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Munising girls basketball team looking to rebuild after run to Division 4 regionals last season

Munising’s Jenna Matson takes a shot in a game against Bark River-Harris on Jan. 14, 2020, in Harris. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Justin St. Ours)

Editor’s note: With the start-and-stop of winter sports seasons this year, The Mining Journal is publishing high school basketball team previews from Marquette and Alger counties over a number of days. This story was written early this month.

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MUNISING — Last season was an interesting one for the Munising girls basketball team.

The Mustangs lost some players going into the campaign but still managed to achieve something special after a 6-13 regular season.

Now those good feelings may very well carry over to this year’s roster.

“Last year, we won a (MHSAA Division 4) district title when we really shouldn’t have,” MHS head coach Matt Mattson said Tuesday. “Mid Pen(insula) was favored in our district and we got a win there. We only lost by two (points) in the regional game with a team (Baraga) that probably shouldn’t have been at that position.

“So I thought we got hot at the right time and played well at the right time of the year. It was a very enjoyable year. Win-loss-wise, obviously, it could’ve been a little better, but to win a district title and play well at the regional level, I’ll take it.

“The attitudes on the team are fantastic this year. I don’t know how talented of a team we are, but these girls work awfully hard. They all seem to get along, the chemistry is good. So it’s been an enjoyable start to the season.”

Experience is something in short supply on this year’s team, but Mattson said he and his squad are doing a good job of learning on the fly.

“We have five juniors, one of those is Jenna Matson, who comes back with a couple years of experience,” the coach said. “Lori Mattson and Alivia Killips were also up last year, but not a ton of experience, especially with missing all the practices because of COVID(-19) and no summer camps.

“It would’ve been nice to have a veteran team coming back, but we’re learning on the run a little bit.

“We’re really just trying to get conditioning and some shooting in and I realize the start of the season is probably going to be ugly. We’re trying to take the (regular) season to get things in order and hopefully by districts, we’re playing good basketball.”

Even though his team may not be at its physical peak yet, they’re emotionally ready for it to start.

“There’s no doubt,” Coach Mattson said. “I feel bad for the kids in marching band, the kids in robotics, all of it. We’ve all been dealt. I’m just happy to be on the floor…. I’m happy to be on a bus and playing basketball.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.

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