LINCOLN-The Alcona girls basketball team hosted Tawas Thursday in a game that saw the slow starting Braves fall to the eager-to-pounce Tigers 59-44 to give Alcona its 10th straight win.
"Our first quarter energy was just not there and I have no idea why," Tawas coach Todd Kaems said.
Alcona struck first with a Nikki Smith-field goal thirty seconds into the quarter. Kendra Cole then hit another field, the first of six straight points for the powerful Cole.
Cole led Alcona with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Alcona's defense held off a struggling Tawas team that drove to the hoop often but just couldn't get the ball to drop. Megan Quick was an especially strong defensive player, sticking to the Braves' players like glue.
Tawas did a good job of shutting down Karina Cole in the first quarter with effective double team defense that kept her scoreless for most of the period, but struggled to score points of its own.
The first quarter ended with Alcona up 14-2 after Tessa Schmidt put Tawas on the board with two minutes to go.
The Braves' offense struck first in the second quarter off a Schmidt field goal 20 seconds in. Alcona's Sydney Pierce of Alcona answered back 30 seconds later.
Tawas did a stronger job of stopping Alcona and setting up its own offensive chances but went scoreless for two and a half minutes until Schmidt scored again. The Tigers had pulled ahead 19-6 by this point.
The Tigers remained scoreless for another two minutes until Kendra hit another hard driving field goal. Smith and Karina added basket to put Alcona up 25-10.
Both teams fought hard offensively and defensively, with especially impressive performances from Kendra and Tawas' Isabelle Flory. The half ended with Alcona up 29-13.
The third quarter hinted at the skill Tawas could have when it wanted. The Braves began to shut down the Tigers more frequently and began hitting shots more often.
Olivia Janis was especially potent for Tawas, scoring eight points in the quarter. The Braves outscored the Tigers 14-8 to narrow the lead to 39-27.
By comparison, the Tigers struggled defensively. Their quarter was highlighted by a field goal from Kendra and the first of three treys by Quick.
Any talk of a comeback in the fourth was answered by Quick 15 seconds into the fourth with her second three of the night.
Alcona got into foul trouble due to their aggressive defense. Tawas' first four points of the quarter came off Flory free throws. Flory scored a field goal and another free throw to take the game to 44-34.
Quick answered this flurry of scoring with another trey, smothering the comeback before it could begin.
Tawas also ran into foul trouble, handing the ball to the Cole sisters twice apiece.
Both teams fought hard to the very end with the last field goal of the night being a Schaaf three for Tawas. Two Karina field goals with 10 seconds left anti-climatically stretched Alcona's lead to 59-44 where it stayed.
"It was a good win tonight. Tawas put real pressure on us to play in all aspects of the game. I expect the same kind of hard play from them next time we see them. Todd always has a great team and always coaches great girls," Alcona coach Brad Cole said.
Alcona is now 10-1 overall and 3-0 in the Huron Shores Conference while Tawas is 6-6 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Alcona plays at Alma tonight while Tawas hosts Standish on Monday.
The Alcona JV team beat Tawas 40-24.
Alcona (59): N. Smith 3-0-0-6: H. Terpstra 1-0-2-2: K. Cole 2-6-8-10: C. Carpenter 0-1-2-1: M. Quick 4-0-0-11: S. Pierce 2-0-0-4: T. Somers 1-0-0-2: M. Feldhiser 1-0-0-2: N. Walen 1-0-0-2: K. Cole 8-5-6-19.
Tawas (44): I. Shaaf 3-0-1-7: O. Janis 5-0-1-10: S. Scoitti 1-0-0-2: T. Schmidt 4-1-8-10: I. Flory 5-5-8-15.