MARQUETTE - Putting the ball in the basket on a consistent basis at the varsity level isn't an easy task.
Ewen-Trout Creek's Dillon Gordon only made it look that way this season. For that reason, Gordon was one of five U.P. boys' basketball players named to the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association all-class Dream Team.
The 5-foot-11 senior was an easy choice for the 23 UPSSA members who met Wednesday at the Don H. Bottum University Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University.
Ewen-Trout Creek’s Dillon Gordon pulls up for a shot during a January game at Lake Linden-Hubbell. Gordon was named to the All-U.P. Dream Team in voting released today.
Gordon averaged 28.5 points per game in the regular season. Only one of the Panthers' 20 regular season opponents held him under 18 points and Gordon had nine games of 30 or more this season and 15 such games in his career. His season high of 43 came against Houghton, co-champion of the Class C WestPAC and a Class C regional finalist.
Unfortunately for both him and the Panthers, Gordon suffered a high ankle sprain at Bessemer in the regular season finale, preventing him from making that same offensive impact in the postseason. Still, he finished his E-TC career with 1,797 points, more than enough for him to earn a place as the second-highest scorer among the best players in an already star-studded Panther program.
He fell just short of Class D Player of the Year honors, however, due to another outstanding effort from Mid Peninsula senior Brett Branstrom, who was not only an elite scorer (at 1,785 career points, just 12 short of Gordon) but an unparalleled rebounder. Branstrom, who was also elected to the Dream Team, hauled in an average of 21.1 boards per game.
Both were selected to the Associated Press All-State team but Branstrom prevailed in a narrow decision in the voting to become the Delta County school's first U.P. player of the year since brother Carl Branstrom earned the honor in 2006.
Three Class D players made Dream Team for the third consecutive year, with the third being Carney-Nadeau guard Wade Schetter. Schetter, a Class D First Team pick like Gordon last year, averaged 22.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 5.1 steals a game. He led the Wolves to the state semifinals at the Breslin Center as a junior and finished just 12 steals short of the state record and as C-N's all-time leading scorer with 1,561 points (not counting points scored as an eighth-grader, which the Michigan High School Athletic Association does not count for records purposes).
The only unanimous selection to the Dream Team was Negaunee junior guard Tyler Jandron. Jandron led the Miners as deep as any team in the U.P. and averaged 18.1 points a game as his team went 19-1 in the regular season and also earned Class C Team of the Year honors. His coach, Mike O'Donnell, was the Class ABC Coach of the Year for the second time after first taking the award in 2008.
Marquette forward Mark Pap, a 6-6 senior, is the fifth Dream Teamer. He fell just short of averaging a double-double with 13.3 points and 9.5 rebounds. MSHS was the consensus No. 2 team in the UPSSA Class ABC poll and won Class AB Team of the Year honors.
The Class D Team of the Year is the 17-3 North Central Jets, also state semifinalists. Their coach, Adam Mercier, received Class D Coach of the Year honors for the first time for his efforts with the group, which includes no seniors.