By ERIC BENAC
News Sports Writer
POSEN-What a way to start the season.
Although it wasn’t exactly the cleanest game by either side, the season opening non-conference matchup between the Posen and Alcona girls basketball teams was tight to the very end with Posen utlimately pulling ahead to a 55-48 victory.
If Posen had lost, it would have been its first regular season loss in 48 games.
“I think that both teams just couldn’t find their way out there a lot of the time tonight. I’m sure both coaches are out there going ‘mercy me’ a lot of the time. But, I like ugly wins too,” Posen coach Karl Momrik said.
Posen’s victory came off a stymied late Alcona comeback. Although the Vikings held the lead the whole game, the Tigers were usually only behind by single digits.
With just under five minutes left, Kendra Cole hit a three pointer and 30 seconds later, her sister Karina Cole hit a pair of free throws to pull Alcona into a 44-43 lead.
This type of lead change can often signify a momentum shift in a game, but the Vikings were able to put the kibosh on the Tigers’ comeback by outscoring Alcona 12-4 in the last five minutes of the game.
“Neither team played really, really good but they outplayed us. We just couldn’t make a basket,” Alcona coach Brad Cole said.
Karina Cole had a double-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five steals. Kendra Cole had eight points and nine rebounds.
Posen’s customary double-digit lead was elusive during this game and a lot of it had to do with tight defense from Alcona.
The Tigers often double and triple teamed Posen, with the Vikings regularly returning the favor.
“I saw some good things and most of the bad things were just because of first game jitters. But, both teams had them so there’s no excuse. We just got beat tonight,” Cole said.
The Vikings ended the first quarter with a 11-5 lead and took a 17-6 lead three minutes into the third. Korynn Hincka and Ashley Meyers helped Posen take its biggest lead of the night.
Hincka led her team with 30 points while Meyers contributed 12.
The Tigers buckled down offensively and defensively and started putting points on the board. Many of these points came from Karina’s free throws as she hit 7-of-10 in the second quarter and 12-of-16 for the night.
Defensive pressure from Alcona players like Sydney Pierce and Megan Quick created scoring opportunities for the Tigers late in the half.
These turnover scores helped narrow the lead to 25-20 at the half.
Pierce and Quick had five steals each.
The third quarter stayed tight with both teams picking up plenty of scoring opportunities. Karina hit the first three of the night with 1:20 left in the third, but the Vikings crept ahead to a 41-33 lead after three quarters.
After Meyers hit a bucket to extend Posen’s lead to 43-37, the Tigers held Posen scoreless for two minutes. Although the Tigers did briefly take a one-point lead, they lost it 40 seconds later and never regained it.
“I give our kids a lot of credit for the way we fought back when we were behind. That’s often the time when the tree falls over, but we held our composure, made some key plays, hit some free throws down the stretch and we’re just happy to get the win,” Momrik said.
Posen hosts Hillman on Friday while Alcona plays at Alpena tonight.
POSEN (55): K. Hincka 12-6-9-30; K. Lenard 1-3-4-5; A. Sharpe 2-0-0-4; J. Hincka 1-2-2-4; H. Kaszubowski 1-0-2-2; A. Meyers 5-2-3-12.
ALCONA (48): K. Cole 2-12-16-17; K. Kole 2-3-4-8; T. Harmon 2-2-2-6; M. Quick 3-0-0-6; N. Walen 2-1-4-5; C. Carpenter 2-0-0-4; M. Feldhiser 0-0-2-2.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.