Fast start propels Hillman past Vikings

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Hillman’s Lyndsey Ryba (14) dribbles the ball up court and eventually scores an uncontested layup during the second quarter of a girls basketball game against Posen on Thursday at Hillman High School.

HILLMAN — One quarter can make the difference in a game. Just ask the Posen girls basketball team.

On Thursday, Hillman got off to a blazing start in the opening quarter between the two rivals and it proved to be the difference in the game as Hillman topped Posen 53-37.

On one side, the Tigers played flawless, scoring in almost every way possible. Hillman’s press forced the Vikings into costly turnovers, the Tigers outrebounded Posen, displayed tremendous ball movement and opened the game on an 11-0 run, holding the Vikings scoreless for the first four and a half minutes.

On the other side, Posen couldn’t buy a bucket as it missed from long range, mid range and under the basket. The Vikings had no answer for Hillman defensively and forced too many turnovers when they weren’t missing easy looks.

The result? An 18-2 first quarter lead for the home team.

“You can’t fall behind that much to a team like Hillman. We were to slow in our zone and Hillman moves the ball real well and they were wide open on their shots and we had to cover them better,” Posen head coach Karl Momrik said. “We would have been in better shape if we would have made some early shots, but we weren’t hitting and we didn’t hit the boards. We just didn’t play very well and kudos to Hillman for a good game.”

The Vikings were slowly able to put some offense together late in the half, but the first quarter proved to be costly as Hillman took a 26-11 advantage into the break.

“I thought our ball movement was very good tonight. We’ve been working on that and I always talk about making the extra pass and when you make the extra pass and you’re able to get the defense shifting that’s when you get some good looks,” Hillman head coach John Kuzewski said.

Posen came out of the locker room and showed some life and cut the deficit to 12 with four minutes left in the third quarter, but eight unanswered points from the Tigers put the home team back up by 20 after Jozie Appelgren and Brooke Jones hit back-to-back three-pointers.

“Our defense was excellent for most of the game and that’s a credit to the girls because they’ve been working hard. It was interesting because we just played Posen a few weeks ago so you never know if you’re going to see the same things or not,” Kuzewski said. “Coach Momrik is a good coach and it’s fun playing your rival and of course it’s fun coming out on top, but I give Posen credit tonight because they never went away.”

After holding a 41-20 lead after three quarters, Hillman opened up its largest lead of the night when it scored the first four points of the fourth qaurter to grab a 45-20 lead.

The Vikings continued to fight and went on a 14-2 run to cut the lead to 47-34 with three and a half to play, but it was too little too late and the deficit was too much to overcome as the Tigers were able to close the game out and win their fifth consecutive game and fifth in a row by double digits.

“We’re coming out strong most games and we’re trying to set the tone early like we did tonight. We have a good group of kids,” Kuzewski said. “These girls work hard and we graduated some talented players last year, but we still have a lot of experience when we step on the floor and I think that’s actually surprising some teams that we still are as deep as we are.”

Lyndsey Ryba continued to enjoy her great start to her senior season as she once again paced Hillman scoring a game-high 16 points. Kristen Kenyon ended the night with 11 points, Appelgren added eight points and Jones chipped in with seven points.

Hillman improves to 5-1 overall on the year and will be back in action on Monday when it hosts Inland Lakes.

The Vikings were led by Cami LaTulip who scored 14 points. Riley Krajniak added seven points and Brooke Ciarkowski finished with six points.

Posen falls to 2-5 overall on the year and will be off until after the holiday break.

——

HILLMAN (53): A. Jones 0 1-2 1; B. Schook 1 0-0 2; 7 1-2 16; J. Appelgren 2 3-4 8; E. LaFleche 1 2-2 4; B. Jones 2 2-2 7; 1 1-2 4; K. Kenyon 3 3-4 11.

POSEN (37): F.E. Romel 0 1-2 1; R. Krajniak 3 0-0 7; C. LaTulip 7 0-0 14; B. Kuffel 1 1-2 3; H. Stone 1 0-0 2; B. Ciarkowski 2 1-2 6; M. Menzel 2 0-0 4.