A marquee victory

Late shot, strong defense lead Vikings past Hale

News Photo by James Andersen Posen’s Eyan Hincka (40) drives past Hale’s Brenden Bernard for a basket during the first half of a boys basketball game on Tuesday in Posen.

POSEN–Sticking to its identity paid off in a big way for the Posen boys basketball team.

Wyatt Romel scored on a put-back with seven seconds left and the Vikings scored an upset over Hale on Tuesday, topping the Eagles 47-46 at Posen High School in a hard-fought win.

In an up-tempo contest that saw seven second-half lead changes and had all the intensity of a playoff game, the Vikings (11-4, 7-1 North Star League Little Dipper) put together their strongest defensive effort of the season to stifle the Little-Dipper leading Eagles when they needed to.

“It’s a great feeling. Hale’s a talented team. They’re coming into this game I think 15-1, 14-1. They’re a talented ball team,” Posen coach Chris Keller said. “Hats off to our guys. Our guys played probably the best defense I’ve seen them play all year…I couldn’t be more proud of them; everybody on our team, everybody in our program. This is a big win for us. This is a real marquee win for us.”

Trailing by one with 34 seconds left, Posen dribbled past half court and called a timeout. On the ensuing possession, the inbound went to Eyan Hincka, who dribbled in the paint before passing off to Lucas Stone.

Stone fired a jumper that missed and Romel was there to snag the rebound, scoring on a put-back that proved to be the game-winning shot.

Joe Kimmerer missed a three-point attempt for Hale as time expired, eliciting a celebratory roar from the Posen crowd.

“We drew up the play (and) we were trying to get Lucas Stone a shot because he’d been shooting the ball well. It just didn’t happen that way…With four seniors on the floor that have time playing in games, big games, I was comfortable with how it went down,” Keller said. “We were preaching rebounding and thank God Wyatt Romel got the rebound because that was huge.”

Kimmerer, who has torched opposing defenses all season, finished with 14 points, 20 rebounds and five assists, but had just three points in the fourth quarter.

Hale (14-2) led by four with 5:12 left and held the lead 46-45 with 34 seconds left after Garrett Beebe knocked down two free throws.

But ultimately it was the Vikings who emerged the victors after a frustrating 83-67 loss to Hale on the road in early January.

The Vikings trailed 23-20 at halftime, but got a boost from Stone who took over in the third quarter, scoring the first eight points of the half. Stone, who finished with a game-high 22 points, scored on a putback, drove the lane for a floater, hit a step back jumper and then stole the ball and converted a layup, all within about two and a half minutes to put Posen up 28-23.

During this stretch and again later in the fourth quarter, Hale struggled to move the ball consistently, turning it over several times and missing several easy shots. The Eagles have won the majority of their games by comfortable margins this season, but Posen’s defensive efforts Tuesday arguably may have been the best Hale’s seen all year as the Vikings forced contested shots, clogged passing lanes and hounded Hale on the boards.

“I told the boys before the game, I said, “We’re a defensive team. That’s what we pride ourselves on. There’s no point in trying to be something we’re not,'” Keller said. “Going into this game with that mindset, we might as well do what we’re doing.”

The two teams traded baskets the rest of the quarter, but Posen ultimately held the lead after 24 minutes when Stone scored again with seven seconds left, putting the Vikings up 38-37.

Hale seized momentum back to start the fourth quarter and outscored Posen 7-2 in the early going to take the lead back. But Posen didn’t back down and got key buckets from Stone, George Kroll and a free throw from Hincka to snag back a tentative lead.

A buzzer-beater from Kroll gave Posen a 12-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, but a run midway through the second quarter and a three-pointer in the closing seconds of the half gave Hale a 23-20 lead at the break.

Posen hosts Whittemore-Prescott next Tuesday.


BOX SCORE: Field Goals Made/Free Throws Made/Free Throws Attempted/Total Points

POSEN (47): L. Stone 10 1-2 22; E. Hincka 4 1-2 10; W. Romel 3 0-1 6; G. Kroll 3 0-0 7; C. Dubie 1 0-0 2.

HALE (46): K. Ludwig 4 1-1 9; J. Kimmerer 6 1-2 14; J. Bovee 1 0-0 3; B. Parkinson 3 0-0 7; D. Wanty 4 1-2 11; G. Beebe 0 2-2 2.


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