Coach/Teams of the Year: Smith, Marquette honored

MARQUETTE – Ben Smith navigated the Marquette Redettes through a unique and somewhat tricky situation this season. The team had five seniors, five sophomores and no juniors.

Smith was able to work it to near perfection as the Redettes compiled a 17-3 regular season, going a perfect 8-0 through the Great Northern Conference. For the outstanding effort, Smith was named the Class A-B-C Coach of the Year Wednesday afternoon at the UPSSA All-U.P. Basketball Meeting and Marquette was named the Class AB Team of the Year.

After a slow start to the year, in which the Redettes dropped their first two games to downstate powerhouses at the St. Ignace Invitational, the team went on a tear. Marquette went 17-1 the rest of the way, it’s only loss coming to Class C Houghton, which made a state semifinal run.

Marquette won it’s first district game against Petoskey (18-2), a team that beat them early in the season, before falling in the district final.

Houghton was named the Class C Team of the Year. The Gremlins had to replace all five starters from the previous season but still managed to win the Upper Peninsula. Led by Class A-B-C Player of the Year Elisa Jermu and coach Julie Filpus, Houghton went 18-2 during the regular season before falling to Saginaw Nouvel at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

The St. Ignace Saints have had plenty of magical runs in previous seasons but none like they had in 2012-13. The Saints took a one-year hiatus to Class D and dominated every step of the way. The team compiled a perfect 27-0 record, culminating in the Class D state title after knocking off two-time defending state champion Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes.

The Saints’ system prevailed once again. Led by ultra-talented Kelley Wright and Sarah Cullip, St. Ignace’s extremely well-executed and tenacious defense frustrated Forest Park in the MHSAA state quarterfinal. Head coach Dorene Ingalls and assistant Doug Ingalls coached St. Ignace to it’s fourth state title over the past 14 seasons. Dorene Ingalls was named the Class D Coach of the Year and St. Ignace was the Class D Team of the Year.