HOUGHTON - Given a second look at the U.P. basketball landscape, the polling panel of the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association downgraded several local teams.
Support eroded for two local teams (neither of which lost), but five remain ranked in the second poll of the year, released today.
One of the backsliders was Lake Linden-Hubbell, which received the same number of Class D boys' poll points as the week before (11), but dropped a spot after Cedarville jumped two positions to second.
North Central (5-0) remains the unanimous leader in the Class D ballot. Its only game last week was an 87-55 rout at Superior Central.
Cedarville, which dispatched Class C St. Ignace 76-57 Thursday, is up to No. 2 with 14 points, while Munising also dropped a spot after a 51-49 road win at Rapid River.
The Lakes are also ranked in the first Associated Press state Class D poll of the season, curiously receiving a first-place vote from one of the panelists, though being ranked seventh statewide.
U.P. Poll No. 2
1. Marquette (5) 6-0 25
2. Negaunee 7-1 20
3. Escanaba 5-2 14
4. Ironwood 6-1 9
5. Ishpeming 3-1 4
Others receiving votes: Gwinn (4-1) 3.
1. North Central (5) 5-0 25
2. Cedarville 6-1 14
3. Munising 5-0 12
4. Lake Linden-Hubbell 6-0 11
5. Carney-Nadeau 6-1 7
Others receiving votes: Forest Park (5-0) 6.
1. Marquette (5) 12-0 25
2. St. Ignace 8-2 18
3. Calumet 6-0 14
4. L'Anse 5-0 13
5. Houghton 7-1 5
1. Forest Park (5) 9-0 25
2. Stephenson 7-0 18
3. Superior Central 8-1 17
4. Brimley 5-1 9
5. Ontonagon 6-0 6
Carney-Nadeau (6-1) landed the fifth spot after back-to-back home victories over Mid Peninsula and Big Bay de Noc Thursday and Friday.
Munising beat C-N 57-44 Monday in a game taken after the poll was tabulated.
Forest Park (5-0) also received votes.
In Class ABC, the Marquette boys remain unanimously No. 1 after a nine-point road win at Menominee Friday.
Negaunee held on to No. 2 on all ballots, but skirted with disaster a couple times. In addition to a tough home win over L'Anse, the Miners overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to beat Ishpeming 57-55 Wednesday, capping the comeback on Eric Lori's three with 30 seconds left.
Escanaba remains No. 3, followed by Ironwood. Ishpeming surpassed Gwinn on the strength of its showing at Negaunee to take the No. 5 spot.
Gwinn, which plays Friday at Houghton, also received votes.
On the ladies' side, Marquette remains the unanimous No. 1 after downing Sault Ste. Marie 65-41 Friday.
St. Ignace, which beat Newberry by 20 Friday, is now solo No. 2 with 18 points after voters reconsidered the tie it was in with Calumet in the first poll of the season.
Calumet (6-0) is now solo third with 14 points going into tonight's marquee matchup with No. 5 Houghton (7-1, five points).
WestPAC rival L'Anse (5-0) remains between them in fourth with 13 points.
In girls' Class D voting, Forest Park is No. 1 on all ballots after its gala evening Friday for Lexi Gussert.
The U.P.'s new all-time leading scorer has 11 regular-season games and the postseason to add to her total (currently 2,131) after passing both Allison Bailey of Ewen-Trout Creek and Dominic Jacobetti Jr. of Negaunee St. Paul's in Friday's 71-41 home win over Bark River-Harris.
The Lady Trojans also won by 30 at Mid Peninsula Wednesday.
Stephenson is up a spot to No. 2 this week with 18 poll points. The Eagles, in Class D for the first time in recent history, remain unbeaten in their independent schedule, which already includes a victory over Class B Menominee.
They took advantage of a loss by previous No. 2 Superior Central.
The Cougars fell 48-45 at Ishpeming Tuesday night, breaking a 30-game regular season winning streak dating back to Feb. 9, 2012.
Brimley remains No. 4 this week, while Ontonagon holds at No. 5.
The Gladiators are the only local girls' team to have a state ranking, coming in at No. 10 in Class D this week.