Sharpe’s last second shot lifts Vikings past Rogers City

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Posen's Sam Brunet (23) goes past Rogers City defender Kaleb Budnik (32) and scores on a layup during the first quarter of a North Star League boys basketball game on Thursday at Rogers City High School.

ROGERS CITY–On Thursday night, the Posen boys basketball team proved it’s not going to be a pushover in the North Star League this season.

The Vikings traveled to Rogers City and stunned the Hurons on their home floor as Jared Sharpe broke a 36-36 tie when he got a shot to fall with two seconds left to lift Posen to a dramatic 38-36 victory over its league and county rival.

“We called a timeout after we gained possession in the final seconds and it was my assistant coach Nick Hincka who told me to call the timeout and the look on his face, he just looked like he had something that he wanted to do, so I gave the board to Nick and let him draw the play,” Posen head coach Chris Keller said. “All we did was stay in our motion, but instead of setting ball screens on the wings, we decided to set a high ball screen for someone we knew who could finish at the rim. That was all Nick, it was his idea and I think sometimes as a head coach you have to let him do that because he’s there every day at practice just like I am. We’re all there together and we don’t take days off.”

Rogers City got off to a fast start, but both teams displayed strong defense throughout the night and Posen was able to chip away at an early deficit and keep the game close for much of the second half.

The two teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 28 and went back and forth in the final quarter. The game was tied on four different occasions in final quarter. Posen held a 34-33 lead with under a minute to play and looked poised to run down the clock and force the Hurons to start fouling.

Sharpe jacked up a deep three with 24 seconds to play and missed badly which led Rogers City to go back down the court on the fastbreak and get a chance to tie or take the lead when J.D. Ellenberger was fouled with 17 seconds left.

Ellenberger missed the first free throw, but got the second to fall and tied the game up at 34 as Posen called a timeout to draw up the eventual game-winning play.

After being held in check all game and being ice cold from the field, Sharpe got the ball and made his most important shot of the game count as he was able to get a one-handed floater to circle around the rim and fall with two seconds left and send the Posen bench and crowd into a frenzy.

“I told Jared throughout the game that sometimes the ball isn’t going to go in the hole and that’s why we had to rely on our defense,” Keller said. “I couldn’t be more proud of these kids. We’ve come along way to be able to push through when our three doesn’t fall and we’ve lived and died by that, but we’re trying to be a little more developed now.”

The Hurons jumped out to an early 13-4 lead and got strong contributions from both Kaleb Budnik and Ethan Hincka as the two combined for nine of Rogers City’s 16 first quarter points. The nine point lead was the largest of the night and it didn’t last long. Posen responded with two quick baskets and the Hurons held just a 16-12 lead after one quarter and were in for tight game the rest of the way.

“It’s a learning curve for us and we’re a young team. You could tell that the youth came out in the last three quarters. Credit goes to Posen, they played a great zone and matched up well and you can’t take nothing away from what they did,” Rogers City coach Matt Ponik said. “We’ve struggled offensively so far and we have to find out how to fix that and that’s obviously something on my shoulders that I have to fix, but we’ll figure it out.”

The defense turned up in the second quarter as the two teams combined for just 12 points and Rogers City held a 23-17 lead at the half.

The Vikings came out of the break and scored the first six points of the third quarter to tie the game at 23 and forced the Hurons to use a timeout. It wasn’t until the 2:49 mark in the third quarter that Posen took its first lead of the night and from there the game saw six ties and four different lead changes before the Vikings won.

“Last year it took us a long time for us to get our first win and we’re going to stay hungry. We’re not satisfied and we’ll never be satisfied, we have to keep getting better and we’ve made a big turnaround in a year, but that’s due to hard work,” Keller said. “I think this win is good for my kids. They need, I need, the community needs it, we all need it and I’m very proud.”

The Vikings were led by Jeremy Misiak who scored eight points. Sharpe, Dylan Schuch, Mark Wisniewski, Eyan Hincka and Avery Werth each added five points.

Posen improves to 1-1 overall and 1-1 in NSL play. The Vikings will travel to Hale on Monday.

Rogers City was paced by Hincka who ended the night with eight points. Donovann Franzoni scored seven points and Budnik chipped in with six points in the losing effort.

The Hurons fall to 0-2 overall and in league play and will be back in action on Monday when they travel to Oscoda.

——

POSEN–J. Sharpe 2 1-2 5; D. Schuch, 2 0-0 5; M. Wisniewski 2 1-2 5; A. Werth 1 3-4 5; J. Misiak 4 0-0 8; S. Brunet 1 0-0 2; C. Paull 0 1-4 1; E. Hincka 2 1-1 5.

ROGERS CITY–K. Budnik 1 4-9 6; Z. Grzesikowski 1 0-0 2; E. Hincka 3 1-4 8; P. Grambau 2 0-0 4; D. Franzoni 2 3-4 7; J. Ellenberger 1 1-2 3; L. Tulgestke 2 0-0 4.

Jonny Zawacki can be reached via email at jzawacki@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690.