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Tiny northern Lower Peninsula school gets 1st boys basketball tournament win since 1955

ALBA (AP) — A boys basketball team in the northern Lower Peninsula has won its first state playoff game — since 1955.

Alba defeated Central Lake, 43-39, in a district game Tuesday night.

“Due to COVID, we didn’t pour anything on anybody,” coach Nathan Bootz said Wednesday when asked if he got a Gatorade shower after the big victory. “There were tears shed in the locker room. It was a special moment because we’re just a small group. We’re a family.”

How small? The team has only seven players, including a 7th grader. Alba is in Antrim County, 40 miles northeast of Traverse City. The high school has 31 students.

Next for the Wildcats: a game tonight against Ellsworth, regular season champions in the Northern Lakes Conference. It’s like the biblical David vs. Goliath.

“And we have a whole bag of stones,” the coach joked. “We’ve got to play smart basketball, control possessions and limit their opportunities to score.”