The curse of the second half struck the Alpena girls basketball team again on Tuesday. After holding Sault Saint Marie to a 24-20 spread going into the second half, the Wildcats scored only 10 more points in a 63-30 loss.
This is the second straight game that Alpena has struggled in the second half.
"It was definitely a tale of two halves for us," Alpena head coach Dan Arsenault said.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Alpena’s Emma Strong (11) throws up a shot against the block of the Sault’s Katie Beaumont in a Tuesday night game in Alpena.
Katie Beaumont got the Blue Devils going early and picked up 10 total points, making her one of three Blue Devils players to score in double figures.
Alpena struggled against Sault's man-to-man defense, but utilized its own half-court press to create turnover opportunities late in the first quarter.
"One of the things in the first half, we were able to score with our offense a little bit and it gave us the chance to set up our defense. We had a half court trap and I thought that it was effective," Arsenault said.
Alpena finally got on the board off a Jenna Talbot bucket four minutes into the game. The Wildcats picked up three more points to tie the game 5-5.
Adrianna Hatch then scored five points in the last minute and a half of the period and helped Alpena hold on to a 10-9 lead going into the second quarter.
Hatch led Alpena with 13 points while Talbot had four.
The Wildcats held tight with the Blue Devils defensively for the second quarter, but started to slip behind offensively. A three-pointer by Jessica Parmer pulled Sault to a 14-10 lead 30 seconds into the quarter.
Hatch hit two treys midway through the quarter, but Alpena went scoreless for the last two minutes of the period and trailed 24-20 at halftime.
It wasn't until the third quarter that the troubles started for Alpena.
The Blue Devils scored 17 unanswered points over the first six and a half minutes of the third quarter to take a 41-20 lead.
The Wildcats remained scoreless until Rachel Zolnierek hit a free throw with a minute and a half left in the quarter.
"In the second half, it didn't seem like the shot just wouldn't go in and it was hard to set up anything. The Sault got hot and started to hit some open shots and we just didn't meet that challenge," Arsenault said.
Alpena scored just five points in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter featured a similar breakdown in scoring by the Wildcats. The Blue Devils scored 11 unanswered points in the first four minutes before Hatch hit a bucket to narrow the spread to 52-27.
The Wildcats stayed scoreless for three minutes while the Blue Devils scored seven points. The last minute saw Alpena picked up four points, with Kendra Lay hitting the last bucket of the game with six seconds left.
"We have got to get better and I think one of the things was our shots weren't falling and it seemed like our intensity started to fell off. We have to continue to keep working and put four quarters together," Arsenault said.
Alpena hosts Traverse City West on Friday.
The Alpena junior varsity team picked up a 48-39 win against Sault. Mykayla Price led Alpena with 17 while Jessica Marwede scored 12. The JV team is now 4-0.
The freshmen team picked up a tight 38-33 win, with Jasmyn Schultz picking up 18 points and Alexis Decare scoring six in a win that pulls the freshmen to 3-1.
SAULT (63): B. James 2-1-2-5; E. Roque 2-4-6-9; A. Scott 1-0-0-3; J. Parmer 5-1-2-12; R. Greene 3-0-0-6; H. Morley 3-5-6-11; A. Diepenhorst 3-1-2-7; K. Beaumont 5-0-2-10.
ALPENA (30): A. Devers 0-1-2-1; A. Smith 1-0-0-2; K. Lay 2-0-0-4; J. Talbot 1-2-4-4; A. Hatch 5-1-2-13; E. Trelfa 0-2-2-2; K. Udell 1-1-4-3; R. Zolnierek 0-1-2-1.