Tigers edge Posen in controversial district quarterfinal contest

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Members of the Hillman girls basketball team celebrate after a district quarterfinal victory against North Star League rival Posen on Monday in Wolverine.

WOLVERINE–Monday’s first round district matchup had everything you could ask for in a postseason battle between North Star League rivals and perhaps a little too much officiating.

Hillman and Posen met in a Division 4 district quarterfinal matchup and the two teams battled from start to finish in a closely contested game that had plenty of controversy. In the end, a late three-pointer from Melanie Morrison gave the Tigers a lead with 13 seconds left and Hillman held on for a 48-46 victory as the Tigers were able to survive and advance in a game that was taken over at times by the whistle.

“It’s what you have to do this time of the year is survive and advance. It may not be a pretty win, it could be an ugly win, but it’s a win nonetheless and that’s what you have to do,” Hillman coach John Kuzewski said. “I cant be prouder of my team right now, we faced some adversity tonight. I’ve never been part of a game before where there were so many free-throws shot and I had that many girls in foul trouble. It’s hard to coach that way, but my girls made it through, persevered and we’re moving on.”

A total of 64 free-throws were attempted in the game, 31 of those attempts coming in the second quarter.

As frustrating as the first half was, the controversy reached a boiling point with 2:37 left in the game.

There was some confusion concerning certain players and the number of fouls they had. The referee in charge of the scorebook had different information than the two teams playing.

“When we have an official book that doesn’t know how many fouls people have, we have a big problem,” Posen coach Karl Momrik said. “When we go to the official book and they’re talking to the other scorekeepers about who has fouls and who doesn’t, we got a major problem because one person is in charge of this game and it’s the official book.”

After the Vikings attempted 20 free-throws in the second quarter, Hillman found itself in foul trouble despite leading 21-19 at the half.

Hillman’s Brooke Jones got called for a technical foul a minute into the fourth quarter and picked up her fifth foul. 

There were two stoppages at the 2:37 mark in the fourth quarter. The official scorekeeper made a mistake and had Jones for four fouls and Kuzewski entered Jones back in the game, which led to the first stoppage as Posen’s scorebook had Jones for five fouls after picking up the technical.

“After Brooke got the technical, I knew in my mind she had five fouls, however the referee never said five fouls and one of our coaches informed me the official book only showed four fouls,” Kuzewski said. “We double checked the official book and inserted Brooke back in, Posen immediately knew she had five fouls and I wasn’t trying to break the rules, I was just going by the main scorebook.”

The second disruption came when someone had Morrison, who wears No. 41, with five fouls, but one of the fouls was charged to No. 14 Alison Samp. After Morrison was subbed in for Jones, it caused another stoppage.

“Someone had Melanie for five fouls, I didn’t, I had just subbed her out and I subbed her back in and that’s where the next commotion started,” Kuzewski said. “Apparently Melanie did only have four fouls, so at that point there was a disruption, but we moved forward.”

Morrison proved to be a pivotal part in deciding the game as Hillman trailed 46-43 with 1:25 left.

Morrison connected on a deep basket to bring the Tigers to within one and then hit the dagger with a three-pointer from the corner with 13 seconds left to put Hillman up 48-46.

The Vikings had opportunities throughout the game and threw their last chance away late as an errant pass went out of bounds with 0.7 seconds left. There was no time for Posen to do anything after the Vikings fouled Emma Libby, who missed the front end of a one-and-one and time ran out.

“We missed too many free-throws and missed chances throughout the night, but I’m proud of the girls after the way they were able to hang in there in these unbelievable circumstances,” Momrik said. “I’ve never gone through anything like this in all my years of coaching.”

Bailey Schook led the way for Hillman, pouring in a game high 17 points in the win. Morrison added 10 points and Samp finished with eight.

Brooke Ciarkowski paced the Vikings with 15 points, Riley Krajniak added 12 points and Makayla Kamyszek chipped in with nine points.

Hillman advances to Wednesday’s district semifinal game against Onaway at 6 p.m.

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BOX SCORE:

Field goals made/Free-throws made/Free-throws attempted/Total points

HILLMAN (48): B. Schook, 5 6-7 17; A. Samp, 1 6-10 8; E. Libby 1 0-0 2; B. Jones, 2 3-5 7; J. Jones, 0 2-2 2; M. Morrison, 4 1-1 10; A. Calender, 1 0-0 2.

POSEN (46): M. Kamyszek, 3 3-6 9; R. Krajniak, 5 0-2 12; A. Eagling, 2 0-0 4; L. Romel, 0 2-8 2; A. Schellie, 0 1-2 1; B. Ciarkowski, 2 12-18 15; M. Menzel, 1 0-0 2.