FRANKFORT — Three area boys basketball teams remain in the final eight of their respective classes.
And the Northwest Conference is well-represented. Glen Lake and Frankfort give the league two entries in today’s quarterfinals.
In Class B, Cadillac (20-4) takes on Big Rapids (23-1) essentially at home at Ferris State University. Glen Lake (23-2) faces Negaunee (23-1) in a Class C quarter at Gaylord and Frankfort (20-5) plays Class D No. 1-ranked Wyoming Tri-unity (23-2) at Comstock Park.
The Lakers’ last quarterfinals trip was 1996. Frankfort’s wait was even longer — 1975.
“Everyone was like, ‘Well, I think the Northwest is kind of down this year,’” Glen Lake coach Todd Hazelton said. “And we’ve proven otherwise with two solid teams. And Suttons Bay won their district, too.”
“I think a lot of people, as the season went on, didn’t really appreciate how good (the league) was,” Frankfort coach Reggie Manville said. “The proof in the pudding is the state tournament.”
Frankfort came skidding into the playoffs, losing four of their last five regular-season contests. But that hasn’t been the case once the games had more importance.
“We were winning some games where we weren’t doing some fundamental things and shouldn’t have (won),” Manville said of the skid. “It finally caught up to us.”
It’s also of note that two of those four losses were to Class B Kingsley, one to Glen Lake and one to eventual Class D district champ Suttons Bay.
“We came out of that, and I think we learned a lot about getting back to doing the things that made us successful early in the year,” Manville said.
David Loney’s scoring has increased from 18 points a game to 22 in the playoffs. Similarly, Owen Stratton’s has risen from 16 to 22.
“And then what we’ve had is in each game, somebody has stepped up,” Manville said. “The other night it was Brandon Schaub. Kole Hollenbeck the game before that.”