Posen, Hillman boys renew NSL rivalry

HILLMAN-The Posen boys basketball team is travelling to Hillman today to get a second shot at taking on the Tigers in hopes of getting a measure of revenge.

The first meeting on Jan. 10 was a big 76-55 Hillman win.

Posen (6-8, 4-7 North Star League) was within three points of outscoring the Tigers (9-5, 8-3 NSL) in that match-up, but strong offensive from players like Mason VanPamel, Ty Jones and Hunter Fessler kept Posen at bay.

The two teams will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Vikings’ coach Steve Hentkowski hopes to change that this time.

“I’m expecting a really tough team. They really handed it to us last time and we’re going to have to be prepared to pass and hit some shots,” he said.

Hentkowski is looking to team leader Nick Hincka for support as well as Martin Mulka who has really come into his own over the last several games.

“Besides those two, the offense has been struggling a little bit. I think the rivalry between the two teams should fire up the boys to play harder. Hopefully it’ll get them to shoot more accurately and get those balls to drop,” he said.

Mulka had a high moment during a game against Fairview recently, where a last-second three-point shot gave his team the win in a back-and-forth match.

Shutting down VanPamel, Jones and Fessler will also be key for a Vikings victory.

“They have a really young team but they’re talented. Fessler and VanPamel really gave us trouble inside and under the boards. It’s hard to tailor a defense around a player like VanPamel so we’re really going to have to focus on keeping the ball out of his hands and shooting as accurately as possible,” Hentkowski said.

Players such as Travis Sharpe, Warren Beach and Luke Litwinski have been important components for Posen offensively and defensively. John Zabroney has also been a key player, contributing great rebounding and offensive pressure. If these players open up their play and are aggressive, they could be vital against Hillman.

Hillman also has a deep bench with players like David and Mike Olschanski contributing aggressive defense. Mike Klein can also cause problems around the perimeter as he recently showed in a 55-40 defeat of Fairview when he dropped three treys. Brenden Zimmer is a vital inside player as his height gives him excellent advantage in snatching rebounds.

“Posen is always a good game for us. It doesn’t matter what the record says. We gotta establish a tempo from the beginning and let Mason and Ty kind of lead the way. We’ve been playing well together all season and sharing the ball. It makes us hard to play against,” Hillman head coach Eric Muszynski said.