ESCANABA - In jayvee basketball, there are different ways to find success.
The North Central boys team enjoyed a banner season, winning the Central U.P. Conference and finishing as co-champions of the Skyline with Bark River-Harris.
The Carney-Nadeau Wolves didn't fare quite as well, but still found a different measure of success - developing players for the next level.
The Jets soared to a 17-2 record led by sophomores Travis Vincent, Tyler Polfus and Eric Prestay and freshman Devin Wodrazka.
Polfus averaged 15 points before being called up to varsity before the last game of the season. Vincent was called up to varsity after 12 games. On the jayvees, he averaged 18.3 points and was the leading rebounder. He then had a 16-point effort on his first game with the varsity.
Prestay averaged 10.5 points.
"Prestay came around and started scoring some points for us and he rebounded real well. Vincent was our main gunner and Wodrazka came around, he's a good shooter," said coach Lee Vincent.
Freshmen Ryan Whitens and Alan Kleiman rotated at point guard. Also standing out was 6-foot-2 Carney-Nadeau transfer Jared Gerlach.
"Whitens didn't score a whole lot, but he's a good point guard and a playmaker. Kleiman is also going to be a good point guard," said Vincent. "Gerlach is a big body who I see being pretty good on the varsity. He played half the season because of the transfer rule."
The Wolves finished 7-12 but coach Paul Polfus said a couple players showed promise for the next level.
Jason Dupont, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, spent time on the jayvee and varsity teams. He averaged 14 points and 4.5 rebounds for the jayvees
"Jason is a real good ball handler. He likes to do some slashing and is very active on defense," said Polfus. "His strongest attribute is that he plays hard all the time. He's real coachable and does anything you ask him to do on the floor. He played point guard, 3-spot, different places on the floor and he did well at all of them. He'll have an opportunity for the starting five next year."
Polfus said 6-1 freshman center Noah Marsicek was the most improved player.
"Noah started out a little slow footed, but as the year went on, he worked harder. Of all the kids I coached, he improved the most and he has a good future ahead of him," said Polfus. "If he works on himself, he could step up and help the varsity next year. I'm happy with his effort."
Two eighth-graders, Manuel Duran and Mike Baumler, also stood out for the Wolves.
"Duran played a lot of point guard at different times and Baumler came up and did a nice job playing at different spots. It's a big learning experience for them as far as learning the level of competition."
Vincent said the strength of both conferences was lacking this year, though the battles with North Dickinson and Bark River-Harris were good tests.
"The league on jayvees was not real strong this year. BR-H and North Dickinson weren't bad and we played BR-H pretty good. We beat them twice and then they (BR-H) beat everyone else," he said. "BR-H had depth and big kids and they have some good shooters. All those kids could shoot."
Polfus would have liked more wins, but acknowledged his main goal is preparing players for the next level.
"The biggest thing is, you look to improve as the year goes on. This was a great group of kids to coach. They showed up on time and stayed late. That's sort of my job. It's not so much about wins and losses, it's getting them ready for varsity and making them better players," he said.
"North Central had a nice group of sophomores. They're physical inside and we had a tough time matching up with them. We played them well for about two and a half quarters at home and then they won by about 14. You just try to compete as hard as you can."