HOUGHTON - L'Anse finally cracked the U.P.'s top five but after Monday's district tournament result, it will be only a consolation prize.
The Purple Hornets landed No. 4 in the final U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association boys' basketball poll of the season, which was taken before they lost 70-57 to No. 5 Ironwood Monday night in Calumet.
L'Anse was the only new team of 10 in the poll, taking the place of Escanaba. The Eskymos dropped into the 'others receiving votes' category after their loss at Calumet Thursday in the regular season finale.
Negaunee remains No. 1 on all ballots after a 19-1 season and will open district play at home against Gwinn Wednesday night.
No. 2 Marquette went 17-1 in the regular season, but drawn against a one-loss Alpena team in the first round of the Class A districts Monday, finished the postseason 0-1 after a 47-34 road loss.
No. 3 Ishpeming will play the early game at Lakeview Memorial Gym Wednesday against Westwood.
U.P. Poll No. 9
1. Negaunee (5) 19-1 25
2. Marquette 17-1 20
3. Ishpeming 15-4 14
4. L'Anse 15-4 7
5. Ironwood 17-3 5
Others receiving votes: Escanaba (15-5) 4.
1. North Central (5) 20-0 25
2. Cedarville 17-2 20
3. Munising 16-3 13
4. Carney-Nadeau 16-4 9
5. Forest Park 16-3 6
Others receiving votes: Lake Linden-Hubbell (16-3) 2.
L'Anse (seven) and Ironwood (five) have the last two spots, with Escanaba outside the top five with four points.
North Central completed the only 20-0 boys' season in the U.P. this year with two wins last week, the first of which a tough 76-64 decision at last week's No. 3 Forest Park.
The Jets began their bid for a second trip to the Breslin Center in style, cruising past Mid Peninsula 69-48 in the teams' second meeting in five days.
Cedarville (17-2) is No. 2 on all ballots and will begin districts at home Wednesday vs. Pickford.
Munising (16-3) moves up to No. 3 with 13 poll points and won a district play-in game over Alger County rival Superior Central 72-48 Monday.
Carney-Nadeau (16-4, nine points) moves up to No. 4. The Wolves bounced Stephenson on Monday night. Forest Park, at No. 5 with six points, began its tournament trail with a come-from-behind win over Bessemer at Ewen.
Lake Linden-Hubbell also received two votes.