MARQUETTE — Dillon Gordon had a Dream career, now he’s on the Dream Team.
Gordon, a Ewen-Trout Creek senior, was named to the all-class All-U.P. Dream Team. Voting was conducted at the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association ‘s 63rd annual boys basketball meeting Wednesday on the campus of Northern Michigan University.
Mid-Peninsula’s 20-20 player Brett Branstrom was named Class D Player of the Year, beating Gordon on a 14-9 vote.
Both players certainly had a case.
—Branstrom, who is 6-5, averaged 25.2 points and 21.2 rebounds per game. He finished with 1,785 points and finished No. 8 in total rebounds in state history.
—Gordon, a 5-11 guard, averaged 28.5 points per game and finished his career at 1,797 points, which is second in E-TC history. (“That’s very good, we’ve had a few scorers here,” E-TC coach Brad Besonen said.) Gordon helped the Panthers to two district titles — it may have been three had he not suffered a severe ankle sprain prior to the 2013 playoffs — while Mid-Pen didn’t win a district game in Branstrom’s junior or senior years.
Gordon scored over 30 points more than he scored under 20 this season. He thrived during his first three years with the dual threat of him and Jordan LaPlant, a Dream Team selection last year. With LaPlant gone this year, defenses could focus on stopping Gordon ... and it still didn’t work.
“He really made great strides this year,” said Hurley coach Gary Giancola, who enjoyed competing against Gordon, even if he seemed to save his clutchest of shots when playing the Midgets. “Last year, when he had LaPlant to complement him, that one-two punch, he was a solid offensive player. Without LaPlant this year, we really got to see the full effect of everything that was in Gordon’s arsenal. He didn’t disappoint. It’s in a variety of ways that he can beat you. One of the best floaters that can you beat you as a high school player. Soft touch. Then when he got in the lane and had the floater, the ability to elevate and hang and get his shot off was impressive.
“What impressed me the most was the engine in him, the drive to compete. He was a kid that worked very hard to improve his skills.”
Besonen said it was all skill and quickness to get around double teams and junk defenses he faced this year.
Gordon developed that skill and his lethal shot by playing hoops for hours every day. He had hopes of winning a regional game and even the entire regional this year. But he hurt his ankle in the final game of the regular season. The Panthers still were able to beat Bessemer in the district semifinal with Gordon at about 50 percent and E-TC stayed with Crystal Falls Forest Park without Gordon in the final before falling in a close battle.
Gordon will continue his career at Michigan Tech.
Branstrom is considering Michigan Tech, Lake Superior State and St. Norbert.
Other Dream Team members include: Class ABC Player of the Year Tyler Jandron, a Negaunee junior; Marquette’s Mark Pap and Carney-Nadeau’s Wade Schetter.
Jandron averaged 18.1 points per game for the Miners, who lost the state semifinal at the buzzer. Pap scored 13.3 a game for the Redmen, who were the only U.P. team to beat Negaunee. Schetter averaged 22.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.1 steals and 5.9 assists per game. He led the Wolves to a state semifinal last season, but they lost in the district to North Central this year.