Coming back from any kind of deficit in the world of college basketball takes a herculean effort by an entire team.
The Alpena Community College men's basketball team learned that lesson Wednesday against Delta who beat the Lumberjacks 74-69.
ACC head coach Frank McCourt pointed out a familiar problem his team has faced all year.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Jake Strong, right, looks to pass to a teammate while being defended by a Delta defender during a men’s basketball game on Wedenesday at Park Arena.
"You gotta play basketball for 40 minutes. You can't come out in the last six minutes and expect to win," he said.
The first half saw Delta take a 4-2 lead in the first minute and a half of the game. Aaron Prim of Delta scored just over 40 seconds into the game while Lavario Smith of ACC answered back 40 seconds later.
ACC's Kharri Dailey hit the second basket for his team at just under four minutes into the game to narrow Delta's lead to 7-5.
Dailey had a stand out game with 19 points.
"Kharri is a great player and he did incredible tonight," said McCourt.
Delta fought back with aggressive defense and rebounding that left ACC with only a few second-chance scoring opportunities.
In spite of Delta's aggressive defense, Smith hit a triple to tie the game at 12 with eight minutes gone from the game. It was the closest ACC got to taking the lead all night.
A free throw by Malcom Sterling and treys from Jakob Holland and Bernard Whitehead pulled Delta ahead 19-12.
Almost immediately after Whitehead hit his three, Delta stole the ball from ACC and scored on a Jojuan Graham field goal. He then hit one field goal to take his team to 22-12.
ACC turned up the heat offensively and defensively but struggled to score. Eventually strong defense and shooting from Dailey, Shane Hentkowski and Smith helped narrow the lead to 22-18 in about two minutes.
Delta again pulled ahead with three field goals in just over a minute to take a 28-18 lead. The half ended with a Smith hitting a shot to narrow Delta's lead to 40-34.
The second half showed increasing offensive and defensive pressure from both teams. This aggressiveness translated into a more focused ACC team as Dailey and William Gates Jr. began hitting three pointers. ACC hit seven triples in the half to Delta's one.
However, ACC didn't help its cause much by giving Delta seven chances at the free throw line where the Pioneers went 9-for-12. Delta was also more consistent in getting easy layups and field goals that ACC consistently missed.
ACC's increased focus helped them bring the game to within two, 59-57, with only six and a half minutes left. It was at this point that ACC found more success from three-point range. Its last four shots of the game were three pointers, one by Logan Wickert, two by Gates and one by Smith as time expired.
Delta continued to play aggressively and ACC was successful in getting the ball away from Delta but struggled to hit the easy field goals that Delta continued to sink, allowing the Pioneers to hold on for the win.
McCourt commented on his team's plans over the next few days.
"We're taking tomorrow off so they can get away from me, get away from each other and basketball and relax. We have to rest up for our next game and get ready to play," he said.
ACC travels to Kirtland on Saturday. The Lumberjacks' overall record is now 3-10 with no wins in the Eastern Conference in three league games.
Delta (74): J. Dogget 1-0-0-2: B. Whitehead 3-0-0-9: M. Sterling 1-0-0-2: J. Holland 8-3-3-21: J. Graham 5-5-8-15: A. Prim 7-2-3-16: J. Dotson 3-3-4-9.
Alpena (69): K. Dailey 8-2-2-20: L. Wickert 2-0-0-5: W. Gates 5-0-0-14: S. Berryman 1-0-2-2: L. Smith 7-4-6-20: C. Lamp 1-0-0-2: S. Hentkowski 2-2-2-6.