St. Ignace's formula for success

St. Ignace's formula for success

St. Ignace's formula for success

12/18/2018 | Feature | By Eden Laase |

Basketball, like most things in life, is constantly changing. Every season coaches and teams try to adapt to the latest and greatest — be it over-hyped trends or tried and true methods that are making their way into the mainstream. Basketball is in an eternal state of evolution.  But for almost 20 years the St. Ignace Saints have been stuck...


Podcast: Instant reaction to St. Ignace's rout of Kingsley, other UP analysis

2/11/2019 | Podcast | By Staff

Bryce and Eden discuss their impressions of St. Ignace dominating the No. 2 ranked team in Division 2, Kingsley. They also review the key happenings this past week in UP basketball along with previewing the upcoming matchups.

Girls Basketball

Emily Coveyou is leading the Saints with a major goal in mind

2/10/2019 | Girls Basketball | By Eden Laase |

Emily Coveyou has watched St. Ignace play in plenty of semifinal games. She’s watched the Saints in state titles, too. But one thing is missing. She’s never played in either of those games herself. And she really, really, really wants to.  “It is really important to me,” she said. “I’ve been one game away for the last three years. We...

Boys Basketball

NIT tournament set to return

2/7/2019 | Boys Basketball | By Jason Sutherland

The Negaunee Invitational Tournament has meant a lot to the people of Negaunee, and the entire UP for that matter. Starting in 1964, the tournament has had around 100 teams from all around the Midwest attend each year, providing a chance for everyone from the weekend warriors to the most polished basketball players to compete against one another. Now, after...

Girls Basketball

After historic season, Chassell is still figuring things out

2/7/2019 | Girls Basketball | By Eden Laase |

It was never going to be easy, and it was never going to be perfect. That was a given.   But how do you follow up a 26-2 season with a run to the state championship game? Last season the Chassell Panthers opened their season by losing to L’Anse. Then, they rattled off 26 straight wins, beating the odds and...

Boys Basketball

Fifth UPSSA Poll: Top teams retain spots

2/5/2019 | Boys Basketball | By Staff

This week's poll saw few changes, especially ones of importance. There were a few shifts at the bottom part of the polls, but the top teams remained the same. Here is the fifth poll of the season.


Podcast: Discussing the dramatic week that was

2/4/2019 | Podcast | By Staff

Despite the inclement weather, Upbeat's Bryce Derouin and Eden Laase discuss the dramatic week that was, including the firing of Baraga's Chris Loonsfoot, return of Marquette's Luke Ogea and Foster Wonders' tooth.

Boys Basketball

Baraga fires head coach Chris Loonsfoot

1/31/2019 | Boys Basketball | By Bryce Derouin

Chris Loonsfoot knew there would be challenges when he took over the Baraga boys basketball program following an 0-21 season. He envisioned a long-term turnaround for his alma mater — similar to what Dollar Bay has achieved — but after an 0-14 start in his second season, Loonsfoot was told he was fired from Baraga Athletic Director Amy Kraft-Lake after...

Boys Basketball

Dynamic Ogea makes his return for Marquette

1/30/2019 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase |

For a while, it felt like Luke Ogea might never play. First, it was a nasty ankle sprain. Then a concussion. Then, just when he was ready to get back on the court, mononucleosis took over.  It’s been almost a year since he played in a varsity game, and he only started practicing for real a week ago — but...

Boys Basketball

Fourth UPSSA Poll: Few minor changes

1/29/2019 | Boys Basketball | By Staff

Last week saw a shakeup in the UPSSA poll due to several upsets, but this week things stayed relatively the same. A few teams moved up or down a spot, but nothing major. Here is the fourth poll of the season:


The cold is here, and so is another podcast

1/28/2019 | Podcast | By Staff

In this episode, we touch on plenty of subjects, including: Tech-NMU thoughts, the Brimley-Engadine showdown that was, Marquette and Negaunee girls, Eden's favorite rivalries so far and more.

Boys Basketball

How Engadine is trying to shake things up with its own system

1/24/2019 | Boys Basketball | By Bryce Derouin |

Even now in its tamer state, in order to understand Engadine’s system, you have to throw out all prior notions you had about basketball. The quick 3 that came within the first five seconds? That’s by design. The platoon substitutions are, too. So is the constant full-court pressure that can turn any game into straight mayhem and a nightmare for...


