Panthers’ Elise Besonen named to All–U.P. First Team

Burt Angeli/Daily News (Iron Mountain) Ewen-Trout Creek’s Elise Besonen (22) passes out of trouble in a Division 4 regional semifinal in Kingsford.

EWEN — When your daughter is named to the All-U.P. First Team basketball team, it is a special moment. It is even more special when you happen to also be her coach.

Such is the case for Ewen-Trout Creek coach Jackie Besonen, whose daughter Elise was recently named to the honorary All-U.P. First Team by The Upper Peninsula Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

“Obviously, I am very proud,” said Jackie. “Elise had a great season. She works hard and her work really comes through. She had gotten better every year.”

The sophomore guard was part of a team that won a district title and advanced to the regional where they were defeated by the Stephenson Eagles, 60-41. The Panthers ended the year at 17-5.

“We had a good season. I think the girls showed a lot of mental toughness,” Jackie said. “We had some games that we could have definitely lost, but the girls’ mental toughness kept them in the game.”

As an example, Jackie cited the Panthers victory against Baraga at Baraga in late February. The Panthers were down 19 points, battled their way back and won in overtime.

“The girls showed some mental toughness that they didn’t have in the past.”

The girls set out to win the Copper Mountain Conference this season, and they did just that. According to Jackie, her daughter was a big part of that.

“She drives very strong to the basket and was very creative in her play making,” said Jackie.

Elise averaged 12.3 points per game. As well, she averaged 3.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. She shot 48 percent from the field, 33 percent from the three-point  range and 80 percent from the free throw line.

“She had a lot of help and did a good job of dumping the ball off,” said Jackie. “She is a great shooter.”

Jackie thought Elisa’s best game was the team’s last one against Stephenson where she had 19 points and took care of the ball and had no turnovers. With two more years to go in her high-school career, her future looks bright on the hardwood floor, according to her mom.

“Elise is a point guard and a floor player and her hard work is paying off,” she said. “It is great to see.”