by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
Hillman (21-1) won its fourth district basketball tournament in five years with a 54-37 win over Rogers City Friday in the Class D district final in a Posen gym filled to capacity.
The Tigers’ trapping defense forced the Hurons into numerous turnovers and they came up with the big shots when they needed them.
Hillman, which was ranked third at the end of the season, has one of the best boys’ programs in northern Michigan, but the Hurons gave them a game.
Rogers City led 16-11 early in the second quarter before Hillman came back to take a five point lead at the half. The Hurons’ deficit was six after three, 37-31, before Hillman took over with a 13-2 run. In the meantime, the Hurons could not make a shot in the fourth. The Hurons managed only two field goals from Deuce Tulgetska and Jake Hilla and two free throws from Andrew Radke in the fourth quarter.
Rogers City coach Matt Ponik tipped his hat to Hillman, but was even more proud of his squad. “They laid a foundation for years to come in my first year, 16 wins is a successful season,” said Ponik. “You know, I came into a great group of seniors. The best part of them is they are all great young men. they laid a foundation and I am proud of them.”
Phil Grambau scored 10 points in the first quarter, but was held scoreless the rest of the way. Evan Delke also had eight points for the Hurons. Hilla led the team with six assists while Delke led the team with six rebounds. Hillman forced 18 Huron turnovers.
The Hurons finished 16-7.
More comments from the coach, including his thoughts on the bright future of Rogers City boys’ basketball, will be in the next edition of the Advance.