All-U.P. Boys: Jets’ Mercier cops Coach of the Year
MARQUETTE – The North Central Jets were a force all season, finishing 25-1, including a 20-0 regular season in which they won both the CUP and Skyline Conferences.
Behind the scenes of the Jets balanced attack was head coach Adam Mercier, who for the second straight year, was named Class D Coach of the Year at the 64th Annual U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Boys Basketball Meeting on Wednesday.
Mercier and the Jets won back-to-back regional championships. Their path to the quarterfinals included overtime wins against Munising and Forest Park in the regionals, before a heartbreaking 81-79 loss to Cedarville, in the Class D state quarterfinal. Mercer managed a talent-heavy team that saw five different players score 20 points at least once this season. Five players scored in double figures on five occassions this season for the Jets and four players scored in double figures 12 times.
Carney-Nadeau’s Jake Polfus and Cedarville’s Dave Duncan each received votes for the award as well.
On the Class ABC side of things it was Negaunee’s Mike O’ Donnell nabbing Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season. O’Donnell guided a team led by senior guard Tyler Jandron, who also took home a pair of honors for the second straight season. Jandron was a near-unanimous pick on the Associated Press Class C All-State Team and a Dream Team selection. After orchastrating the Miners offense to another successful year, he was awarded the Class ABC Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive year.
O’Donnell led the Miners to the Breslin Center for the second consecutive season and coached them to a regional championship for the fourth straight year. The Miners, who were also named the Class C Team of the Year for the fourth straight season, finished 24-2. They fell 69-54 in the semifinals to eventual state champion Detroit Consortium.
The Class D Player of the Year was Cedarville’s Joey Duncan. The junior forward averaged 21 points per game. He also averaged three assists, three steals and three rebounds per contest while knocking down 56 percent of his shots. Duncan netted 34 points against North Central in a quarterfinal victory, helping to lead his team to the state semifinals. He edged North Central’s Travis Vincent for Player of the Year honors by the narrowest of margins in a contested 12-11 vote.
Cedarville, was named the Class D Team of the Year after finishing 23-3 and defeating North Central in the state quarterfinal.
Marquette was named the Class AB Team of the Year for the second straight season. The Redmen finished the regular season 17-1, with their only loss coming against Negaunee. Marquette also handed the Miners their only regular season loss of the season.