VanPamel reaches milestone in Hillman victory

HILLMAN-It was a David and Goliath situation in Hillman on Wednesday, when the 19-1 Hillman boys basketball team faced 2-19 Rogers City in a class D district semifinal.

Goliath did not disappoint in a 79-52 Hillman win.

“We’re a young team and we’ve gotten better through the year. Last time we played Hillman, they beat us by 70 points. I just wanted them to come out play hard and compete and they did that tonight,” Rogers City coach Jesse Streich said.

Hillman’s Mason VanPamel also had a career highlight when he scored his 1,000th career point early in the fourth quarter.

“Its such an amazing feeling, especially doing at home in a playoff game and at home in front of a great crowd. Its a once and a lifetime thing,” VanPamel said.

Hillman’s win puts it in Friday’s district final against Onaway at 7 p.m.

The Tigers took quick control of the game when Ty Jones hit an opening three-pointer 26 seconds in. Jones hit four three pointers in the first quarter and finished the period with 16 points.

By the times Jones hit his last trey of the quarter, Hillman was up 23-9 with 1:41 left.

Jones led Hillman with 20 points.

The Hurons had some luck with tight man-to-man defense, especially of the defensive efforts of Chris Lopez and Quintin Kelly.

Lopez, the Hurons’ only senior, led Rogers City with 18 points. Every player on the Hurons’ roster scored.

Some of Hillman’s offensive attempts were stymied by the Hurons, but the Tigers still pulled into a 28-13 lead after one quarter.

The Hurons held Hillman scoreless for almost two minutes in the second quarter, but was unable to capitalize. Mike Klein hit a trey at 5:13 while Jones hit his fifth and last three of the night at 4:14 to put Hillman up 37-17.

The game stayed tight defensively, but Hillman continued to outscore the Hurons and took a 47-25 lead into the third quarter.

The third quarter was the tightest offensively. Hillman only outscored Rogers City 19-16, thanks to a pair of treys from Gunnar Libby and one from VanPamel to give Hillman a 66-41 lead after three quarters.

VanPamel scored 17 points.

The game stayed tight in the fourth quarter, with plenty of man-to-man and half court traps from both teams. The Tigers disrupted Rogers City’s offense using this method, but the Hurons still had some small successes.

Two last second buckets by Kelly helped narrow Hillman’s lead, but not enough to matter.

With Onaway up next on Friday, Hillman is expecting a challenge from the Cardinals.

“Onaway’s real tough. They only have five loses and four of them are two state ranked teams. We’re going to have to come out, not make mistakes and play like we do to win,” Hillman coach Eric Muszynski said.

HILLMAN (79): D. Ross 2 0-2 4; T. Jones 7 1-2 20; G. Libby 4 1-1 12; M. Klein 5 0-0 12; B. Zimmer 5 0-1 10; M. VanPamel 7 2-4 17; D. Julka 1 0-0 2; G. Mulka 1 0-0 2.

ROGERS CITY (52): Q. Kelly 4 0-0 9; C. Karsten 1 0-0 2; A. Radke 1-2 1; A. Hincka 4 4-8 13; C. Lopez 6 4-8 18; A. Darga 3 0-0 6; A. Belusar 1 0-0 2; C. Szatkowski 2-2 2.

Eric Benac can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.