Craig Remsburg column: Semifinal appearances by Miners a special achievement

Some fans can accept nothing but a season-ending championship from the team they follow.

Anything less is failure, something they can’t stomach.

With the Negaunee High School boys basketball team, losing its second straight state Class C semifinal game is anything BUT failure.

Sure, head coach Mike O’Donnell and his players would have liked to have at least advanced to the championship game both seasons, if not claim the title.

That was their ultimate goal at the beginning of both seasons. That and winning the Mid-Peninsula Conference championship and perhaps beating a heated rival or two in head-to-head matchups.

You have to set lofty goals, even if they might be longshots to realize. If you don’t, you may not have the desire, the intensity to realize your full potential.

But losses to Laingsburg (45-43) last season and Detroit Consortium (69-54) on Thursday brought an end to the Miners’ dreams of capturing a state crown.

You can bet O’Donnell and Co. are disappointed they didn’t get a chance to compete in the championship game either season.

They worked so hard and came so far to merit a chance to realize their dream(s), only to fall just short of their ultimate goal.

But they have to be proud of the fact they made it to the semifinals two seasons in a row. Most teams in the state would be thrilled to compete in one, let alone back-to-back semis like NHS.

There are many, many teams across the state who would liked to have been in the Miners’ shoes. Winning four straight regional titles and playing in two state semifinal contests is a special achievement.

I covered six Negaunee boys games this season. In each, there were some thrilling individual plays – by different NHS players – that made each contest exciting to watch.

There were many dreary games played this past season in the central Upper Peninsula, but the Miners weren’t involved in any of them.

It’s a cliche to say the Miners should hold their heads up high for another exceptional season of basketball and not consider failing to reach the state championship game either this season or last a failure.

When you finish 24-2 overall like O’Donnell and his Miners did EACH of the past two seasons, there’s an awful lot to be proud of.

Here’s hoping the Miners never forget that.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is