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It's girls' basketball opening night!

December 2, 2008 - David Karnosky
Prep basketball season is officially upon us again, and for the second year in a row, it’s ladies first. There’s a full slate tonight in the Copper Country (Of the 11 teams in our coverage area, all but three are at home). Let’s take a brief look at the games, all of which start at about 7:20 p.m. tonight:

Marquette at Houghton

It’s almost a shame that this one is coming so early in the season, before the teams round into form and the fans’ passion for basketball is piqued. If you base it just on track record of returners, these two teams may be among the three or four best in the entire Upper Peninsula.

The Gremlins won 43-39 and 67-43 last year, with the later meeting taking place in Houghton. We’ll see if the Redettes can get the upper hand in this early meeting.

Escanaba at Calumet

All bets are off in this one. The Eskymos won 43-32 and 35-23 last year, but star guard Michelle Carne and post presence Jill Willette have both graduated, and the projected point guard, Danielle Beaudoin, tore up her knee in the annual Homecoming powderpuff football game. Leading returners for the Eskymos include forwards Alyssa Rogers and Delta Zoch.

Calumet has a deep bench this year if the team picture is any indication, as the Copper Kings go 14-strong. However, they’re only a week and a half removed from volleyball season, and have less practice time in than any other team in the U.P.

Dollar Bay at Hancock

After losing six seniors, coach Sara Moilanen and the Dollar Bay Bays have a tough first task, a road game at Hancock. Center candidates Mariah Marcol (sophomore) and Stephanie LeClaire (junior) will have their hands full with Hancock’s Maria Almquist, who impressed many with her efforts as a freshman on varsity last year.

Over in Chassell, the Panthers and the new-look L’Anse Purple Hornets face off in their only scheduled meeting this year. Baraga hits the road for its opener (the only one of our 11 teams on the road out of our coverage area) at Republic-Michigamme. The Hawks won only three games last year, but will feature Courtney Holsworth, a freshman sensation last year. For example, at North Central (a team that won its district) last year, Holsworth made five 3-pointers and scored 35 of her team’s 46 points. The first game of the post-Nancy Osier era takes place tonight in Ewen, where the E-TC Panthers host Ironwood. Jeffers welcomes the defending Porcupine Mountain Conference champion Watersmeet Nimrods. Finally, if the sound of the substitution horn drives you mad, I’d suggest a trip to Lake Linden tonight. The Lakes (who have only seven players) play Wakefield-Marinesco (who has six) in a contest not for the faint of heart.

Look for recaps of all of these games, plus Jeffers’s hockey debut at Negaunee and much more in tomorrow’s Daily Mining Gazette!


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