Halfway pod: 10 things that stood out, C-N's Jake Polfus joins us

1/21/2019 | Podcast | By Staff

Bryce and Eden go over the 10 things that stood out so far on the boys and girls side. Jake Polfus joins the pod (37:28) to discuss his team's 8-3 start, what the No. 1 state ranking meant to his guys, things he'd like to change in high school basketball and more.

Girls Basketball

Madelyn Koski and the court that made her

1/18/2019 | Girls Basketball | By Eden Laase |

Madelyn Koski is perfect. At least she tries to be. And sometimes she tries not to be. Koski has a complicated relationship with perfection. Take today for example. It’s the Saturday before finals week and Koski is at home with her family, college basketball plays on the TV in the background. She likes to get up early, so as not...

Boys Basketball

Foster Wonders: The UP's most intriguing recruit

1/8/2019 | Boys Basketball | By Bryce Derouin |

There are numerous anecdotes that go into Foster Wonders being the most interesting UP recruit in recent history. There’s the one about him scrimmaging against the Michigan Tech men as an eighth-grader, pitting him against college athletes before he played his first high school game — and holding his own, at that. There’s the full scholarship offer he received from...

Boys Basketball

Marcus Harris does it all for Brimley

1/3/2019 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase |

Marcus Harris has a lot going on.  First, there’s his look. Carmel-hued curls bouncing atop his head, mid-calf socks covered in different colored stars, and purple and yellow Kobes on his feet. If that’s not enough to get your attention, the way Harris plays will. When it comes to the 8-0 Bays, it’s hard to nail down Harris’ role on...

Boys Basketball

Carney-Nadeau hopes to find shooting stroke in Holiday Tournament

12/27/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Bryce Derouin |

It’s a hypothetical that typically doesn’t need to be asked when discussing successful Carney-Nadeau teams: How good can this group be when it’s on from outside? And yet, it’s perhaps one of the biggest glaring issues for a Wolves team that’s 4-0.

Boys Basketball

How Young Coggs Prep found its way to the UP

12/27/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase |

Recently Young Coggs Prep, a small Christian school in Milwaukee, added a new 3D art program to its list of classes. While that has been an innovative and exciting course for the students, it doesn’t seem like something that would affect UP basketball — but it does.

Boys Basketball

Rebuilding: Menominee aims to continue growth

12/26/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Jason Sutherland |

The Menominee Maroons have had a tough start to their season, but coach Sam Larson is not concerned, or at least he does not show it. Larson, in his second year as the head coach of the Maroons, has a young team — one that relies on its underclassmen to handle most of the workload due to only having two...

Boys Basketball

Escanaba prepares for speed of Young Coggs Prep

12/26/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Keith Shelton |

For the Escanaba Eskymos to win the Carney-Nadeau Holiday Tournament, first they'll have to face their demons.  Young Coggs Prep appears to be everything Escanaba isn't, and that will pose plenty of challenges for head coach Tracy Hudson and the Eskymos when they face off at 5:15 p.m. CST, Thursday. The host team will play Menominee at approximately 7 p.m.

Girls Basketball

St. Ignace's formula for success

12/18/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Eden Laase |

Basketball, like most things in life, is constantly changing. Every season coaches and teams try to adapt to the latest and greatest — be it over-hyped trends or tried and true methods that are making their way into the mainstream. Basketball is in an eternal state of evolution.  But for almost 20 years the St. Ignace Saints have been stuck...

Boys Basketball

Carney-Nadeau's Jake Polfus is right at home

12/13/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Bryce Derouin |

It’s nearly a month before Carney-Nadeau’s season opener against Rapid River and Jake Polfus is ready to reflect as he prepares for his 11th season as C-N’s head coach. He comfortably leans back in his chair inside an office, just steps away from the entrance to the hallowed gym as balls bounce and shots are thrown up by those still...

