Hot games on tap

A few teams made some major statements this week to keep and validate their rankings in the UPSSA basketball polls.

It started Friday night when Class D boys No. 1 North Central (12-0) hosted No. 5 Forest Park (10-1) in a midseason battle of unbeatens. The Trojans put up quite the fight, leading for the entire first half and tied 40-40 going into the fourth before bowing to the Jets 63-50.

On an action-packed Saturday, Girls ABC No. 3 Houghton (14-1) got a measure of revenge against No. 4 L’Anse (11-2) in a 45-43 West Pac victory. The Purple Hornets were the only team to beat Houghton earlier in the year.

No. 1 Marquette (15-0) took the best shot of an inspired Escanaba (7-8) team, but held on to avoid the upset, winning 73-64 in the Great Northern Conference matchup.

And in girls Class D, No. 3 Stephenson (12-1) routed Class B Menominee 67-30, putting the Upper Peninsula and elsewhere on notice that the Lady Eagles are a team to beat.

Things only figure to continue heating up. This week Class D girls No. 2 Superior Central (12-1) hosts Menominee (8-4) and travels to Bark River-Harris (11-4). No. 5 Munising (9-3) travels to face the Broncos, who received three votes in the poll, on Monday.

Girls ABC No. 5 Calumet (8-3) hosts Escanaba Thursday in a rematch between two solid teams. Calumet, in a nailbiter, won the first meeting 54-53 at Escanaba.

On Friday night, Boys ABC No. 5 Escanaba (9-3) travels to face No. 1 Marquette (10-0) in another rematch game. Marquette won the first meeting at Escanaba 47-33.

The Eskymos dropped in the poll this week despite beating Menominee (5-5) 50-45 and Kingsford (1-9) 60-40.