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Posen ready for challenge of playing St. Ignace in regionals

Posen girls basketball coach Karl Momrik knows exactly how big of a challenge his team faces tonight in a Division 4 regional semifinal matchup against St. Ignace.

“That is a mega power. There’s two powers in Division 4–St. Ignace and Adrian Lenawee Christian–it’s them and everybody else,” Momrik said.

But that’s not going to stop the Vikings from playing hard or Momrik and his longtime assistant Kevin Romel from putting together a game plan to try and slow the Saints.

“We’re going to do everything we can to hang in there,” Momrik said. “We’re going to have our heads held high regardless of the final result.”

The two teams meet at 5:30 p.m. at Pellston High School. The winner of the game will play either Engadine or Mackinaw City in Thursday’s regional final.

Tonight’s game will mark the first time St. Ignace and Posen have met since an instant-classic regional final in 2013. That St. Ignace team went on to win a state title and this year’s team is no less potent.

The Saints (20-2) are in the midst of another stellar season and blew by a 17-4 Pickford team en route to a district title last week. Under longtime coach Dorene Ingalls, St. Ignace looks primed for an eventual rematch with top-ranked Lenawee Christian, who won the Division 4 state title over St. Ignace 48-46 last season.

Just a few days removed from winning their first district championship since 2016, the Vikings (17-5) will have their work cut out for them against the No. 2 team in Division 4. But this group of Vikings–which represents the youngest group Momrik has had in 13 seasons–has never been afraid of hard work and has grown leaps and bounds this year.

With a group that includes four sophomores, two eighth-graders and a freshman, the Vikings leaned heavily on their two seniors–Riley Krajniak and Elena Kalbitzer–to shoulder the load early in the season. But with each game, many of Posen’s younger players have emerged to take on key roles and stepped up in some big moments. Sophomore Makayla Kamyszek has become a scoring and rebounding force; sophomore Lizzy Romel has turned into a lockdown defender who can also score if necessary; eighth grader Ella Szatkowski has been solid on both ends of the floor as well and Madison Menzel, Faith Cousins, Sofya Hincka, Sophie Romel and Abigail Schellie have all stepped in at various times to play some key minutes defensively or get a bucket in a tight game.

“They’re very athletic. It’s a great group and it’s been a lot of fun to coach,” Momrik said. “We’re gonna go in there with a game plan and give it our best.”

Posen won’t be the only local team with a huge challenge tonight.

Oscoda (20-3) is looking to advance in the Division 3 regional tournament, but the Owls will have to get by Charlevoix (18-5) to do it. Game time is 6 p.m. at Cheboygan High School.

The Rayders, who won their fourth straight district championship last week, are finally back at full strength and boast one of the state’s best players in Elise Stuck.

The University of Michigan signee has missed most of her senior season with a torn ACL, but returned to Charlevoix’s lineup and been an impact player off the bench. She scored 12 points in the Raiders’ 55-31 district title win over Johannesburg-Lewiston and has more than 1,500 career points; more than enough to graduate as the program’s all-time leading scorer.

Oscoda, which defeated Alcona for a second consecutive district title last week, got its first taste of regional action last season. It was a over quickly however as Lake City got the better of the Owls in a regional semifinal, 49-35.

With a good deal of talent returning from last year’s 22-1 team– including Lauren Langley, Macy Kellstrom and Izzy Hulverson–the Owls have been patiently waiting all season for a chance to prove themselves again in the playoffs. They’ve done well so far with three wins last week on the way more district hardware.

Mio (10-13) will round out a group of three North Star League squads in regional action tonight. Mio will play Saginaw Nouvel in a regional semifinal at Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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