Hannahville looks to defend titles

HANNAHVILLE – At least one thing will be different about this year’s Northern Lights League basketball tournament.

Both Hannahville teams are coming in as defending champions for the first time.

The Hannahville boys host Mackinac Island Friday at 6 p.m. The girls then face Bay Mills Ojibwe Charter or Munising Baptist at 7:30.

“I think the draw is good for us,” said Hannahville girls’ coach Tom Ohman. “The thing I like is that both Hannahville teams will be playing Friday night.

“We’re going into a similar situation as last year. We need to win three games to win the tournament. Nobody expected us to win it last year. What the girls need to realize is the other teams will be shooting for us.”

Ojibwe Charter and Munising Baptist play in Friday’s opener at 1:30, with the winner advancing to Friday’s nightcap.

“We’re glad to be playing Friday night,” said Ohman. “I say let the girls play. When they’re playing, they tend to get into a rhythm. Once we get started, we want to keep playing. We want to keep the continuity going on offense and defense. That’s a good way to build momentum.

“I think playing at home is also an advantage. The girls practice here everyday. Plus, we get to sleep in our own beds. Hopefully, our kids will get enough rest.”

Junior point guard Sophie Manitowabi is Hannahville’s floor leader, with senior Katlyn Sagataw its top 3-point shooter. Also playing major roles are juniors Alicia O’Brien and Mary Saldana.

The Hannahville boys will try to beat Mackinac Island for the fifth time this season.

“It’s kind of ironic, but this is the only team we played four times this year,” said Hannahville boys’ coach Seth Miller. “They’re a team that doesn’t lie down for anyone. If you don’t bring your A game, they can upset you. When you beat a team four times, there are few things you can do to prepare that you haven’t already done. They can reach into their bag of tricks and come at us with any kind of defense or offense we haven’t seen. And if it catches you off guard, who knows what could happen. We’re not overlooking Mackinac Island at all.”

The winner advances to Saturday’s title contest at 2:30 p.m.

“This tournament is kind of interesting,” said Miller. “Any one of four teams could win it, especially if any of these teams get hot.”

The Soaring Eagles (10-5) are led by senior and leading scorer Seth Williams, classmates Martin Thorbahn and Stephen Keezer and sophomores Justin Larson and Tallen Boda.

Five games are on tap Friday. There are also five scheduled for Saturday, including the girls’ championship contest at 1.