The high school basketball playoffs are winding down, and there have been a lot of great performances on the court by our local teams. The Escanaba Eskymos may have lost their opening games in the boys and girls tournaments, but both played hard and filled the Escanaba High School Gym with enthusiastic students and supporters.
And the Bark River-Harris Broncos…Bronco Nation…also should be proud. The girls team made it all the way to the regional final before losing a double overtime heartbreaker. And the boys team also put up a great 16-5 season record, until they ran into the powerhouse North Central Jets. More on them in a moment.
I am writing to you now from the hotel room in Grayling, where the Gladstone Braves lost in the regional championship game to Ludington. They were behind by just three points in the first quarter but ended up losing by 15. Still, a great season for the Braves with 18 wins in 24 games. The Gladstone community has stepped up with tremendous support, with 150 students coming on three school buses tonight to cheer on their classmates.
I want to thank the businesses who put up the money that allowed the kids to ride those buses for free! See the picture above? That is Purple Pride right there.
And that brings me to the North Central Jets. The boys just keep on winning. They won their 80th straight game, fifth straight regional championship, and are still alive for a possible third straight state championship.
They were tested big time in a two-point win over Dollar Bay on Monday. But these boys came out with a mission against Rapid River tonight and got the job done. These NCA kids have played together forever. Heck, I remember broadcasting them in Little League ball when they were nine and ten years old. They are hard-working kids, and their coach, Adam Mercier, is a student of the game, and has done a great job of managing all of that talent.
It’s going to be a great ride over the next week with the Jets!
And one final word. The Rapid River Rockets and the Purple and Gold community came together for a fun couple of weeks as the boys won a district championship and made it to the regional final. I remember broadcasting Richard Poma’s games when he played, and now as a coach (Yep, I AM getting old!). I am proud of him for the way he has grown as a person, and as a leader that the Rapid River kids look up to. Lots of people older than Rich respect him.
So, while the past few weeks have been tiring, they have been exciting. Thank all of you for the positive comments you have given to MikeyD and myself for our broadcasts. We truly enjoy being a part of this great community.