There were a lot of great basketball success stories this year from a wide variety of Northeast Michigan teams.
The Alpena boys built a 10-game winning streak that ended just short of a district title. And the Posen girls continued their streak of excellence by coming within six points of beating eventual Class D state champion St. Ignace in the regional final.
Players on both teams received plenty of accolades and now their coaches are too as Alpena's John Pintar and Posen's Karl Momrik have been nominated for Regional Coach of the Year for Regional 15 by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan.
Both coaches were very humble about their nominations.
"Well, coaches really get these rewards when the team is successful and it's the players that get you there. The boys this year really bought into what we had to do and bought into their roles as a team and playing together as a team," Pintar said.
Momrik shared many of those same sentiments.
"It's pretty special being nominated for such an award, but I've got a pretty special group of girls. We have a strong girls basketball program in Posen and it's nice to see people recognize that," he said.
The Wildcats had strong growth as a team as the season progressed. They started the season at 8-4, but became nearly unbeatable after that, winning10 of their 11 games and ending the season with an 18-5 record.
The season was highlighted by defeats of both Petoskey and Cadillac, teams that typically give Alpena a hard time.
"The Cadillac win at home was really the point when I knew the boys had it completely together. Here we were, playing one of the toughest teams in the league and we won. Then, we played even better against Petoskey. You know you've made it when you play the best and win decisively," Pintar said.
The Posen girls had another one loss season as they dominated local competition and won another North Star League title. The Vikings' only loss was a close game against St. Ignace, a perennial powerhouse that typically plays in Class C.
"Some might say it's unfortunate that St. Ignace was in class D this season, but I don't look at it that way. Everybody thought they were just going to steam roll us and they didn't. I think it even surprised the coaches when we stayed so close," Momrik said.
The Posen girls also broke several school records this season. Junior center Korynn Hincka became the all-time leading girls scorer and also set the single-season girls mark before ending her season with a career-high 40 points against the Saints. Anna Couture also broke Posen's career assists record.
"Again, it all goes back to the kids. They're a really special group. The way we play as a team has stood out to a lot of people. We have a group of girls that know how to play well together and know what to do to win," Momrik said.
Pintar also focused on his team's team oriented success.
"We might be losing some of our big names, like Luke (Cordes) and we're going to be losing some height, but we're gonna end up being a different team. The guys know their roles and know how to adapt and if they stick to their roles and play the right kind of ball we should be good," said Pintar.
Other coaches nominated for the award include Butch Beckham of Arenac Eastern, Adam Dobrowolski of Petoskey, Justin Freeland of Midland-Bullock Creek, Heather Huff of Johannesburg-Lewiston, Matt Robeno of Claire, Adam Stefanski of Mackinaw City, Bob Wellman of Midland-Dow, Mitch Boba of Sanford-Merdian, MJ Ewald of Roscommon, Roy Johnston of Beaverton, Eric Krause of Midland, Ritch Moffit of Grayling and Tom Murray of Standish.
Voting ends on Thursday.