GAYLORD — As the Glen Lake players emerged from the locker room on Tuesday, a large crowd of Laker supporters waited to greet them with a loud ovation.
The magical run for Glen Lake came to an abrupt end by a determined Negaunee squad. The Miners made their third time the charm in the Class C quarterfinals at Gaylord, beating the Lakers 56-55.
Negaunee, which had lost the previous two quarterfinal games to McBain and St. Francis, moves on to play Laingsburg on Thursday at Michigan State’s Breslin Center for the Class C state semifinal.
"These guys, walking off the floor last year, right away they wanted to get back,” Miners coach Mike O’Donnell said. “You don’t just walk back into a quarterfinal. They made a point all summer in everything they did to get back to this point and win this game.”
As they had in previous years, the Miners packed their bags to be gone the entire week. This year, their trip didn’t end early.
"We got on that charter bus and we said ‘this bus is going to Lansing,’” O’Donnell said. “The last two years we didn’t want to come back to the U.P. We wanted to head south. It’s a great feeling, but at the same time we have to realize this isn’t it.”
The trip did end early for the Lakers (23-3).
”It’s something I’ll remember forever,” Glen Lake senior Mike O’Brien said. “I’ll cherish it forever. I wish it didn’t end like this, but we gave it our all.”
Negaunee (24-1) was led by 36 points from junior guard Tyler Jandron.
"It was unreal,” O’Donnell said of Jandron. “I can’t say enough about what he did. He put us on his back and got us there.”