"This group of photos includes a few taken by my friend Larry Holcombe, former sports editor of the Ironwood Daily Globe and now the managing editor of the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette. Larry and I covered many different sporting events together over the years, including Wisconsin state girls softball championships, Michigan high school boys quarterfinals and semifinal basketball games, football playoffs, and once interviewed major league pitching coach Dick Pole when he was with the Montreal Expos. Dick Pole is the current pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds, " Frank Solle
They simply weren't going to be denied. Not by injuries or sprains, not by colds or by the flu. And not by their long-time rivals from Mackinac Island.
No, the Lady Islanders flew to Escanaba and bussed to Hannahville with one mission in mind — win the second annual Northern Lights League post-season tournament championship.
This time the banner held true: Mission Accomplished.
Briana moves in...
The Islanders easily defeated Grand Marais 65-26 in the early-bird 9:00 am game Saturday morning then waited through three more games before facing off against the Lakers in the title tilt at 3:00 pm as Mackinac had upset the tournament host Soaring Eagles in the other semifinal game, 33-19.
And while the Lakers managed to overcome an early four-point deficit to forge an 18-13 halftime lead, there was no upset in the works this time as the Islanders stormed back to double the Lakers 16-8 over the third quarter to regain the lead 29-26 going into the final eight minutes of play on the season.
Deven drives.....and Heather cruises...
The Lady Islanders took control of their title destiny early in the final frame, outscoring the Lakers 10-2 over the first four and a half minutes of the fourth period to open a commanding 39-28 lead. After that senior center Heather McDonough keep the Lakers at bay, scoring the final six points of the Islanders' season with unselfish assists from junior Alex Kuligoski, leading the Green and White to a 45-34 victory.
McDonough finished with 14 points, followed by Kuligoski, who played through horrific flu-like symptoms, with 11 and fellow senior Deven Cook with 10. Briana Maudrie added six with the team's final senior Maeve Green netting four.
Jenna Battle trapped...
In their morning game 10 of the 11 team members found the net, led by Maudrie with 12 and Cook with 11. The other totals included Kristy Bousquet eight, Jenna Butler, Claire Kenwabikise, and Green with six, and McDonough, Olivia Schwartzfisher, Jenna Battle, and Brogan Maudrie all with four.
Olivia lets fly...
In the other tournament games Grand Marais beat Paradise 44-34 to reach the semifinals while Mackinac Island topped Ojibwe 66-5 before facing Hannahville.
The tournament wins cap a successful season that saw the Lady Islanders claim their second league title in as many years with a 9-1 league mark. Overall the team finished the season with a 14-3 record.
Northern Lights League Tournament Champs!!
With three of 10 players absent and five of the seven players present sick, it was not an enviable position for the Islanders boys basketball team to be in as they took to the court last Friday at Hannahville for the opening game of the Northern Lights League post-season tournament against the Grand Marais Polar Bears.
Pledge of Allegiance
And although seven players did suit up, only three — senior Patrick Cull and juniors Dereck McDonough and Cameron LaVasseur — were upperclassmen and regular starters. The others included freshman and part-time starter Billy Lemmink, freshman and now starter Michael McCafferty, and middle-schoolers eighth-grader McCauley Connaghan and seventh-grader Ron Marsh.
But once the game tipped off you would have thought the five Islanders on the court had played together as a cohesive unit for an entire season. They shook off a slow start and closed within one point at the end of the first quarter, 9-8. Then they put together a strong 9-4 run to open the second quarter before going on a late-quarter seven-point spree to build a 24-15 lead. Only a late Polar Bear triple marred the run as Grand Marais closed the gap to 24-18 at the break.
Three more Grand Marais threes during the third quarter spelled doom for the Islanders, however. As did the pressure of playing without a break while playing under the weather. Two late Islanders baskets and a free throw pulled them within 35-29 going into the final quarter.
Three driving buckets by McDonough and a trey by Cull helped bring the Islanders within four at 42-38 with just under four minutes to play, but by then LaVasseur had picked up his fifth foul. McDonough claimed his fifth infraction at the two-minute mark and Cull was called for his fifth on an aggressive offensive move with 1:22 to play. That left just the four younger players on the floor for the Islanders, but much to their credit they did all they could, fouling Polar Bears at one end and launching three-point shots at the other, showing the future of Islanders basketball has a great deal of heart as the young quartet battled to the final count of 49-38.
Both Cull and McDonough scored 14 with LaVasseur adding 10 as the Islanders closed out the season with a 5-12 overall record.
Dereck goes hard to the basket ..Michael looks to shoot... Patrick drives to the basket..............
The highlight of the tournament was the tremendous performance put in by Mackinac Island senior Michael Gamble who poured in 52 points against Grand Marais in a 93-72 Lakers semifinal win, and then 41 more in the championship game as Mackinac, the league's regular season champ, topped host Hannahville 85-75 in the boys final. Hannahville defeated Paradise 83-35 in the other semifinal.
Northern Lights League future for the Islanders...