Baraga Vikings pull away late to defeat Munising Mustangs, 57-42, in MHSAA Division 4 girls basketball regional tournament

Baraga’s Jaylyne Lindemann, right, brings her arm down on Munising’s Megan Matson in their MHSAA Division 4 regional tournament semifinal game played on Monday in Kingsford. (Ironwood Daily Globe photo by Jason Juno)

KINGSFORD — The Baraga girls almost looked like they had been here before.

The Vikings, comprised mainly of underclassmen, earned a 57-42 basketball victory over Munising in an MHSAA Division 4 regional tournament semifinal game played Monday night.

It marked the first regional appearance in recent years for the Upper Peninsula’s No. 2-ranked Vikings, who have just seven players on their roster.

Baraga (20-3) returns to Kingsford High School to face Stephenson (12-9) in the championship game at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Munising finishes at 16-5.

“This was a tough task,” Baraga coach Tom Goodreau said. “They looked a lot like Ewen-Trout Creek. They’re strong down low and try to go inside-out.”

Baraga led 22-11 following a pair of free throws by sophomore Jaylyne Lindemann with 5:37 left in the second quarter.

Munising finished the second quarter on a 10-4 run, climbing within 26-21 on a pair of free throws by senior Kalia Cotey 7.6 seconds before halftime.

The Mustangs were still within 30-26 following a 20-foot set shot by senior Daryn Johnson early in the third.

Baraga responded with an 8-2 run, gaining a 38-28 cushion on a jump shot from the lane by sophomore Rylie Koskinen with 90 seconds remaining in the third.

Munising got within single digits once more (42-33) on a short jumper by senior Michaela Werner early in the fourth.

“Werner is a real solid player inside,” Goodreau said. “She knows how to position herself. Fortunately, we were able to play aggressive defense and make her rush her shot. We were able to run the floor and take advantage of our quickness.”

The Vikings then continued to extend their lead through the remainder of the contest.

“We had trouble keeping up with their quickness,” Munising coach Matt Mattson said. “We got them in foul trouble, but just couldn’t hit our free throws. They’re a good team. They’re also a very disciplined team. They made a couple shots and made us come out of our zone. They’re a very quick defensive team.”

Lindemann paced the Vikings with 20 points. Freshman Reid Osterman added 15 and Koskinen finished with 12.

“The coaches told me to work on my shot and play within myself tonight,” Lindemann said. “I had a lot of help from our guards and kept my head up. I basically told myself to play smart. We have small numbers, but we watch each other’s back.”

Werner and junior Megan Matson scored 13 points apiece for the Mustangs. Johnson had 10.

The Vikings hit 16 of 21 free throws and committed just eight turnovers. The Mustangs were 12 of 25 from the line and had 23 miscues.

“We shot well from the line,” Goodreau said. “We’ve been a balanced team all season. Most of our players are averaging 8 to 11 points a game.

“I think our pressure defense may have tired them out a little. I think our girls did a real good job with it. They spread it out pretty well.”