Tough one to lose
Posen edged by Cedarville in regional semifinal
ST. IGNACE — The Posen boys basketball team did almost everything it set out to do on Tuesday.
The Vikings created turnovers, rebounded the ball and were able to make shots.
The only thing Posen couldn’t do was come away with a win.
Despite keeping it close down the stretch, the Vikings couldn’t get crucial shots to fall in the last few minutes and ultimately lost to Cedarville 53-47 in a Division 4 regional semifinal at St. Ignace.
The Vikings (15-8) trailed 27-23 at halftime and never led in the second half. Still, Posen was able to keep Cedarville on its heels and trailed by just four, 38-34, after three quarters.
Posen cut the Trojans’ lead to two twice in the fourth quarter and also pulled to within one two different times. In the end, Posen ran out of time to mount one last rally and the game became a story of close, but not close enough.
“I know it’s not how they wanted to go. It’s not how I wanted to go. I (wanted to) win that game,” Posen coach Chris Keller said. “We could have won that game, but at the end of the day, a few of our shots weren’t falling that we were hoping would fall and we ended up on the wrong side of the ball.”
A three-pointer from Cedarville’s Pat O’Brien gave the Trojans a 46-41 lead with 3:20 left, but Posen attempted to rally one last time. Jeremy Misiak scored on an inbound from Jared Sharpe to cut it to three and then drove the baseline and scored with 2:06 left to cut it to one.
But as it happened several times on Tuesday, Cedarville was able to make just the right play to stay just far enough ahead. With 1:34 left, Trenton Masuga managed to keep the ball inbounds along the sideline for the Trojans. After getting control of the ball, he worked it inside to Jarron Masuga, who scored, was fouled and completed a three-point play to put Cedarville back up by four.
Sharpe hit one last shot to cut the lead to three with 57 seconds left, but Posen was forced to foul the rest of the way and missed several chances at the basket when it did get the ball back.
Playing in its first regional playoff game in seven years, Posen played well in a high stakes game. But the inability to convert chances was a thorn in Posen’s side all game long and it came back to hurt the Vikings at the end of the game.
“We did exactly what we wanted to do, every aspect of this game. We wanted to create turnovers, we did that. We wanted to rebound the ball, we freaking did that too,” Keller said. “We didn’t get the shots to fall after we did (the first two things). We got the extra possessions and we didn’t convert.”
O’Brien paced Cedarville with 17 points, Jarron Masuga had 15 points and Trenton Masuga added 10.
Jared Sharpe led Posen with 23 points and Misiak and Eyan Hincka each added eight.
Posen had chances to take the lead in the third quarter, but couldn’t get over the hump, even with Trenton Masuga on the bench. The Trojan senior picked up his fourth foul with 3:27 left in the third quarter and sat for more than six minutes.
In the interim, Posen cut the lead to two on a banker from Wyatt Romel, but Cedarville answered quickly with a triple from O’Brien to squash Posen’s momentum.
Cedarville’s ability to make the right play at the right time was illustrated earlier in the period when the Trojans drove down the floor and missed a shot. Cedarville proceeded to grab five offensive rebounds and put them up for scoring chances before the ball was sent back the other way.
Hincka streaked along the baseline early in the fourth quarter and took a pass from Misiak to score, making it 38-36. Less than a minute later, Sharpe drilled a triple to make it 40-39, but again Cedarville answered.
Keller praised his team, especially Posen’s six seniors, after the game. Three years ago in Keller’s first season, Posen lost by 25 in their playoff opener. Three years later, Posen won a district championship for the first time since 2012 and Keller said this season’s team will be remembered as one that helped the program turn a corner competitively.
“We can ‘What If’ it do death, but at the end of the day, I’m real proud of the way they played,” Keller said.
The Vikings got hot at the end of the first quarter and put together a six-point run in the final 1:25 to lead 14-12 after eight minutes. Cedarville’s ability to score inside and Posen’s missed offensive chances made the difference in the second quarter as Trenton Masuga scored a pair of late baskets to put Cedarville up by four going into halftime.
SCORING 1 2 3 4
Cedarville 12 15 11 15
Posen 14 9 11 13
BOX SCORE: Field goals made/Free throws made/Free throws attempted/Total Points
CEDARVILLE (53): J. Masuga 6 3-9 15; T. Masuga 4 1-2 10; P. O’Brien 6 1-2 17; T. Bohn 1 0-0 2; C. Fisher 2 1-2 6; T. Paquin 0 3-4 3.
POSEN (47): E. Hincka 3 2-5 8; S. Brunet 2 0-2 4; J. Sharpe 9 1-2 23; J. Misiak 4 0-0 8; W. Romel 1 0-3 2; G. Kroll 1 0-0 2.