By JAMES ANDERSEN
The Alpena News
PELLSTON-The Posen girls basketball team finally got over the hump.
Korynn Hincka scored 28 points and the Vikings won a regional title for the first time in program history on Thursday, defeating Brimley 56-37 in a Class D regional final in Pellston.
The win advances the No. 2 Vikings (25-0) to a quarterfinal matchup with No. 1 Crystal Falls Forest Park on Tuesday in Sault Ste. Marie.
"I can't believe what we just did. It's so unreal right now, it hasn't sunk yet. It's incredible," Hincka said.
Posen won in a regional final game for the first time in three consecutive tries. The Vikings lost to St. Ignace last year and Gaylord St. Mary in 2012.
Posen trailed 9-6 after the first quarter, but wouldn't be denied Thursday. The Vikings took the lead back by halftime, held off a third-quarter rally and played a solid defensive game all night.
"I'll tell you what, you dream about that moment for a long, long time and it feels even better when it comes; it's awesome," Posen coach Karl Momrik said. "Those kids played so hard and so well today we just knew we weren't going to be denied."
The Vikings outscored Brimley 19-8 in the second quarter and came up with several takeaways to hold off the Bays. Hincka scored eight points in the period, but the Vikings also got solid contributions from Ashley Meyers and Jenna Hincka among others.
Posen led 25-17 at halftime and stretched its lead to 11 before Brimley put together a 9-0 run to cut the lead to two with 3:42 left in the third quarter.
The run was quelled quickly by a pair of three-pointers from Meyers who canned both of them in a 20-second span and kickstarted a 14-0 run by the Vikings to end the period.
The anticipated matchup between Korynn and Brimley's 6-3 center Hana Vasela never really materialized and Vasela ran into foul trouble late in the game. She finished with nine points, but wasn't the consistent scoring threat the Bays were hoping for.
Alyssa Graham led Brimley with 12 points.
Posen led 43-27 after three quarters and upped its lead to 21 early in the final quarter. The Vikings kept up their stellar defensive efforts, but they were also able to eat up chunks of time setting up offensive plays.
Brimley came out firing in the first quarter and the Vikings struggled to score despite getting some open looks.
In spite of this, Momrik wasn't worried and encouraged his team to keep shooting. The Vikings went 0-for-9 from the free throw line in the first half, but their offense burst in the second quarter made up for it.
"I thought we were playing great, (but) we were 0-for-9 from the free throw line. We were getting the shots we wanted and we never had a stretch where we took bad shots," Momrik said. "That was the most complete game I'd say we've played all year."
Any momentum Brimley had entering the second quarter went away quick. Posen made adjustments and turned up the pressure with its full-court press and the Bays often found themselves dribbling up the sidelines and eventually turning the ball over. The Vikings proved too quick and both Hinckas, Meyers and Austin Sharpe forced turnovers and converted them into points.
Graham and Vasela put together Brimley's third quarter run, but the Vikings regained their composure after Meyers' big three-pointers. Posen got a small scare when Korynn was fouled late in the third quarter and came up limping, but she was back on the floor to start the final period and scored eight more points.
"I'm sore, but all the injuries are worth it," Korynn said. "We keep winning and bringing home the hardware."
Up next for the Vikings is another 1 vs. 2 matchup next week, but Momrik said his team will enjoy its win tonight, especially Posen's three seniors.
"We'll focus on that tomorrow, but right now we are just going to focus on being regional champs," Momrik said. "Austin Sharpe, Ashley Meyers, Korynn Hincka, what more can you say about three kids? The way they played today was unbelievable."
POSEN (56): K. Hincka 12 4-13 28; J. Hincka 4 1-4 9; A. Meyers 3 5-6 14; A. Sharpe 0 1-3 1; C. LaTulip 1 2-2 4.
BRIMLEY (37): E. Chartrand 1 0-1 2; T. Graham 1 0-0 3; H. Vasela 4 1-1 9; A. Archumbeau 4 0-0 8; A. Graham 5 1-2 11; L. LeBlanc 1 0-0 2; S. Hebeeb 1 0-0 2.