Boys Basketball

Ojala, Johnson's PG battles go way back

12/10/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase |

There was a lot going on in Iron Mountain’s 78-71 win over Calumet on Friday. From Foster Wonder’s game-tying buzzer beater to Brevin Antilla’s 3-point shooting, to Iron Mountain’s 3-2 defense and Calumet’s end-of-regulation run, it was insanity all around. But in the midst of all that drama were two of the best point guards in the UP: Matt Ojala...

Girls Basketball

Gladstone's Crow, Escanaba's Kamin, Chaillier bring dynamic elements to their programs

12/6/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Keith Shelton |

For what seems like forever, the Escanaba and Gladstone girls basketball teams have seemed to fit an archetype. Escanaba would have the six-footers. The score in the paint and post-up team, the win the battle of the boards team. Gladstone would bring a guard-heavy lineup and seek to muddle things up, create turnovers and generally make life miserable for the...

Girls Basketball

Negaunee doesn't mind being under radar

12/4/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Bryce Derouin |

Eight months later, one of the worst defeats in Brandon Sager’s coaching career still hangs over his head.  Literally.  Banners are meant to honor teams and players for their extraordinary feats so they may be remembered by the community for years to come. And perhaps someday Sager and the Negaunee Miners who went 20-0 will be able to look back...

Girls Basketball

Big 3 for Marquette set the tone

12/4/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Eden Laase |

If you’ve played basketball at any level, be it peewee or college, you’ve heard it: “Pass up a good shot to get a great shot.” It’s a motto coaches love. Well, not all coaches.  Marquette’s Ben Smith doesn’t necessarily agree with that notion, at least when it comes to his team this season.  The Redettes are equipped with plenty of...

Girls Basketball

Now in Division 3, BR-H gears up for larger schools

12/3/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Bryce Derouin |

The disappointed manifested itself with each 3 that clanked off the rim. Over and over, the Bark River-Harris coaches and players on the bench anxiously stood up each time a high-arching 3 floated in the air as if they were trying to will it in. But no amount of willpower could compensate for BR-H’s major weakness in a 55-53 regional...

Girls Basketball

Charismatic Reichel looks for depth to key Ishpeming

12/3/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Eden Laase |

Madison Pruett finds herself in a tough spot. The senior is trapped in the corner with a defender on each side. But she doesn’t panic. Instead, Pruett flips a pass to a teammate, waiting wide open under the hoop for an easy bucket.  “Pruett!” Coach Ryan Reichel calls out. She turns with a concerned look on her face. “That was...

Girls Basketball

Top 25 girls countdown

12/3/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Bryce Derouin

For the first time, a preseason player rankings poll was conducted to rate the top 25 boys and girls basketball players in the UP. Five coaches and Bryce Derouin of Upbeat ranked the girls on a 25-point scale. A first-place vote warranted 25 points, while second-place was worth 24 and so on. The coaches included one from the Copper Country,...

Girls Basketball

Now experienced, West Iron Country is ready to take the next step

12/2/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Eden Laase |

There’s a loose ball rolling toward the baseline. It bounces gently out of bounds, approaching the padded wall, but the Wykons don’t stop. Instead, players fight for the ball and continue to play. In the West Iron County gym, there are no out of bounds — in practice that is.  It’s one of the many strategies head coach Eric Shamion...

Boys Basketball

Versatile Nash prepared to lead Escanaba

12/2/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Keith Shelton |

The Escanaba Eskymos are pressed for time. "Push it," shouts veteran head coach Tracy Hudson from across the gym floor. The Eskymos have a short window to prepare for the season due to a lengthy postseason football run, and Hudson begins to shout another command, but from a certain vantage point, it's hard to tell what it is. Hudson is...

Girls Basketball

West Iron County's Eden Golliher has a lot to say

12/2/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Eden Laase |

When Eden Golliher talks, she seems nervous. The junior speaks in rapid bursts, the words falling out of her mouth so quickly that she occasionally stumbles over them. Her spoken thoughts are punctuated by deep breaths and wide smiles, while the hands she’s been waving around to emphasize her points settle once again by her sides. But Golliher isn’t nervous,...

Girls Basketball

Experienced Laho ready to take over Calumet

11/29/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Jason Sutherland |

Matt Laho does not raise his voice very often, if at all. During one of his practices, you can hardly distinguish his voice from the others on the floor. There is a calmness about him, but when he speaks his players listen. Such calmness is surprising, considering that Laho is a first-year varsity head coach, and a coach with big...

