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A loss to learn from

Young Vikings can’t keep up with Saints in regional defeat

News Photo by James Andersen Posen senior Riley Krajniak (20) dribbles past St. Ignace’s Hallie Marshall during the first half of a Division 4 regional semifinal at Pellston High School on Tuesday.

PELLSTON–Experience trumped youth on Tuesday.

Allison Schultz scored 17 points, Hallie Marshall added 14 and St. Ignace used its talent and playoff experience to breeze by the Posen girls basketball team, 65-23, in a Division 4 regional semifinal at Pellston High School.

Posen (17-6), who boasts four sophomores, a freshman and two eighth graders among the regulars on its varsity roster, knew it would have its hands full against the No. 2 Saints, who have made regional wins look easy for years under longtime coaches Doug and Dorene Ingalls.

It didn’t didn’t take long for the Vikings to find out just how good the Saints are Tuesday as St. Ignace (21-2) pulled away after an up-and-down first quarter. The Saints led 13-8 after one quarter, 37-13 at halftime, 55-15 after three quarters and made nothing easy for the Vikings.

“We hung in there…and played a decent first quarter,” Posen coach Karl Momrik said. This St. Ignace team could win the state title. I’ll be frankly surprised if they don’t. They penetrate and dish it out as well as any team I’ve seen. They hit the three and you’re left running around chasing.”

Schultz in particular, showed off her ability from long range, canning five triples for the game, including three in the last two minutes of first half. St. Ignace finished with seven on the night, but wasn’t afraid to penetrate Posen’s defense either for points in the paint.

Tessa Shepard added 12 points for St. Ignace and the Saints had five players finish with at least seven points.

“Nobody ever wants to face St. Ignace (because they’re good). They run kids in and out like an assembly line and they can all play,” Momrik said. “This isn’t anything new. This isn’t anything we didn’t expect.”

Posen kept things close early, but showed its youth against a quicker, hungrier and more experienced St. Ignace squad. The Saints pressured Posen into numerous turnovers, especially on inbounds plays and too often the Vikings barely got past half court before the ball was headed the other way.

The few open looks Posen did get early weren’t converted and eventually defensive pressure wore the Vikings down as even the most routine plays ended up as turnovers.

Posen was limited to two field goals among five points in the second quarter and was nearly held scoreless in the third quarter until Faith Cousins was fouled at the buzzer and drained two free throws.

Riley Krajniak, one of two Posen seniors, scored 10 points in her final game as a Viking and eighth grader Ella Szatkowski added seven. Posen’s other senior, Elena Kalbitzer, finished with two points after going out with an injury in the second quarter.

Despite the loss, Momrik was proud of his team’s effort this season and made sure every player who was healthy saw some time on the floor Tuesday.

“We knew at halftime we were pretty much not going to win the ball game, (but) we said this kind of experience is awesome,” Momrik said. “(For players like) an eighth grader like Ella Szatkowski, the good things they did they can build on and the things they need to work on, they know what it takes now to get to an upper level.”

Despite having the youngest team of Momrik’s tenure, the Vikings got better as the season went on and ultimately accomplished both of their season goals: winning a North Star League division title–Posen shared the Little Dipper with Hillman–and winning a district title, which the Vikings did for the first time since 2016.

“We’re thrilled with the season we had,” Momrik said. “What a great year for the youngest team ever. I’m just totally proud of that team.”

St. Ignace advances to play Engadine in Thursday’s regional final.

——

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

ST. IGNACE (65): A. Schultz 6 0-0 17; E. Hart 3 1-2 7; H. Marshall 6 2-2 14; C. Frazier 1 1-2 3; Te. Shepard 4 2-2 12; A. Hart 3 1-2 7; Ta. Shepard 1 1-1 3; K. Peters 0 1-2 1; J. Fraser 0 1-4 1

POSEN (23): E. Kalbitzer 1 0-2 2; E. Szatkowski 3 1-2 7; R. Krajniak 3 3-7 10; F. Cousins 0 2-3 2; M. Kamyszek 1 0-0 2; S. Hincka 0 0-1 0.

Charlevoix 65, Oscoda 29

CHEBOYGAN–The Oscoda girls basketball team’s hopes for a regional championship came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday as the Owls were defeated 65-29 by Charlevoix in a Division 3 regional semifinal.

The Rayders jumped out to a 15-3 lead to start the game, led 24-8 after one quarter and 43-18 by halftime.

Lauren Langley scored 11 points for the Owls and finished her high school career as Oscoda’s all-time leading scorer (1,365 points) and all-time leading rebounder.

Macy Kellstrom added 10 points and Izzy Hulverson had five.

The North Star League ended up 0-for-3 on the night after Mio lost to Saginaw Nouvel 74-26 in a Division 4 regional semifinal at Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart. No further details were available from the game, though Mio finished the season with a 10-14 record.

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