LINCOLN-There are still a few weeks of regular season girls basketball to be played before the district playoffs begin.
But tonight's Posen-Alcona girls basketball game at 7:30 in Lincoln will have all the makings of a playoff game.
That's because there's a lot riding on the game. A win for Posen (13-0, 9-0 North Star League would put the Vikings one step closer to a fourth straight North Star League title and a Tigers' win likely guarantees Alcona a share of the league title.
Posen already got the better of Alcona (10-2, 8-1 NSL) this season, beating the Tigers 55-48 in the season opener, but both coaches know their teams will have to play a better this time around.
"We both played really bad, but we've improved, they've improved and it's pretty obvious we're playing against the best player in Northeast Michigan," Alcona Brad Cole said. "We need to figure out how to found their weaknesses and exploit them.
That player is Posen senior center Korynn Hincka, who is in the midst of another stellar season and is averaging double digits in points and rebounds. Hincka dropped 30 on the Tigers in the season opener and has been tough for opponents to stop. Last week she scored 39 points in a win over Mio.
This will be the final regular season meeting between Hincka and Alcona senior Karina Cole and fans could be treated to an offensive show. Cole scored 17 points against Posen earlier this season and has elevated her game seemingly by the week. She recently become Alcona's all-time leading scorer is always a force to be reckoned with as one of the area's best shooters.
"We're pretty familiar with them. They're a good defensive team and an excellent perimeter shooting team," Posen coach Karl Momrik said. "They've got one of the best players in the state in the Karina Cole."
Posen has had Alcona's number in recent years. The Vikings wrapped up a perfect regular season last year in Lincoln and have had several successes in the playoffs while the Tigers are still aiming for another district title.
While Cole has elevated her game, the Tigers have grown a lot since the beginning of the season. Kendra Cole and Cassie Carpenter give the Tigers some options in the post, though Carpenter recently went down with an injury and Megan Quick has been a solid compliment to Karina in the backcourt.
"We need to play our style of basketball. If they play their style, they'll beat us, but if we go out and play our style, we'll have a chance to win," Brad said.
Playing their style could be challenging against a Posen squad that Momrik called one of deepest he's ever had. The Vikings put the depth on display against Mio as Ashley Meyers, Jenna Hincka and Anjelica Patterson all nearly reached double figures. On the defensive side, Jenna and Kayla Lenard were among those that ran the Vikings' full-court press to perfection and will look to do so again tonight.
"We've got 11 kids and they all have a role and can add something to our team. You don't see that too often," Momrik said.