Girls Basketball

Houghton aims to continue winning tradition

11/28/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Jason Sutherland |

The Houghton Gremlins girls basketball program is steeped in tradition. It seems every season, there is another Gremlin team winning a conference or district championship. The last year without a district title occurred in the 2013-2014 season. Such dominance is not typical in high school sports, especially in the UP, where exceptional players can be few and far between. Some...

Boys Basketball

Quigley, Gladstone ready to build on last season's success

11/27/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase

When Dane Quigly was tabbed as the Gladstone varsity coach last season there weren’t any nerves or fears. After all, he had made the jump from JV to varsity before, and this time, he was much more prepared. 

Boys Basketball

LL-H aims to make strides after 4-17 season

11/27/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Jason Sutherland

There is a feeling of optimism surrounding the Lake Linden-Hubbell boys basketball team. That may be surprising, considering the Lakes are coming off their worst season since 2010-11. “We didn’t have success last year, and that’s my concern,” head coach Jack Kumpula said. “We need to get started fast and get things going on and put last year behind us.”

Boys Basketball

Onto's Polakowski looks to continue program's tradition of talented bigs

11/27/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Jason Sutherland

Ontonagon has a rich history of boys basketball players, especially players of great size and strength. Growing up in the Copper Country, you are bound to hear stories about the incredible size that the teams from Ontonagon invariably had year to year — kids who were just bigger and stronger than everyone else. This season, after graduating six seniors, the...

Boys Basketball

A quiet talent: Matt Ojala looks to cement legacy at Calumet

11/26/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Bryce Derouin

Labeling anyone the best at anything is tricky business. You assuredly will be met with some sort of counter-argument when using terms such as “greatest” or any other phrase marking someone as the finest at their craft. But, there are exceptions. Those are the individuals who warrant the discussion based on their impressive resumes that can stand up against others’...

Boys Basketball

Rapid River's Sundling ready to take next step

11/26/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Keith Shelton

Tyler Sundling is riding high these days. Just over a week ago, he was the hero for the Rapid River Rockets' first eight-person football state title. Sundling scored two touchdowns and rushed for over 100 yards in the championship game against Onekama. Now in his junior season, Sundling will officially take command of the Rockets basketball team. Sundling has enjoyed...

Boys Basketball

Iron Mountain's Marcus Johnson doesn't care what you think

11/26/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase

We all feel emotional pain differently. Some get over the feeling quickly, some take a slow and steady approach, and others allow that pain to make a home inside them; motivating, influencing and dictating everything they do. When Marcus Johnson was 14 he watched his older brother Kyle lose his last high school game — a devastating 51-46 defeat at...

Boys Basketball

Iron Mountain's role players make Mountaineers elite

11/25/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase

After 29 years of coaching at Iron Mountain, and 19 as a head coach, Bucky Johnson can be considered an authority on Mountaineers basketball. He’s seen good teams, bad teams, great teams and everything in between, but he’s never seen anything like this.  “I would have to say that the last time I saw a team with this much talent...

Boys Basketball

Top 25 boys countdown

11/25/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Bryce Derouin

For the first time, a preseason player rankings poll was conducted to rate the top 25 boys and girls basketball players in the UP. Six coaches and Bryce Derouin of Upbeat ranked the boys on a 25-point scale. A first-place vote warranted 25 points, while second-place was worth 24 and so on. The coaches included two from the Copper Country,...

Boys Basketball

Zawacki aiming to continue strong BR-H tradition

11/24/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase

Almost everything is new for the Bark River-Harris Broncos this season: A new coach, a new cast of players and a new division.  The coach is BR-H grad and long-time resident Marc Zawacki. The players are six seniors that didn’t see significant varsity time last season, and the division is Division 3 — a change for a team that has...

Girls Basketball

Koski, Leece prepare to bring Westwood to next level

11/24/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Eden Laase

Tessa Leece and Madelyn Koski don’t have to talk or even look at each other to know what the other is thinking. Their bond is so strong, Leece says, that the two have telepathy. The phenomena of assessing someone’s thoughts and feelings without needing any cues is commonly associated with twins, but Leece and Koski aren’t twins. They aren’t even...

