News Sports Editor
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena Community College’s Anna Carrick (15) drives to the net during the first half of a women’s basketball game on Saturday at Park Arena.
The Alpena Community College women's basketball team didn't exactly ring in the New Year with a bang.
Plagued by turnovers and unable to keep up with a speedy St. Clair squad, the Lumberjacks fell to the Skippers 114-34 in their MCCAA Eastern Conference opener on Saturday at Park Arena.
Despite not playing since the middle of last month, the Skippers (8-2) didn't look any worse for the wear, though coach Michael Groulx thought otherwise.
"The scoreboard shows we played well, but I don't think we played well enough defensively to be honest with you," Groulx said. "I thought we had some lapses when we got tired; obviously it was our first game since Dec. 19, but conditioning can't be an excuse for the mental lapses. I thought Alpena did a good job getting on the offensive glass and we did a terrible job getting them off of it."
Sheyna Deans scored 26 points for St. Clair and led a quintet of Skippers in double figures. Rachel Kehoe scored 18 points, Lariah Stevens and Andranay Beverly scored 17 points each and Ta'kira Height added 11 points.
St. Clair controlled the tempo from the outset, storming out to a 30-4 lead with just a hair over 10 minutes gone from the game. ACC (3-5) could only watch as trip after trip down the floor ended in a turnover and St. Clair raced down for uncontested shots.
The Lumberjacks had 28 turnovers to St. Clair's nine and were outrebounded 70-37.
Even with a commanding presence like the 6-4 Kehoe on the floor, St. Clair's guards stole the show as Deans, Stevens and Beverly wove their way through ACC's defense time and time again to score. Even if ACC was in good position defensively, there was little they could do to slow the Skippers as they drove inside, hit shots from outside and outhustled ACC.
During one stretch in the second half, Deans single-handedly outscored the Lumberjacks 12-5 and started her run by stealing the ball from Ashleigh Monticello, battling to corral the ball and driving in for a score.
Whitney Frazier and Sandy Bischoff scored eight points apeice for ACC, but the Lumberjacks didn't get many open looks all game. ACC's first bucket came nearly five minutes into the game and from there shots were few and far between while the Skippers put together big run after big run while shooting 56 percent from the floor.
St. Clair led 59-13 at the half and opened the second half on a 20-2 run to take a 79-15 lead with 14:25 to play.
The Skippers scored at least 100 points for the fourth straight game and Groulx is hoping his team has finally turned a corner at a pivotal time of the season.
"The season has been pretty good, we've had some ups-and-downs but we're starting to hit stride when conference starts which is a good thing," Groulx said. "If we can continue to improve, we could possibly control our own destiny."
ACC plays at Delta on Wednesday and hosts Kirtland on Saturday.
ST. CLAIR (114): R. Kehoe 9 0-0 18; L. Stevens 7 3-5 17; A. Beverly 8 1-1 17; T. Kiah 3 2-5 9; S. Deans 12 2-2 26; T. Height 5 1-2 11; W. Currie 1 0-0 2; H. Rutledge 3 1-2 8; E. Gerrow 3 0-0 6.
ALPENA (34): S. Bischoff 3 2-2 8; A. Carrick 1 0-2 2; A. Monticello 1 0-0 3; A. Sexton 1 0-0 2; M. Barkley 1 0-2 2; K. Shepard 2 0-0 4; W. Frazier 3 0-0 8; S. Kolb 1 0-0 3; C. Holmes 1 0-0 2.