Hot Braves make first UPSSA poll appearance this season

Girls basketball teams are in the stretch run with districts approaching next week, and at the moment, not many teams are hotter than the No. 5-ranked Gladstone Braves (12-6). Gladstone has won five consecutive games, including a 58-47 victory over Sault Ste. Marie (12-5) on Saturday, leading to the Braves first appearance in the poll this season.

There was also shakeup at the top of the Class ABC girls poll as Houghton knocked off Marquette at home 74-65 Thursday night. That sent the Redettes (17-2) down to No. 3 while the Gremlins (17-2) moved up to No. 2. Meanwhile St. Ignace (16-2) has remained steady and hasn’t loss since early meetings against Marquette and Class C AP No. 1 Reese.

In the Boys Class ABC poll, Negaunee (15-1) not only moved up to No. 1, but was a unanimous selection after the Miners’ 61-55 victory over Marquette Thursday night. No. 5 Escanaba (12-4) maintained its No. 5 ranking after a 66-54 overtime victory on the road over Houghton Friday night.

In Boys Class D, No. 1 North Central (17-0) now stands as the last remaining undefeated boys team, and one of only two unbeaten teams in the Upper Peninsula, along with girls No. 1 Forest Park (18-0). The remaining road for the Jets isn’t exactly a cakewalk though. They hosted No. 2 Munising (15-2) Monday night, coming out with a 45-41 victory, and still have a road game at No. 4 Forest Park (15-1) on tap next week. The Trojans’ only loss was on the road to North Central. Munising’s only loss before Monday night was on the road against Marquette.

Also making its first appearance in the poll this week was No. 5 Dollar Bay (13-5). Dollar Bay secured its first Copper Country Conference title since 1979 with their 44-33 victory over Lake Linden-Hubbell, Thursday. Meanwhile, Superior Central (16-2) and Stephenson (16-2) swapped places in the poll this week for the second week in a row. The Cougars picked up three victories over the last week while the Eagles were upset at home by Norway. Superior Central was also able to clinch the Central U.P. Conference with its victory over Munising, Thursday.