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Hillman Out to Defend District Title

HILLMAN, MI- When winning becomes the expectation when playoff basketball begins you usually have a pretty good program year in and year out. For the Hillman Tigers they once again enter district play as the favorites.

While 2022 was a formality for the Tigers, 2023 seems to present a tougher path. Hale awaits in the district semi final and Mio, whose lone loss this season came to the Tigers, will surely be waiting in the finals.   The Tigers are led by an experienced starting five. With seniors Braylon Firman, AJ Jones, Caleb Hiveley and Brody Applegren along with all state Junior Trenton Taratuta.  The Tigers finished 18-4 in the regular season and went unbeaten in league play.  Coach Eric Muszynski beefed up the schedule, adding division one teams Alpena and Gaylord to the slate to hopefully prepare the Tigers for the post season.

After the 2022 season ended in the regional semi final, the Tigers are hoping that the playoff experience from a year ago can provide the experience needed  to make a run at the state championships and the Breslin Center. ” Last years ending definitely gives us something to get back at” said Applegren, “we had a good time last year and now we want to go further.”

For Taratuta, who seemingly has played his best against the top competition, as he tied the school record with 41 points against Alpena and then tied it again in the season finale against Ogemaw Heights, Breslin Center is the only destination that is acceptable for this group. ” We came up short last year in regionals. We want to play at the Breslin Center.”

District 109 play takes place in Mio this week. The Tigers take on the Hale Eagles in the semi on Wednesday night. A win moves the Tigers back into Friday nights district final.