Ironwood was No. 3 ahead of its C semifinal with L’Anse Wednesday.

Joining Gwinn in the tie for fourth is Kingsford, which crashed out of the Class B districts at home Monday, losing 56-53 to Gladstone. It’s the second year in a row the Flivvers’ season ended in a home playoff loss before the final poll in which they were ranked was released. Kingsford was No. 3 last season before losing a first-round game to Menominee.

Gladstone will host the Maroons in a B district final Wednesday.

Iron Mountain received a vote, though West Iron County showed the Mountaineers (14-6) the door in a 64-54 decision Monday. West Iron meets host Norway in the district final Wednesday after the Knights eliminated Stephenson 51-41. The winner of that game will play the winner of the L’Anse district in a semifinal next Monday in Escanaba.

In the east-end C district, Manistique will meet Harbor Springs in a rematch of a contentious football playoff game after both won semifinals Monday.

In Class D, Cedarville enters the postseason with a 15-game win streak and 19-1 record. The Eastern U.P. Conference champions have not lost since a Dec. 28 defeat at downstate Frankfort.

Cedarville will meet DeTour in a district semi at Brimley Wednesday night. The Bays are ranked No. 4 in this week’s poll and will host Pickford in the early semi.

Carney-Nadeau is No. 2 with 19 poll points, while North Central is No. 3 with 16. The marquee matchup of the night Wednesday will be in Powers, where the Wolves and Jets will play a rubber match in the district semis after splitting in the regular season in two games decided by a combined nine points.

The survivor of that game will play at Bark River-Harris or North Dickinson Friday in the final.

Bessemer’s second win over Ewen-Trout Creek in as many weeks put the Speedboys into the poll for the first time. Bessemer escaped 56-51 at home against Republic-Michigamme Monday, giving E-TC one last chance to get them Wednesday night in the semifinals. Forest Park and Wakefield-Marenisco will contest the other semi.

Munising (16-4, three) and E-TC (16-4, one) also received votes. Munising has home court advantage in its district and will play Superior Central Wednesday.