2017-04-13 / Sports

Saints Girls Basketball Team Named Class C Team of Year

By Kevin R. Hess

The St. Ignace Lady Saints basketball team experienced success on the hardwood this year, finishing 22-3 and advancing to the quarterfinals for an eighth consecutive year. That success did not go unnoticed, as Saints players and the team earned several U.P. and All-State postseason awards. The Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association (UPSSA) honored St. Ignace as the 2016-2017 Class C team of the year, also for the eighth consecutive year. Junior Linnie Gustafson, who averaged a double-double (14.9 points, 10 rebounds) for the Saints, was named to the Class ABC First Team and senior Jordan Belleville was named to the Second Team.

“It’s quite an honor to be named the Class C team of the year,” said Saints Coach Dorene Ingalls. The individual awards are all wonderful, and I’m happy for Jordan because she’ll get to represent St. Ignace in the U.P. all-star game.”

Noting that it is uncommon for more than two players from one team to get selected, Coach Ingalls highlighted the play of Jade Edelman, Emily Coveyou, and Keshia Davis.

“Not everyone can get selected for postseason awards, but to not mention these other girls would be a disservice, as this is what made our team great; we relied on a committee,” she said. “Any one of those girls could be our team MVP. That makes our team truly the team of the year.”

Gustafson, who was out of the country during spring break, returned to messages of congratulations from Coach Ingalls.

“(Receiving awards) is always unexpected, but it’s exciting,” said Gustafson. “It gives me goals for next year to keep improving. I’m most proud of the team award. I’m just glad we weren’t the team to break the streak,” she joked.

Belleville, who recently became the first female athlete to sign with Bay College to play basketball, said the honor was special for her.

“It rewards all the effort that was put in, not only during the season, but in the off-season, as well,” she said.

Both girls credited their teammates for pushing them and making them better players.

“Our teammates are big reasons that we were able to win these awards,” said Gustafson. “We were competing every day in practice against great athletes. They definitely made us better.”

“These awards are never just about us,” said Belleville.

Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM), Detroit News Announce All-State Teams

The Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) recently announced their “BCAM’s Best” (formerly all-state teams), the top 20 players in Class A, B, C, and D. For the girls, in Class C, St. Ignace’s Linnie Gustafson was named to the team, while Jordan Belleville and Emily Coveyou received Honorable Mention. Pickford’s Kayla Rambo was named to the Class D team, and teammate Taylor Opolka received Honorable Mention. Gustafson and Belleville both received Academic All-State honors, and St. Ignace received Honorable Mention Team Academic All-State honors, with a team grade point average of 3.495. St. Ignace’s Jade Edelman, and Mackinaw City’s Mya Curth received the BCAM Team First Award, given to players that exemplify a “team first” attitude. This was the first year for the Team First Award.

Edelman said she was honored to receive the award.

“It was a good feeling,” she said. “I’ve always tried to be a team player, even if it meant passing up my own shot.”

Coach Ingalls was proud to see Edelman honored for her selfless play and attitude.

“This award epitomizes Jade because she was all about the team first,” said Coach Ingalls. “She was the cog that kept our team moving. She is a special player. That doesn’t always show on a stat sheet.”

On the boys’ side, Pickford’s Derrick Edington was named to the Class D BCAM’s Best.

The Detroit News announced their all-state teams for girls on Tuesday, April 4. Gustafson was given Honorable Mention in Class C. Engadine’s Olivia Vaughn was Second Team in Class D, and her teammate Aubrey Simmons earned Fourth Team honors. Pickford’s Opolka and Rambo received honorable mention.

For the boys, Pickford’s Derrick Edington was named to the Class D Third Team, while Mackinaw City’s Michael Elliot and Kash O’Brien received Honorable Mention.

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