Oscoda ready for first regional game in school history

News File Photo Oscoda’s Brooke Nowiski (21) celebrates with teammate Macy Kellstrom (1) after Nowiski knocked down a three pointer during a Division 3 regional semifinal game against Alcona on Friday. The Owls travel to McBain tonight to take on Lake City in a regional semifinal matchup at 7:30 p.m.

Three days after winning a district championship for the first time in program history, the Oscoda girls basketball team must focus its attention on what will likely be their toughest challenge to date.

The Owls (22-0) travel to McBain tonight for a 7:30 p.m. tip off against Lake City (19-2) in a Division 3 regional semifinal contest.

“It’s nice that we got to this point and we expect to win. We got so much talent on any given night and I think we’re good enough to beat anybody,” Oscoda coach Mark Toppi said.

Despite being in unfamiliar territory, Oscoda is full of confidence after not having lost a game all season and having a tremendous starting five that can all contribute.

The Owls are led by all-area Player of the Year candidates Katelyn Etherton and Lauren Langley.

Etherton has showcased her talent all season running the point for the Owls and can do so much from scoring to getting her teammates involved.

Langley is a presence down low and has the ability to extend her range and shoot from beyond the three point line as well.

Brooke Nowiski has had the hot hand of late, connecting on a handful of three point tries during district play and hopes to have the hot hand again tonight.

Macy Kellstrom also has some sharp shooting ability and Izzy Hulverson provides a little bit of everything for Oscoda with her ability to shoot and rebound.

The Owls didn’t have an easy road through district play and were tested in the championship game on Friday as Oscoda was pushed to the limit by North Star League rival Alcona and trailed at the half.

Like good teams do, the Owls didn’t panic and remained calm and confident and put together a big second half to claim their first district title in school history.

Despite not having played a team like the one they will tonight, the Owls are going in with the same mind set and not going to be rattled on a bigger stage.

Oscoda prepared during the offseason playing bigger schools and better teams to prepare themselves for moments like tonight.

“We worked hard during the offseason, played a ton of team camps, drove all over the state and played teams that were bigger than us and we have done this every summer. Despite not winning all of those games in years past, it tested our girls and made them better,” Toppi said. “We were able to beat some of those bigger schools this offseason and that gave us some confidence that we can play with anybody.”

It will be key for the Owls to continue getting strong play out their starting five as Toppi tends to leave his best five on the court as much as possible as Oscoda does a good job playing smart basketball and staying out of foul trouble.

Oscoda will need to get off to a better start in tonight’s regional semifinal contest than it did on Friday if the Owls hope to continue their dream season and defeat the Trojans and advance to their first ever regional championship game.

The winner of tonight’s game will return to McBain High School on Wednesday for a regional championship matchup against the winner of Houghton Lake (24-0) and Hart (12-10).