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Braves overlooked in boys basketball Team of Year

April 7, 2010
By Dennis Grall

ESCANABA - Fans of Gladstone High School's boys basketball team were disappointed and probably even upset when the Braves did not receive U.P. Class A-B Team of the Year honors this season.

It is understandable. Menominee earned the nod in voting by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. In fact, the Maroons were the only team nominated.

The Maroons (14-7) beat Gladstone (18-6) twice during the regular season and won the Great Northern Conference title despite returning just one starter from last year's title team.

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Dennis Grall

Gladstone then beat the Maroons in the Class B district opener and advanced to the regional final.

"It was the one thing I was really hoping for," Gladstone coach Dale Hongisto said Monday. "I was disappointed and I had questions. We made a good case for Team of the Year."

He's right. The Braves should have been considered.

The blame lies right here. All-U.P. nominations were submitted when the regular season ended, when Menominee undeniably had the upper hand.

However, the record should have been upgraded at the meeting and Gladstone should have been a write-in nomination, as was done for some players.

It simply never registered, and it is on my head.

The oversight didn't even hit me until two days later, when I was writing the boys All-U.P. stories Thursday, after finishing the girls All-U.P. articles.

It is impossible to guess how the vote would have gone had Gladstone and Menominee both been nominated. A good case can be made for both teams.

However, Gladstone had to be nominated to at least have a chance for the award and I failed to do that.

"If we could have been included in the vote, I think we would have gotten more votes than Menominee," said Hongisto. "I want to make it clear this has nothing against Menominee, and everything to do with my team."

The absence of Gladstone senior John Cretens on the all-star team also generated some discussion.

It may be harsh when you read it in black and white, but players are only supposed to be nominated for All-U.P., not for honorable mention. That is the policy at this meeting, as well as at the Associated Press all-state meeting. To use a phrase from Harry Atkins of the AP, nominate blue chippers only.

The purpose is to enable the voters, who obviously have not seen most nominees, to focus on selecting THE BEST players.

Unfortunately, some UPSSA members ignored that long-standing policy and did submit nominations simply to get a player from their area on the HM list.

Cretens was a fine player and definitely belonged with those HM names, either those who did not get a vote or those who were nominated simply for that reason.

However, I'll let you decide where Cretens fits in the pecking order of players nominated by The Daily Press, which is the only area organization to handle the responsibility and provide information at the meeting.

The area Class A-B-C nominees, in alphabetical order, were Tyler Englund, Kollin Jensen, Kent King, Gunnar Mickelson, Steve Seronko, Quinn Wakefield. Matt Baker's name was added, by another media outlet, at the meeting solely for HM purposes.

A total of 34 players were nominated, for 15 spots.

All-star selections are difficult at best. A lot of preparation is put into the matter because it is important, and I talk to a variety of coaches and officials to get their views before settling on my pecking order.

Unfortunately, some players do get overlooked.

Jerry Root of WDBC radio was the only other UPSSA member from Delta County at the meeting.



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