Marquette, Negaunee, Superior Central in hunt for boys regional basketball titles

MARQUETTE – The boys take over the spotlight this week in MHSAA basketball tournaments as all area girls teams have been eliminated from further play.

The last area girls team to bow out was Ishpeming (17-7), which made it to Wednesday’s MHSAA Class C regional final before succumbing to Houghton (22-2), one of three Upper Peninsula girls teams still alive with the quarterfinal round to be played Tuesday.

The other U.P. teams still playing are St. Ignace (24-0) and Forest Park (23-1), who face each other in Class D in Escanaba. The Gremlins face downstate Shelby (21-3) in Petoskey.

For the boys, three area teams have advanced out of district tournaments for regional semifinals to be played tonight, weather permitting. A total of 11 U.P. teams, more than half in Class D, are still alive at this stage of the tourney.

Here is a roundup of the regionals involving U.P. teams, listed with those involving area teams first:

Class A in Gaylord

Marquette (19-3) opens regional play against Muskegon (17-6) at 7 p.m. today in Gaylord. The other semifinal in this region will be played at the same time in Cedar Springs between Hudsonville (16-7) and Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern (17-6).

Cedar Springs hosts the 7 p.m. regional finale with the survivor advancing to Lansing Sexton for a quarterfinal game against the Richland Gull Lake regional champion at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19.

The Gull Lake region looks balanced with Lansing Waverly (19-4), Grand Rapids Christian (17-6), Holt (17-6) and Kalamazoo Loy Norrix (16-7).

Class C in Escanaba

Negaunee (21-1) squares off against the Harbor Springs (11-11) at 6 p.m. today, with the second game of the doubleheader pitting Norway (7-13) against Houghton (14-7) at 8 p.m.

The championship game is 7 p.m. Wednesday, with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, in Gaylord against the Traverse City West regional winner.

The TC West regional favorites by win-loss records are Leroy Pine River (20-2) and Maple City Glen Lake (21-2).

Class D in Negaunee

In one of two Class D regionals involving U.P. teams, Superior Central (16-7) returns to Negaunee’s Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium, where it won back-to-back regionals in 2010 and 2011, the latter en route to a run to the state semifinals.

This year, SC faces North Central (20-3) at 6 p.m. today with the nightcap involving Chassell (11-9) and Forest Park (14-8) at 7:30 p.m.

The regional title will be decided at Lakeview at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, with the victor advancing to the quarterfinals on Tuesday, March 19, against the Pellston regional winner.

The quarterfinal is tentatively scheduled for 8 p.m. at Marquette Senior High School, but will be moved if the game doesn’t involve a western U.P. team, according to MSHS athletic coordinator Jamie Tuma.

Class B in Grayling

Gladstone (10-11) will be a decided underdog having to play a true road game against the home team, Grayling (18-5). The other matchup is Bay City John Glenn (12-11) and Cadillac (17-4), with the championship at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Class D at Pellston

Cedarville (21-1) should be favored to first beat St. Ignace (16-6) at 5:30 p.m. today, then on Wednesday to defeat the winner of today’s other semifinal between Hillman (16-5) and Pellston (5-17).

This regional winner faces the Negaunee region victor in the quarterfinals, either in Marquette or else likely somewhere in the eastern U.P.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.