Negaunee’s MHSAA state semifinal opponent Laingsburg relies on strength of guards

NEGAUNEE – Negaunee’s semifinal opponent on Thursday, Laingsburg, is a perimeter-oriented, experienced team starting four seniors and what are essentially a quartet of guards along with a 6-foot-4 center.

That’s according to the Lansing State Journal at its website,, as Laingsburg is a community about 15 miles northeast of Lansing, located about halfway between the state capital and Owosso.

The Wolfpack (23-2) is giving up just 34.9 points per game and features a pressure defense with eight seniors overall on the team.

They include Jake Zielinski, averaging 14.5 points per game through the district tournament and who scored 31 points in a victory over Grandville Calvin Christian and 25 vs. Muskegon Heights Academy in the regionals last week.

Teammate Shawn McKinney, at an 11.0 ppg clip through districts, had 21 vs. Grandville. The team’s senior center is Sam Edwards, who is its only real inside presence.

“I don’t think there is anything that they haven’t seen,” 24th year-coach Greg Mitchell of Laingsburg told the Lansing newspaper.

The co-champions with Pewamo-Westphalia of the Central Michigan Athletic Conference, the Wolfpack won its quarterfinal game over Beaverton, 42-32, on Tuesday.

Previous to that, Laingsburg edged Muskegon Heights 61-59 for the regional championship, getting there by downing Calvin Christian 61-52 in the regional semifinals.

And prior to that, the Wolfpack captured its district with a 53-38 win over Carson City-Crystal after opening tourney play with a victory over Pewamo-Westphalia.

Laingsburg was an honorable mention pick, effectively in 17th place with seven votes in the final Associated Press Class C state basketball poll released on March 5, two spots behind Pewamo-Westphalia.

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