Area girls hoops teams ready to compete for district championships

Usually girls basketball teams get March Madness started by competing for district titles, but after the boys kicked things off last week, the girls will get their turn this week.

Several area teams will be striving to continue magical seasons, while others will be looking for a fresh start.

Fortunately, the opportunities are there for the taking, but only one team can come out of each district and call themselves champions.

Wolverine

District

Three area teams will compete for a chance to claim a district crown in Wolverine.

North Star League rivals Hillman and Posen will kick Division 4 district play off Monday.

Despite splitting the regular season series, both teams have experienced a different journey on their way to the district tournament.

Hillman finished the regular season with an 8-11 record and will need to make a deep postseason run if it wants to avoid its first losing season since 2013-2014.

There is definitely some added motivation this year for the Tigers. For a team that started the season poorly and lacked numbers, as the season went on, the numbers improved and so did Hillman’s play.

The Tigers dropped their first six games of the season, but improved, winning five of their last seven games to build some much needed momentum and confidence heading into district play.

“Our district presents another tough challenge like it does every year,” Hillman coach John Kuzewski said. “We got off to a slower start this year and slower than I expected, but our goal was to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season and I think we’ve done that. I know we’re a better team now than we were earlier and we still have some goals we would like to accomplish.”

Posen also got off to a slow start to begin the season, losing its first four games, but the Vikings rallied in a big way and finished with a 10-9 record, including another North Star League Little Dipper division title and are winners of four out of their seven entering district play.

The winner of Monday’s district quarterfinal matchup will advance to play Onaway in Wednesday’s district semifinal contest.

The Cardinals finished the regular season at 12-6, the best record for any team in this district.

Whomever advances past the district semifinal will meet the winner of Wolverine (12-5) and Vanderbilt (1-15) on Friday for the district championship.

“Everyone wants to win a district title. Us and Hillman will be a battle that first game,” Posen coach Karl Momrik said. “We played a lot of young kids this year and we were happy to win a league title. We keep progressing as a program and winning a district title would be a huge accomplishment.”

Alpena’s Division 1 District

The Alpena girls basketball team didn’t start the season like it had hoped, but the Wildcats made strides midway through the year.

Unfortunately, like many teams, the Wildcats have been unable to get into much of a rhythm as many of their games have been postponed due to the harsh winter weather.

Alpena finished the regular season with three games in four days, all against Big North Conference opponents and finished 2-1 in that span.

Whether this will benefit the Wildcats or not heading into postseason play will be determined, but Alpena will need to put together its best performance of the season Monday against a Marquette team that finished with a 16-3 regular season record.

“”It feels good to finish off the regular season with a conference win and with this win we finished third,” Alpena coach Erin Andrews said. “Now we have to go back at it, in the first round of the districts here against Marquette, on Monday.”

Alpena will have the luxury of playing on its home court, so the Wildcats will hope to feed off of a home crowd and take advantage of a Marquette team that will be making the long bus trip south.

Alpena’s start to today’s game will be critical as they don’t want to fall behind early to a talented Marquette team.

If the shots a falling and the Wildcats get into a rhythm, they could pull of a first round upset.

Alpena’s three-point shooting has been streaky this season, but when they are on, the confidence builds and Alpena’s fast paced style of offense can create points in a hurry.

The winner of today’s game will advance to Wednesday’s district semifinal game at Traverse City Central.

Oscoda District

It’s been a dream season for the Oscoda girls basketball team.

The Owls enjoyed an undefeated regular season at 19-0 and over the past two seasons have enjoyed a huge turnaround under the reigning Class C coach of the year Mark Toppi.

It’s no secret Oscoda is the favorite in this district.

The Owls are loaded with weapons, haven’t lost a game and will be playing in front of a home crowd.

“We had two team goals at the beginning of the year and going undefeated was not one of them. We wanted to win the conference and we accomplished that goal, now our next is to win a district,” Oscoda coach Mark Toppi said. “It helps that we’re at home and home court will be huge for us because we can stay in our normal routine. We have talented players and everyone in our starting five is capable of contributing. If everything comes together we’re capable of beating anyone.”

Oscoda begins district play Monday at 6 p.m. with a quarterfinal matchup against Johannesburg-Lewiston who finished the regular season with an 12-6 record.

The winner of today’s game will play Whittemore-Prescott (11-6) in Wednesday’s district semifinal at 6 p.m.

Rogers City and Alcona will square off in the late game at 7:30 p.m. in a battle of North Star League teams.

The Hurons won both regular season meetings against Alcona, but both games were decided by 10 points or less, including the first meeting, a 44-43 overtime victory for Rogers City.

The Hurons will go as far as Taylor Fleming can take them.

The Rogers City senior has dominated on the court all season and the Hurons will need to find someone to step up offensively, but as long as Fleming is on the court, Rogers City will have a chance.

The Tigers are the complete opposite as they have received balance scoring and good minutes from a handful of players throughout the course of the season.

The winner will take on Roscommon (5-10) in district semifinal game, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

The winners will advance to Friday’s district championship game at 7 p.m.

Mio District

In postseason basketball, every team gets a second chance and fresh start.

The Mio district is loaded with teams looking for a new beginning and in the end one team will be crowned district champion.

The five teams in the Mio district have a combined record of 28-66, but none of it matters now.

Hale (5-15) and Au Gres (6-12) start district play Monday at 6 p.m. with a quarterfinal matchup bewteen two North Star League teams.

The winner advances to Wednesday’s semifinal matchup against Atlanta (5-13) at 7:30 p.m.

Mio (7-10) and Fairview (4-15) each drew a bye on the other side of the bracket and will play the early game Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

The semifinal winners will advance to Friday’s district final championship game at 7 p.m.