Esky’s workaholic, LaFave leads local All-Stars

MARQUETTE Michelle LaFave of the Escanaba Eskymos worked very hard this season, and as it turns out, all that work did not go unnoticed. LaFave has earned herself a spot on the 2012-13 All-U.P. Class ABC Basketball team as a sophomore.

A First Team All-Great Northern Conference selection, the 6-foot-5 center grinded out a 16 point, 9.95 rebound per game average (199 total). LaFave was a virtual double-double machine this season, and proved she was more versatile than a typical post player. She also put up 1.9 steals, 1.8 assists, and 1.45 blocks per contest, and her perimeter shooting allowed her to contribute about 65 percent of the Eskymos’ overall offense on any given night.

” I knew she could score, but she’s shown she can rebound like Olivia Nash did,” said former Eskymos coach Kelly O’Connell last week. “Her poise has been outstanding, and she has handled the responsibility well. She has a lot of upside, and she can only get better.”

The ABC team also features Kingsford’s Carlee Benzie, a 5-foot-7 senior. Benzie put up 14 points, six rebounds, five steals, and three assists per game this season.

Norway’s Bailey Grayvold, the Mid-Peninsula Conference Player of the Year, made the cut as well. She led the Knights with 16.9 points and 5.3 boards per game.

Madi Swanson, a junior out of L’Anse, is perhaps one of the most deceiving players in the U.P. At just 5-foot-2, she may not appear to be someone who could find success on the basketball court. However, Swanson put up an astounding 19.5 points, 6.2 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.4 steals per game, and was selected as the West-PAC Conference co-Most Valuable Player, a title she shared only with Class ABC Player of the Year, Elisa Jermu of Houghton.

Lexie Rowe of Calumet completed the ABC team selections. Rowe helped to lead the Copper Kings to a 16-5 record in 2012-13. She is a member of the All-West PAC First Team.

In Class D, Sarah Madalinski of Bark River-Harris was elected to the First Team.

“Sarah is one of the best ball players in the U.P. in my opinion,” said Broncos coach Joel Schultz last week. “She leads by example. I couldn’t ask for a better leader.”

Madalinski averaged 20.4 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and two assists per game this season. She was also chosen as First Team All-Skyline conference, First team All-Central U.P. Conference, and was an All-State selection in 2012 (All-State Special Mention in 2013). She wrapped up her career at BR-H with 1,523 points.

Although Casey Charlier tore her ACL for the second consecutive year, she was such a vital part of the Carney-Nadeau Wolves that she earned the selection regardless.

Charlier was also First Team in Skyline and CUP, but she was also the defensive MVP for the CUP Conference as well. The senior guard put up 15 points, 8.8 steals, four rebounds, and three assists per game.

Yet another defensive specialist, Superior Central guard Teslyn Tyner also made the team. She was a big part of the reason why the Cougars were able to put together their 20-0 season this year. Tyner averaged 13.05 points, 5.15 steals, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.25 assists per game, and shot 50 percent from inside the three-point arc.

Jamie Dompier, undoubtedly one of the smallest players in Michigan, is a Class D selection out of Chassell. Although the Panthers didn’t have an outstanding season, Dompier was the most dominant element of their team. She pulled off a triple-double against Watersmeet this January; pretty impressive for a 5-foot-1 guard.

Sarah Cullip of the state champion St. Ignace Saints rounds out the Class D team. Cullip contributed a great deal to the Saints’ run, and seemed to be an integral part of a team that was known for lockdown defense and causing turnovers. However, she helped seal the seal in the title game against Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes when she ignited a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter to give St. Ignace the padding they would need to claim the Championship.

The ABC second team consists of Kylee Erickson of West Iron County, and Samantha Beaulieu of Newberry, who commanded her team to their best season in recent memory.

Liana Storm of Marquette, Valerie Rajala of L’Anse, Kyra Lauzon of Manistique, Andrea Roell of Kingsford, Blaire Zenner of Houghton, Jessica Spencer of Ishpeming, Kylee Fitzpatrick of Sault Ste. Marie, and Kristy Lasanen of Calumet also made the second team.

Class D’s second team selections were Emily Hinsman of St. Ignace, Morgan Wells of North Central, Miranda Jacobson of North Dickinson, Olivia Smith of Pickford, Julia Daavettila of Dollar Bay, Zoey McGeshick of Ewen-Trout Creek, Leah Jarvie of Rydyard, Brooke Pasanen of Superior Central, Nicole Bouwma of DeTour, and Chelsea Truscott of Ontonagon.