The Alpena boys basketball team (4-1, 1-1 Big North) is looking to pull ahead in the Big North Conference by beating Petoskey tonight. Petoskey (6-2, 3-1 Big North) won six straight games before getting routed 51-28 by Cadillac on Tuesday.
Alpena beat Cadillac 62-49 on Friday.
"We just talked a lot about similarities between (Petoskey) and Cadillac. Both are teams that play aggressive man-to-man defense. They're always one of the top teams, a lot of success in our league over the years," Alpena coach John Pintar said.
Game time tonight is 7:30 p.m.
Man-to-man defense can be stifling if a team is unprepared for that kind of pressure. It requires a lot of concentration to avoid fouls and stamina to pull off.
Half-court and full-court presses take a lot of stamina and if a team can successfully pull off those defensive strategies, they can be hard to beat.
"The key is ball movement. You have to move, you can't stand around. They're going to control you if you do. You just have to move and when you have chances to beat guys off the dribble, you got to beat them off the dribble. You can't settle for long, contested jump shots," Pintar said.
Alpena has a strong core of players to help break up the Petoskey press. Senior Andy Marwede is a tall, well-rounded player that can make shots in the post and from the perimeter. Junior Tyler Pintar is a commanding point guard that knows how to get his teammates into position for key plays.
However, Pintar isn't going to rely on just a few players for the win.
"I think the team is really even this year, as far as skill. Andy and Tyler have been our leaders throughout the early part of the season, but players like Cody Tucker and Brad Styma can chip in and we're getting contributions from a lot of guys. That's what's made us have a lot of success so far," Pintar said.
Petoskey is similar to Alpena in that it lacks one real dominant player. Instead, it focuses on tight team oriented play, where every player has to pull their weight for the team to succeed.
"The key to playing with them and beating them is playing as hard as they do. We come out with intensity and play hard on both ends oft he floor," Pintar said.