St. Ignace, FP top last U.P. girls’ poll

HOUGHTON – There were no big surprises as the U.P. basketball regular season draws to a close.

St. Ignace and Forest Park have claimed the first honors of the 2013-14 season by finishing atop the final U.P. Sportswriters and Sportcasters Association girls’ basketball poll of the season.

One more boys’ poll is slated for next week.

The Saints go into the postseason with an 18-2 record and all five first-place votes. Their path back to the Breslin Center for a fifth straight time begins Wednesday below the Mackinac Bridge at Indian River Inland Lakes.

Houghton (18-2) is second on all ballots and Marquette (18-2) third. The Redettes started their tournament trail off with a 58-49 win at Gaylord in the Class A districts Monday.

L’Anse (17-3) is fourth on all ballots after claiming a share of the WestPAC championship.

The No. 5 team is 14-6 Gladstone. The Braves won 53-43 at Kingsford Monday in a Class B district first-rounder, sending them to Menominee for a semifinal Wednesday night. The winner will host Houghton or Escanaba in the district final Friday.

In Class D, Forest Park is No. 1 wire-to-wire in both the U.P. and Michigan Associated Press polls. The Lady Trojans, 20-0 for the first time in school history, play Watersmeet in the district semifinals at Wakefield Wednesday night.

Superior Central (18-2) is No. 2 on all ballots and faces a challenging district assignment Wednesday in Rapid River in a Munising team that has been ranked this season.

Stephenson (17-2) is No. 3 and easily dismissed North Central in Powers Monday night. No. 4 Brimley also had an easy opener, dumping DeTour 56-11.

Dollar Bay retained the No. 5 spot.

On the boys’ side, Lake Linden-Hubbell’s third loss of the season cost them their spot in the Class D poll for the first time this year.

North Central remains unanimous No. 1 in that group, though Cedarville moved up to No. 2 after Munising lost not only to the Jets Monday but to Menominee on Wednesday.

Forest Park, which took its second loss of the season Saturday at Carney-Nadeau, actually moved up to No. 3, just ahead of the Mustangs at 4. C-N moved into the top five at fifth.

In Class ABC, the only squad to take a loss was Ironwood, but its upset defeat to Bessemer was only enough to drop it to No. 5, flip-flopping with Escanaba.

Negaunee, Marquette and Ishpeming took the top three positions.