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Baraga Vikings edge Munising in Division 4 girls basketball regionals

Baraga’s Reide Osterman, left, guards Munising’s Jenna Matson during their MHSAA Division 4 regional tournament girls basketball game played at Kingsford High School on Tuesday. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Matt McCarthy)

KINGSFORD — Baraga used a swarming and disruptive full-court press for most of the game to edge Munising 51-49 Tuesday in an MHSAA Division 4 regional semifinal game at Kingsford Middle School.

Mustangs senior Megan Matson led all scorers with 23 points, with she and her teammates attacking the basket in half-court offensive sets, drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line.

Baraga (21-3) faces next-door rival L’Anse (20-4) at 7 p.m. EDT Thursday in the regional final back at Kingsford. They split their two regular season meetings.

Munising, which finish the season at 8-14, got up the floor in the first quarter, and when they did, hit their shots and holding a small lead at the end of the quarter.

The Vikings were led in scoring by junior Allison Durant with 13 points, with freshman Corina Jahfetson adding 11. In most possessions in half court sets, Baraga’s ball movement was lightning quick and passes were many.

Baraga's Rylie Koskinen, right, is guarded by Munising's Crystal Murdock, center, during their MHSAA Division 4 regional tournament girls basketball game played at Kingsford High School on Tuesday. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Matt McCarthy)

The Vikings moved the ball around while the other four players were all moving well without the ball, turning into good looks and points. The second-chance shots Baraga had provided a lead prior to halftime, a lead the Vikings never relinquished.

Baraga head coach Tom Goo

dreau knew his team would have to rely on their pressure and quickness, with not having any real height or length on their roster.

“I told the girls we had to be aggressive and pressure the ball … keeping it out of the middle of the floor,” he said. “I was hoping our pressure would create more five-second or 10-second violations than it did, but they (Munising) did have a lot of trouble with it.”

From the beginning, the Vikings used a full-court press, one that was as disruptive as it was constant.

The turnover margin was a key as Baraga only committed a dozen to 29 for the Mustangs.

Despite being overwhelmed by the Vikings pressure all evening, and their long-range shooting effectiveness, Munising was able to get the ball inside to Megan Matson, where she’s been most effective all season.

Jenna Matson added 11 points for the Mustangs, despite coming in and out of the ball game with a bum ankle that she had rewrapped twice. It was her third game back since missing 10 games due to breaking the same ankle.

Mustangs head coach Matt Mattson noted that injuries were a huge part of the outcome of their regular season, when they finished 6-13.

“Most eight-win teams don’t show up to a regional and lose a two-point game to a 17-win team in the semifinal game,” Mattson said. “I am very proud of my girls and the way they didn’t quit tonight.

“Between all the turnovers we had and the missed free throws down the stretch, it hurt us…. Baraga is a great defensive team.”

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