The Alpena boys basketball team took what it wanted on Thursday.
In the midst of a tough season in Big North Conference play, the Wildcats showed their mettle against Cadillac and topped the Vikings 64-56 at Alpena High School during a Hoops for Hope pink game.
Tyler Pintar scored 19 points, Luke Cordes added 16 points and Brad Styma chipped in 10 points for the Wildcats (11-4, 6-4 Big North).
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Kam Fitzek, left, attempts to move past Cadillac defenders Ben Mackey, center and Jalen Brooks during the first quarter of a boys basketball game on Thursday at Alpena High School.
After a back-and-forth first quarter, Alpena took charge in the second quarter, outrebounding the Vikings on both ends of the floor and outscoring them 16-9 in the period which included a 13-4 run over six minutes.
"I thought our kids worked hard all night and that was the key," Alpena coach John Pintar said. "I told them before the game and at halftime, 'no one is going to give you anything, not in sports. You have to go out and take what you want' and we wanted it more. I was so proud of our effort."
Alpena led 26-20 at the half and kept pushing on offense in the second half. Cadillac's Nick Paquet drilled a pair of treys early in the third quarter to pull the Vikings within two, 28-26, but Alpena controlled the last five minutes of the period, getting contributions from several players on offense. Cordes and Kam Fitzek proved especially hard for the Vikings to stop in the paint as the pair maneuvered around Cadillac defenders for lay-ups.
Jalen Brooks paced Cadillac with 25 points and Paquet scored 17.
Free throw shooting became an important part of the fourth quarter as the Wildcats went 16-of-24 from the line. Pintar went 9-for-14 from the line in the final period and finished the game with a 13-for-19 clip.
Cadillac trailed by double digits for a good portion of the fourth quarter, but battled back down the stretch and pulled close enough a couple of times to make Alpena uncomfortable. A free throw from Brooks pulled Cadillac to within five, 55-50 with 1:33 left and three free throws from Paquet with 37 seconds left narrowed the gap to six, 59-53.
Alpena bore down however in the final seconds and hit five of six free throw shots in the final 30 seconds to close out the game.
Pintar praised his team's effort after the game and was especially happy that the whole team worked to pull out a win.
"We had contributions all over tonight. I thought guys just worked hard, we got great defense and kids off the bench played some key minutes for us. It was everybody," Pintar said. "We worked hard and we got what they deserved. We deserved to win tonight and we got it."
Alpena will play three home games next weekend beginning with a game against Tawas on Monday.
Alpena's JV team topped Cadillac 46-41. Nicholas Skiba led the Wildcats with 14 points and Eli Martin and Ryan Cadarette each added nine.
The Wildcats' freshmen team also defeated Cadillac 46-41. Dillon Tucker paced Alpena with 10 points and Mitch Mead, Brent Gapske, Blaise Landon and Sawyer Boyd all had six points.
ALPENA (64): Kendziorski 0 3-4 3; Marwede 3 2-3 8; Pintar 3 13-19 19; Styma 3 3-4 10; Smith 0 2-2 2; Fitzek 2 2-2 6; Cordes 5 6-8 16.
CADILLAC (56): Brooks 9 4-8 25; Paquet 5 4-4 17; Lucas 2 1-2 6; Liptak 2 0-1 4; Mackey 2 0-0 4.