Two new No. 1’s in U.P. basketball poll this week

HOUGHTON – Changes at the top in two of the four divisions highlight the seventh U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association basketball polls released today.

The St. Ignace girls and Negaunee boys took over No. 1 in their respective Class ABC voting.

Houghton triggered the move with its home win over Marquette, the No. 1 team since the beginning of the season, Thursday night. For the win, the Gremlins moved up a position to No. 2, their highest placement of the year.

At 16-2 and without a loss since Dec. 27, the Saints have the inside track to the Class C Team of the Year trophy Houghton currently holds, but the Gremlins may make a case to exchange it for the Class AB version. Each team has two losses, one to each other, but Houghton’s only other defeat came to No. 4 L’Anse, while Kingsford, which beat Marquette a week ago Friday, has an 8-9 record.

That and the All-U.P. teams will be released at the end of March.

L’Anse (15-3) is No. 4 on all ballots, though significant difference of opinion exists over the fifth-best team in the classification.

Gladstone (12-6) took the spot for the first time this week, getting two of the five votes from the panel. The Braves lost to Marquette twice, Ishpeming twice, Houghton and Menominee. Last week’s No. 5, Sault Ste. Marie, lost 58-47 at Gladstone Saturday.

Calumet (12-5), Ishpeming (13-5) and Westwood (12-6) all received a single vote apiece.

The girls’ Class D division is much more predictable, as Forest Park is one week from leading both the U.P. and Associated Press Michigan polls wire-to-wire.

The Trojans have two more hurdles to clear for a 20-0 season: back-to-back home games vs. Florence, Wis., and Carney-Nadeau tonight and Wednesday.

Superior Central leapfrogged Stephenson to regain the No. 2 spot. The Cougars (16-2) beat Big Bay de Noc, Munising and DeTour last week, while previous No. 2 Stephenson suffered a surprising 60-39 home loss to a sub-.500 Norway team to fall to 16-2.

Brimley (15-3) remains No. 4, while Dollar Bay (13-5) takes over the No. 5 position.

Watersmeet (10-6) also received a vote.

On the boys’ side, Negaunee forced a season split with Marquette and took its No. 1 ranking after a 61-55 victory in Marquette Thursday night.

Tyler Jandron had 27 points for the Miners, now 15-1.

Marquette takes the No. 2 spot on all ballots.

Ishpeming passed up Ironwood for No. 3. The Hematites have four losses, all to Negaunee or Marquette. Ironwood whipped Mercer, Solon Springs and Butternut, Wis., and is 16-2.

Escanaba remains No. 5 with eight poll points after its overtime win at Houghton Friday.

L’Anse (13-4) received a single vote.

In Class D, North Central remains No. 1 for the seventh week in a row and is now the only unbeaten boys’ team in the U.P.

Munising is No. 2 and came close to knocking off the Jets in a game played Monday in Powers after the poll was taken, but North Central grinded out a 45-41 win.

Cedarville (14-1) is No. 3 with 16 poll points, one less than Munising.

Forest Park (15-1) is fourth with 12, while Lake Linden-Hubbell (14-2) remained in the fifth spot with four points.