The Alpena boys basketball (12-4, 6-4 Big North) team scored a big win over Cadillac last week, which seemed to give the Wildcats a lot of confidence and momentum against Tawas (8-8, 4-1 Huron Shores) on Monday.
The Braves fought hard but couldn't overcome the offensive strengths of Alpena in a 69-46 loss.
"We came out too tentative in the first half. The second half saw us play a lot better, a lot more aggressively," Tawas head coach Drew Decker said.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Alpena’s Kaleb Smith (21) fights for the ball against Chaz Coffin (20) while Blair LaCross (42) and Keegan Myles (22) watch.
The Wildcats did not lack for aggressiveness. Jacob Kendziorski hit two free throws 10 seconds into the game to take the lead and the Wildcats never gave it up.
Strong offensive play by Andy Marwede, Tyler Pintar and Brad Styma brought the score to 10-0 a few minutes later. Tough man-to-man defense by Alpena kept Tawas scrambling while the height advantage of Luke Cordes, Marwede and Blair LaCross gave the Braves few second chances at the basket.
Pintar was Alpena's top scorer with 19 points.
Jacob Salwey hit a three to put Tawas on the board while Chaz Coffin hit a shot 30 seconds later to narrow the lead to 10-5. Tawas didn't score the rest of the period and Alpena pulled ahead 18-5 by the end of the quarter.
The offensive momentum stayed Alpena's way in the second quarter. The Wildcats pulled out of man-to-man, which gave Tawas some breathing room, but the Braves still struggled to drop the ball in the net.
"We missed a lot of easy lay ups tonight in the first half," Decker said.
The Wildcats continually applied pressure to the Braves to take a 22-9 lead two minutes into the quarter. Pintar and Marwede continued to be strong offensive leaders with Marwede attempting a dunk at one point.
Styma also showed off his offensive skill with a trey and two free throws.
Tawas did have some solid luck with three pointers in the second. The Braves hit three in the quarter with back-to-back treys including a buzzer beater. It narrowed the lead to a still imposing 33-17 spread at halftime.
Cordes was relatively restrained offensively in the first half, scoring only four points while helping set up plays for his teammates. The third quarter opened with nine straight Cordes points including two free throws after the Braves Dylan Decker hit a free throw.
Cordes hit another basket later in the quarter to score 11 of his 15 points in the third quarter.
Pintar continued to pick up a steady stream of points, but ran into a bad string of luck with free throws. He missed three of three in the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw more success from Tawas as its offense seemed to gel into a solid groove. Jacob Morgan got five points, including a three while Salwey hit another three in the period. Norman Cloutier III also picked up four points in the quarter.
The Tawas defense seemed to stymie some of the reserve Alpena players as the Braves held Alpena scoreless for nearly three minutes while narrowing Alpena's lead to 55-42.
It was too little too late as Pintar and Marwede pulled off a 10-point scoring streak that took Alpena to a firm 65-44 lead with two minutes to play.
"You know coming off that win against Cadillac, I told the boys that it's about us getting better every night. It's not about the other team or peaking with a specific game. It was a big win but I don't want to peak there. I want the team to keep getting better in the run up to districts," Alpena coach John Pintar said.
Alpena hosts two more games this week: Sault Saint Marie on Wednesday and Petoskey on Friday.
The Alpena JV team also pulled up a big win over Tawas with a 46-29 victory. Ryan Cadarette lead with 13 points while Elisha Martin hit eight. Nicholas Samp threw in six assists.
The freshmen team also won by double digits with a 47-27 win. Mitch Mead had 12 points while Brett Gapske had six.
Alpena (69): J. Kendziorski 0-2-2-2: J. Benson 1-1-2-3: A. Marwede 4-1-2-9: T. Pintar 8-2-7-19: B. Styma 4-2-2-11: B. Hemmingson 1-0-0-2: L. Cordes 6-3-3-15: B. LaCross 3-0-1-6: T. Kollien 1-0-0-2.
Tawas (46): J. Morgan 5-0-0-11: D. Decker 1-1-2-3: C. Coffin 4-0-1-8: J. Salwey 4-0-0-12: N. Cloutier, III 4-0-1-9: H. Walker 1-1-2-3.