Boys Basketball

Chassell sets sights on district title

11/23/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Jason Sutherland

The Chassell Panthers have one thing on the mind these days: a district championship. With a roster mostly made up of returning players from last year’s 12-8 team and a few potential contributors coming up from the junior varsity team, the question asked was a simple one: Why not? With many teams in the conference graduating talented players, the Panthers...

Boys Basketball

Gladstone's Reece Castor is ready for anything

11/23/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Bryce Derouin

Reece Castor’s indoctrination to basketball occurred before he could learn proper shooting technique or how to dribble with his opposite hand. It happened at a time when most toddlers his age could be entertained with cartoons and toys. But for Reece, he found his joy in basketball. It started with his dad, Clayton, bringing little Reece to his men’s league...

Girls Basketball

Rivest preaches fundamentals to LL-H girls

11/20/2018 | Girls Basketball | By Jason Sutherland

Bill Rivest is a quiet man. If you walked into the Lake Linden-Hubbell girls practice, you would not hear the sound of a typical coach yelling out instructions. Rather, you would hear the squeaking of the shoes, the balls hitting the floor and the team communicating amongst themselves. No yelling. No wild gestures. No gimmicks. Just basketball. Rivest brings a...

Boys Basketball

The makings of Marquette's Marius Grazulis

11/19/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase

At 2:20 p.m., the Marquette high school bell rings and students flood the halls, ready to head home after a long day of learning. Mere moments after the sound echoes through the school, Marius Grazulis is already dressed for basketball practice. He’s ready so early, in fact, that coach Brad Nelson hasn’t even arrived, so there isn’t a basketball in...

Boys Basketball

Gwinn's athletic Taylor ready to show off expanded game

11/18/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Bryce Derouin

You notice Tucker Taylor when he steps onto a basketball court. His chiseled 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame is akin to a college middle linebacker. Then you see him move — there’s an explosive first step and a quick-twitch spring when he elevates into the air.   It’s not hyperbole to suggest that no other player this season will possess the equivalence...

Boys Basketball

Negaunee's backcourt of Waterman, Sager will be key to success

11/18/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase

The quick handle, the explosive drives to the lane, the impeccable court vision — it all looks a little too familiar to Dan Waterman.  It takes him back to a different time, a different court, a different uniform. Then, he hated that lethal combination of skills.  Now, he loves it. It’s a cold evening in early November. A light dusting...

Boys Basketball

After dramatic offseason, Negaunee's Waterman sets out to change

11/16/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Bryce Derouin

Dan Waterman doesn’t like what he sees, but it’s what he can’t hear that bothers him most. He stops the intrasquad scrimmage and his deep voice bellows out across the Negaunee middle school gym. “The biggest difference between college basketball and high school is the communication on defense,” he says. “If you don’t talk at the college level, you don’t...

Boys Basketball

Boddy aims to turn around Manistique

11/15/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Keith Shelton

Prototypical basketball teams fit the standard archetype. An adept distributor at point guard, a hot shooting wing, a lane-clogging rebounder, and a couple posts down low. Many coaches would ideally pick a team that fits those molds. But high school athletics have always had a luck of the draw component. A technique can be taught, but genetics? You get what you...

Boys Basketball

Energetic Malone ready to lead North Central program

11/14/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase

The feet move quickly. In, out, in, out: barely touching the ground as they complete a ladder drill designed to improve athletes’ quickness. Then the feet shuffle along the 3-point line and curl around a metal chair. They plant at the free throw line, creating a base for the perfect jump shot. The ball falls through the hoop and a line of North...

Boys Basketball

Jake Witt: The UP's biggest star is ready for his next stage

11/6/2018 | Boys Basketball | By Eden Laase

Tandlund Lake Road looks like it could go on forever. It’s covered in gravel and marked with gentle bumps and divots, lined with storybook-style trees — tall and full and perfectly green. But before one can explore the potential infinity of the road, there’s a little turnoff. After a few soft corners, the road opens up to reveal Tandlund Lake...