PELLSTON-The regional playoffs have become familiar territory for the Posen girls basketball team as the Vikings have made an appearance there in each of the last five years.
Now the Vikings want to take the next step forward; instead of simply getting to a regional or a regional final, Posen wants to come away with its first regional championship.
Posen will get its next chance to do that at 7 p.m. tonight against Brimley in a Class D reigonal final in Pellston.
The Vikings (24-0) are making their third consecutive appearance in a regional final and fell just a few points shy last year in a loss to St. Ignace. The difference this year is that Posen is considered to be a slight favorite over the Bays and the prevailing feeling is this could be Posen's year to shine.
"You pretty much tell them (the players) that we know what kind of team we have and now it's time to go out and it's time to seize the regional title," Posen coach Karl Momrik said.
Posen may be a favorite, but Brimley (21-3) isn't exactly a pushover. The Bays won their three district in four years last week and cruised past Engadine 69-51 on Tuesday in a regional semifinal.
Class D Regional Final at Pellston
Posen vs. Brimley
7 p.m. today
How they got here
def. DeTour 56-11
def. Kinross Maplewood Baptist 65-29
def. Cedarville 62-39
def. Engadine 69-51Posen (24-0)
def. Hillman 63-45
def. Rogers City 49-32
def. Onaway 62-36
def. Pellston 66-28
The two teams last met each other in a regional semifinal in 2012; a game Posen won 62-60 in spite of some turnover troubles.
One thing the Bays have that most of Posen's opponents this season haven't had is someone to contend with 6-1 senior center Korynn Hincka. Brimley will counter with 6-3 Hana Vesela, an exchange student from the Czech Republic and it should create an interesting matchup up front. Vesela scored recorded a double-double in Tuesday's win with 21 points and 11 rebounds and could cause some problems for the Vikings' defense.
"She's obviously very tall and we're not going to move her," Momrik said. "We pretty much still have to play our game."
With Hincka and Vesela battling in the paint, the Vikings will need big performances from other starters and secondary scorers such as Ashley Meyers and Jenna Hincka who have both stepped up at times already in this postseason.
Aside from Vesela, have quite a bit of depth. When Vesela and Tabitha Graham ran into foul troubles last week in the district final, Laci LeBlanc, Kerri Chartrand and Anne Archambeau were among those that stepped up to fill the void. Graham and Chartrand each reached double figures on Tuesday, scoring 18 and 10 points respectively.
On paper, both teams match each other fairly well, but one difference tonight could be whichever side gets off to a better start. Posen raced out to an early 20-0 lead over Pellston, but didn't play its best half. Brimley opened against Engadine on an 11-0 run and led 19-5 after one quarter.
But tonight's game is a clean slate for both teams and Momrik said his team is ready for a high-caliber challenge like this.
"The kids are pretty excited and we're pretty good healthwise," Momrik said. "Brimley always seems to have big teams, they rebound well and they're very well coached."
The winner of tonight's game advances to a quarterfinal next Tuesday against either Crystal Falls Forest Park or Superior Central.
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.