WestPAC shuffle in U.P. hoops poll

HOUGHTON – The three local WestPAC teams ranked in the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association girls’ basketball poll underwent a big shuffle in this week’s vote after two of the three of them suffered their first losses.

Houghton is up to third and Calumet down to fifth in the third poll of the season, released today, while L’Anse’s loss at Negaunee prevented it from going ahead of Houghton, a team which it has already defeated this season.

Marquette remains the consensus No. 1 team on all five ballots, but the Redettes had to work for it this week, with a pair of wins in Delta County. Marquette won 52-37 at Gladstone Tuesday and 71-58 at Escanaba Thursday to go to 14-0 overall.

St. Ignace, which rolled over Cedarville and Cheboygan this week, is No. 2 on all ballots.

The Gremlins (10-1) jump to No. 3, and received third-place marks on four of the five ballots.

L’Anse (7-1) landed in fourth with 11 points, while Calumet (6-1) dropped to No. 5 on all ballots.

The week of the 27th will be a busy one within the triumvirate, as L’Anse hosts Houghton Monday and plays at Calumet Thursday.

Forest Park (11-0) remains solidly atop the Class D poll after blowout road wins at North Dickinson and North Central last week.

Stephenson (10-0) is No. 2 on all ballots after three not particularly close wins over the previous week. However, the Eagles took their first ‘L’ of the season Monday, 53-52 against Coleman, Wis., in a game played after the poll was tabulated.

Superior Central (10-1) is No. 3, followed by Brimley (7-2).

Munising (8-2) takes over the No. 5 spot vacated by Ontonagon.

Dollar Bay (6-3) received a single vote.

On the boys’ side, the first four spots are the same on all five ballots.

Marquette (8-0) and Negaunee (8-1) remain in the top two spots. MSHS beat two ranked teams last week, knocking off No. 5 Ishpeming 57-41 Tuesday and previous No. 3 Escanaba 47-33 Friday.

Negaunee’s only win was more modest, a 71-39 drubbing of Mid-Peninsula Conference backmarker Norway.

Ironwood (8-1) is now No. 3 on all ballots after wins over Wisconsin schools South Shore and Drummond last week.

Escanaba, which is now 0-3 vs. Marquette and Negaunee and 7-0 against everyone else, falls to No. 4.

Ishpeming received four of the five available fifth-place votes, while the other went to 7-3 Hancock.

A slight reshuffle took place in the D boys’ poll this week.

North Central remains unanimous No. 1 after taking down Big Bay de Noc Thursday and North Dickinson Saturday to get to 9-0, but suffered a major bump in the road when All-U.P. forward Travis Vincent went down with a serious ankle injury Thursday and is expected to miss a month.

Munising bumped Cedarville for No. 2 though neither lost. Last Monday’s 57-44 Mustang win over previously-ranked Carney-Nadeau probably had a lot to do with it. Cedarville, winners over Harbor Springs and DeTour, is unbeaten against U.P. opposition this season.

Munising received 15 poll points and Cedarville 14.

Two more unbeatens round out the top five: Lake Linden-Hubbell (9-0) stays in fourth with 12 poll points, while Forest Park (7-0) makes its initial appearance with nine.

The meat of the Trojans’ schedule is still ahead of them, including two games with both North Central and C-N.