By CHRIS DOBROWOLSKI
News Sports Editor
ALPENA - Two stretches of play separated Petoskey and Alpena on Friday night.
News Photo by Chris Dobrowolski
Alpena guard Jesse Hendricks takes the ball hard to the basket during Friday’s boys basketball game at Alpena High School.
The first came between the first and second quarters, while the second was at the start of the fourth quarter.
In both cases the Northmen had their ultra-talented boys basketball team clicking on all cylinders, leading to a 73-56 Petoskey win at Alpena High School.
With Alpena leading 13-11 and hanging blow for blow with the Northmen through much of the first quarter, Petoskey got its offense in high gear and embarked on a 17-0 run that stretched halfway through the second quarter, putting it comfortably in charge. Petoskey held a 42-25 lead at the break.
At that point it didn't look like Petoskey would be challenged the rest of the night, but Alpena had other ideas, chipping away at the Northmen lead until the Wildcats were within four points, 49-45, heading into the final quarter. Once again, Petoskey left Alpena behind, starting the fourth period with nine straight points to push the margin back to double digits and ending Alpena's comeback.
Petoskey's Cory Starkey led all scorers with 30 points, showing off the abilities that earned him a Division I scholarship to Bucknell. He wasn't alone, though. Nick Manzer added 17 points and Austin Peters had 11.
"They have a lot of offensive weapons," said Alpena coach John Pintar. "It's difficult to keep one particular guy down, especially when they have one as good as Starkey. You have to give so much attention to him and it gives other guys opportunities, and they took advantage of the opportunities when they were there."
Rebounding was a huge difference-maker during the two Petoskey runs as it owned the glass at those times.
Alpena got back in the game with tough defense and a better performance on the boards. The Wildcats held Petoskey to seven points in the third quarter, with Starkey limited to three after dropping in 17 in the first half. Alpena closed the period with nine unanswered points, capped off by a three-pointer from Spencer Gibbs-Kibbe to make it a four-point game.
"I said at the half, 'let's get the lead under double digits,'" said Pintar. "We got it to four. We played a really good third quarter. We played them even in the second half. You just can't let a team like that get that far away from us."
Devin O'Neil had 22 points and six rebounds for Alpena (2-3).
Alpena lost 52-47 in the junior varsity game. Luke Cordes and Kameron Fitzek had 15 points each for the Wildcats.
In the freshman game, Alpena fell 62-46 despite 14 points from Elisha Martin and nine from Andrew Marwede.
PETOSKEY (73): Peters 4 0-1 11, Mullin 1 5-5 7, Starkey 11 8-11 30, Robbins 1 0-0 2, Gooding 1 2-2 4, Manzer 7 2-3 17.
ALPENA (56): Kirkwood 1 0-1 2, Garant 3 1-3 8, O'Neil 9 4-6 22, J. Hendricks 7 0-0 16, Grulke 1 0-0 2, Male 0 0-1 0, Berryman 3 0-0 6.