Cardinals avenge last year’s loss to Posen

HILLMAN-The Onaway boys basketball team avenged last year’s district loss to Posen on Wednesday in a 59-49 win over the Vikings in a class D district semifinal.

“This win ranks up there right in the top. To get into a district final, it’s what we work for every year and we’re finally here,” Onaway coach Eddy Szymoniak said.

The first quarter started slow offensively for both teams. Posen (10-9) took a 4-0 lead at 6:26 in the quarter, but Onaway (16-5) figured out how to break Posen’s press and outscored the Vikings 17-5 for the rest of the quarter to lead 17-11.

Onaway was helped by the rebounding efforts of Joe O’Bradovich and Carlos Bautista. It’s offense was often driven by point guard Joe Sigsby, who looked for weak spots in the Posen defense.

The Vikings were led by Nick Hincka with 18 points.

The second quarter was the deciding factor in the game. Onaway held Posen scoreless for minutes at a time as O’Bradovich found his groove.

O’Bradovich scored 12 points in a second quarter that saw Onaway outscore the Vikings 17-8 to take a 34-19 lead into the third.

O’Bradovich led the Cardinals with 23 points.

Posen rallied back a bit in the third quarter thanks to Travis Sharpe and Hincka. Hincka dropped a trey while Sharpe scored a pair of buckets. It also shut down Onaway’s offense more consistently.

“We started to get going (in the third), but we missed like four free throws in that span. That’s what sets you back, when you don’t get those buckets,” Posen coach Matt Ponik said.

The Cardinals were also hampered by the lack of Bautista in the third quarter as he picked up four fouls and had to sit most of the period.

However, the rest of the team more than made up for it as Onaway took a 42-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

The final quarter remained tight in parts, but the momentum stayed firmly in Onaway’s favor, especially as the Vikings ran into foul trouble trying to press the Cardinals.

The Cardinals hit 10 free throws in the last three minutes of the game as a result.

Hincka, Sharpe and Beccard hit a trey each in the fourth quarter and the whole team played hard until the end, but it wasn’t enough to make up the difference.

Onaway faces Hillman in the district final on Friday at 7 p.m. in Hillman.

“We expect a good shooting team. They have a lot of good ball handlers. We expect to see an outside shooting team. I think we’ll have to step up our game and take away their outside game,” Szymoniak said.

ONAWAY (59): C. Morell 1 0-2 2; J. O’Bradovich 7 8-11 23; J. Sigsby 1 0-0 2; C. Bautista 4 3-5 11; A. Prow 3 2-2 10 ; C. Cleaver 4 3-4 11.

POSEN (49): L. Beccard 3 0-1 8; T. Sharpe 7 2-3 17; N. Hincka 6 3-8 18; J. Zaborney 3 0-0 6.

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