All-U.P. Girls Basketball: L’Anse’s Lloyd, Forest Park’s Syrjanen named top coaches

MARQUETTE – Guiding the L’Anse High School girls basketball team to its best season in years has paid off for Scott Lloyd.

Wednesday in Marquette, Lloyd was named the Upper Peninsula Class ABC Coach of the Year by members of the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association in voting on the Northern Michigan University campus.

He picked up 16 votes to eight for Dorene Ingalls of St. Ignace.

With no player taller than 5-9, Lloyd used an uptempo style of play to take the Purple Hornets to a 17-3 overall record and a 7-1 mark in the WestPac for a share of that league title with Houghton.

Paced by Dream Team selection Madi Swanson, L’Anse – with a 60-45 victory over Houghton on Dec. 10 – is the only Copper Country team to have beaten Houghton since 1999.

The Hornets have now done it twice, including a 60-56 triumph in overtime in 2012-13.

Lloyd is the first LHS girls head coach to be so honored by the UPSSA since Carol Seavoy in 1976 – the first season the UPSSA began citing coaches.

Ingalls, leading St. Ignace to the sate Class C championship game, took the Saints to an 18-2 regular season record.

The squad, behind Class ABC Player of the Year Kelley Wright, claimed the Straits Area Conference crown with an 8-0 mark.

Now 316-59 in her career, Ingalls has earned UPSSA coaching accolades four times (2000, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2012-13).

In Class D, Forest Park’s Jeff Syrjanen claimed the Coach of the Year nod. He collected 12 votes.

First-year Stephenson coach Mark Simon picked up 10, while Watersmeet’s Norm Ellenberger and Ontonagon’s Dick Franti recorded one each.

With two-time U.P. Class D Player of the Year and Michigan State University recruit Lexi Gussert leading the way, Syrjanen took the Trojans to a 20-0 mark overall and the Skyline Conference crown with a 12-0 record.

Syrjanen, whose Trojans made the state Class D championship game, now has 170 career wins in his nine years at Forest Park.

Simon, a former Stephenson and NMU star, saw his unaffiliated Eagles post a 17-2 mark with three sophomores in the starting lineup.

With Class D First Team pick Tiffany Wangerin providing a major spark, Stephenson ran off a 10-game winning streak to start the season.

Ellenberger coached Watersmeet to a 12-6 record, while Franti, who posted his 500th career win this season, guided Ontonagon to a 12-7 mark (8-2 in the Copper Country Conference).