Fedell named to All-U.P. Division 1-3 first team
Three area players land second team honors
ESCANABA — Just a season ago, Peyton Fedell was hidden in the mix of a talented group of guards. As a result, he wasn’t able to see the floor as much as he would have liked and averaged just seven points a game.
But this season, Escanaba’s 6-foot-2 senior guard exploded onto the scene, averaging 17.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.2 assists per game. He shot 52% from the field, including a mind-blowing 62% from 2-point range and 38% from 3-point range, helping lead the Eskymos to a 14-7 season and a No. 4 finish in the Division 1-3 U.P. poll.
For his efforts, Fedell was named to the All-U.P. Division 1-3 first team by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association this week. The voting was done online Wednesday and Thursday due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“(Peyton) got a lot stronger in the offseason and improved his jump shot,” Esky coach Tracy Hudson said. “He’s a typical kid in our system who just kept getting better and better. Very clutch player. Peyton made big shots for us — he was not afraid to take the big shot. He’s a super coachable kid, and a player that every coach wants to coach.”
Joining Fedell on the first team are Negaunee’s Jakson Sager, West Iron County’s Justin Nelson, Westwood’s Zach Carlson and Norway’s Kody Hendricks.
A pair of Gladstone juniors headline the second team. Guard Cam Ballard and forward Rane Castor were the Braves’ go-to players this season, and each was rewarded with second team honors.
Ballard averaged 15.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals per contest. He shot 51% from the floor — including 48% from 3-point range — and he was also an 81% free throw shooter. He had eight games of 20 points or more, and was a Great Northern Conference first team pick as well as a Mid-Peninsula Conference second team selection.
“He was our team’s leading scorer and faced some of the best defenders in two of the toughest conferences in the U.P.,” Braves coach Dane Quigley said. “He was still able to consistently put up numbers and he led our team in assists, too. He is a good kid that puts a lot of time into his game.”
Right behind him, Castor averaged 15.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 53% from the field, including 56% from 2-point territory. Castor was also a GNC first-team selection and an M-PC second team pick.
“Rane was our team’s second leading scorer, but not by much at 15.1 points per game,” Quigley said. “He also led our team in rebounding. Rane’s scoring was done in both physical style on the inside, and with some timely shooting from the outside. Rane is a great kid and team leader. I felt that he really came on strong the second half of the season.”
Also selected to the second team from the area was Manistique senior Schyler Andersen. Andersen, mainly known for his track speed and football talents, was one of the bright spots on a 2-18 Manistique team.
The 6-foot-2 senior point guard, who is committed to Northern Michigan University for football, put up a season-high 30 points in a 77-70 loss at Escanaba Jan. 28. He was also an M-PC second team pick.
The rest of the second team consists of Marquette teammates Ty Lotterman and Drew Wyble, Menominee’s Keagan Monroe, Negaunee’s Drew Lindberg, Gwinn’s James Harnick, Houghton’s Pablo Salgado, Ishpeming’s Jacob Kugler and Norway’s Logan Parolini.
Four area players earned honorable mention, including two from Escanaba, one from Gladstone and one from Bark River-Harris.
Carter Hudson, Esky’s 6-7 center, earned honorable mention after averaging 14.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per contest. He shot 48% from the field — including 63% from 2-point territory — and he was also a 70% free throw shooter.
“Carter is a rim-protector like every coach wants,” coach Hudson said. “He’s a 6-7, 215 (pound) kid that has good skills. He wants to make the big shot and is a good free throw shooter. He can also guard any position, and he’s one of the best centers that we’ve had at Escanaba. His stats and his game prove that. The thing people don’t realize about him is he alters the game a lot just by being around the basket. It doesn’t show up in the stats, but it’s a big part of him being an intimidator around the basket. He’s starting to realize what his body can do and playing more above the rim.”
His teammate, Brandon Frazer, was also an honorable mention. The 6-0 junior guard averaged 7.8 points, 4.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals while shooting 73% from the charity stripe. He and Hudson were GNC second team picks.
“(Brandon) was a real quarterback,” coach Hudson said. “He was the glue and soul of our team as far as handling the ball and making the decisions. He embraced the role and put other people first. That was why we trended the way we did at the end, with a chance to win a district and potentially compete for a regional. A lot of his game was coming together for him at the end.”
Gladstone’s Noah Ballard also received honorable mention. The 5-11 senior guard averaged 12.1 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.1 assists while shooting 52% from the field and 65% from the free throw line. He scored a career-high 31 points in a 71-66 win at Kingsford Jan. 16.
“Noah was our third leading scorer,” Quigley said. “He was a very efficient scorer and was often a spark plug for our offense. Noah was often the heart and soul of our team.”
Bark River-Harris’ Riley Bray is the final area honorable mention. The 6-foot-1 senior guard averaged 12.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals while leading the Broncos to an 11-9 record. He was also a Skyline Central Conference second team selection.