Northport Chasing Elusive Conference Title
NORTHPORT – A conference championship four decades in the making is taking shape for the Northport girls basketball program.
With a win Thursday over Lake Leelanau St. Mary (11-2, 2-1), Northport (10-2, 2-0) can clinch its first Cherryland Conference championship since 1976, and can do so in outright fashion with just two league games remaining on its schedule.
“Last year, we only won six games… It’s way different,” junior Sarah Reynolds said. “We’re getting to know our basketball and like what our full potential can be as an entire program and how we just get better and better.”
The Wildcats have gone from last to first in the Cherryland, finishing with a 6-13 overall record and going 1-3 in league play a year ago. Northport had gone just a combined 15-40 in the previous three seasons. But with already 10 wins to their credit, and with at least six games remaining on the docket, the Wildcats could very well surpass that three-season win total.
After dropping its 2016-17 season opener in overtime to Wolverine, Northport strung together a nine-game win streak, which saw a pair of wins over rival Leland – a first for this senior class. Prior to its 29-24 win over Leland on Dec. 1, 2016, the Wildcat seniors had gone a combined 0-7 against the Comets in their first three seasons.
“We all talked about what we wanted from this season, and we all looked and we all knew that we wanted to win against Leland. We’ve never done that,” senior Manmeet Dhami said. “We wanted that conference. We not only want it for ourselves, but we want it for our program.”
The Wildcats have found this success despite going through personnel changes in the coaching ranks. After leading the program to its nine-game win streak, head coach Casey Wilcox resigned from her position in January to pursue other career opportunities. Leon Chimosky, who previously served as the school’s JV boys basketball coach, took over the coaching reins. Northport has gone 1-1 since Chimosky’s first game on Jan. 30.
Northport will look to make it three wins over Leland this season when the two schools meet in a Class D district semifinal at Northport on March 1. The five-team district features Frankfort, Northport, Leland, Suttons Bay and Lake Leelanau St. Mary.