EagleHerald/Brian Bell
Menominee’s Keagan Monroe (4) was selected to the All-GNC first team.
EagleHerald/Brian Bell

Menominee’s Keagan Monroe (4) was selected to the All-GNC first team.

MENOMINEE — All season long, the Menominee boys basketball team has relied on the 1-2 punch from senior forward Keagan Monroe and sophomore point guard Aidan Bellisle, and the Maroons’ duo have been recognized with All-Great Northern Conference selections.

Monroe was awarded his second-straight first team All-GNC selection and Bellisle earned a spot on the second team after receiving a special mention (2 or more votes) nod a year ago. Senior Brock Barrette also received recognition for his contributions during the season as he one of five players selected to the honorable mention list.

“All of these guys are tremendous leaders and high character young men. I feel blessed to be able to coach them and watch their growth as people and basketball players,” Menominee coach Sam Larson said.

A 6-foot-4 forward who has the ability to get out and run the floor in transition with the best of them in the Upper Peninsula, Monroe averaged 15 points, 8.25 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.9 steals in the GNC this season and electrified every gym he entered with thunderous dunks.

“Keagan has done so much for us this year,” Larson said. “He rebounds, leads the break, and creates for himself and other. His unselfish style of play was key for us numerous times this year.”

That was never more evident than on Feb. 24 when the Maroons were on the road in Kingsford. With Menominee trailing 70-68 with 13 seconds left, Larson drew up a play in the huddle for Monroe. When the ball was inbounded to him, a couple Flivvers’ defenders flocked to him and he made the decision to kick it to Cooper Conway in the corner instead of firing up an ill-advised shot and Conway sank a 3-pointer to give Menominee the victory.

His unselfishness, plus his ability to take the air out of the other teams’ sails with his highlight dunks makes him a dangerous player. His explosiveness not only allowed him to throw down a number of jams but also helped him total 11 double-doubles with points and rebounds this season as he might not be the tallest player on the court, but he is able to get off the floor faster and has the strength to keep the ball inside.

“I haven’t seen many guys with the same level of athleticism as Keagan,” Larson said. “He gets off the ground so quick. The dunks he’s had over the course of the season were impressive and not something you typically see around this area.”

Bellisle had a lot on his play a season ago after being placed into the starting lineup and asked to direct the offense as a freshman. This year was no different and he answered the call again, averaging 10.9 points, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals and a surprising 5.2 rebounds per game.

As a point guard and the primary ballhandler for the Maroons, Bellisle handles all of his responsibilities like someone who has been playing varsity basketball for more than just two years.

“Aidan is our floor general. His ability to handle the pressure and get us into our offense was invaluable this year,” Larson said. “Sometimes we forget that he’s only a sophomore because we give him so many responsibilities on the court. There’s an opportunity for him to be truly great if he continues to work at it.”

One of Bellisle’s most underrated qualities is his ability to rebound the basketball. He not only averaged 5.2 per game but also had multiple double-digit rebound games including an 11-point, 11-assist, 15-rebound triple double in a 62-59 win over North Central on Jan. 3.

“Aidan’s rebounding ability is really underrated. He has a good nose for the ball and attacks it,” Larson said. “When your point guard has multiple games with double-digit rebounds that’s pretty impressive.”

Barrette’s senior season for Menominee was put on hold for a while as he recovered from an injury suffered during football season, but when he came back to the Maroons roster he gave valuable minutes to coach Larson’s squad and eventually played his way back into a starting position.

One of his best shooting games of the year came in Menominee’s 84-76 victory over Gladstone when he made four 3-pointers in the second half to help the Maroons finish above .500 in the GNC for the first time since Larson took over as head coach.

“Brock is guy that has shown up for everything the past three years,” Larson said. “He’s been committed to the program and a tremendous leader for us. He gained more confidence as the year went on and made some key plays for us in close games.”

Menominee will begin its MHSAA Division 2 district play when the Maroons host Houghton tonight starting at 6.

All-GNC

Player of the Year: Kam Karp, Marquette

Defensive Player of the Year: Drew Wyble, Marquette

Coach of the Year: Brad Nelson, Marquette

First Team

Keagan Monroe, Menominee

Ty Lotterman, Marquette

Peyton Fedell, Escanaba

Rane Castor, Gladstone

Cam Ballard, Gladstone

Second Team

Cole Bracket, Kingsford

Carter Hudson, Escanaba

Aidan Bellisle, Menominee

Brandon Frazer, Escanaba

Drew Wyble, Marquette

Special Mention

John Thomson, Marquette

Noah Ballard, Gladstone

LIncoln Sager, Marquette

Andrew Paupore, Kingsford

Honorable Mention

Brock Barrette, Menominee

Bryant Maki, Escanaba

Connor Smale, Escanaba

Jarret St. John, Gladstone

Caden Alworden, Gladstone

Varsity winner — Marquette, 7-1

JV winner — Escanaba, 6-2

Freshmen winner — Kingsford, 8-0