The Alpena boys basketball team controlled the tempo for the majority of its 67-61 win over Petoskey in spite of being hounded by the Northmen's three-point wiz kid Parker Monley.
Monley hit five treys against the Wildcats and led Petoskey with 18 points.
"I like that we played for four quarters really hard and made the key plays when we had to. That's all you can ask for in a game like this," Alpena coach John Pintar said.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Alpena’s Andy Marwede (4) looks to pass against Petoskey’s Joe LaBlanc in a Alpena home game on Friday. Marwede hit three free throws in the last 30 seconds to help Alpena win 67-61.
The win marked the second huge conference win for Alpena in a week after beating Cadillac at home last Friday.
Alpena (5-1, 2-1 Big North) took a 5-0 lead a minute and a half in thanks to a Cody Tucker three. However, a trey by Petoskey's Nick Mesnard a minute and a half later tied it up at 7-7 with 4:48 left to play.
Both teams utilized heavy man-to-man defensive pressure throughout the first quarter. Both lapsed into a full court press that created plenty of turnover opportunities.
Especially vital to the Alpena attack was point guard Tyler Pintar and center Andy Marwede who led on the floor offensively and defensively.
Marwede had 16 points while Pintar had 13.
Brad Styma chipped in with several impossible looking shots under the net that seemed to fall in despite the laws of physics.
"Brad really helped us out a few times. He took advantage and hit some great shots. You see other guys get more of the shots, but Brad's got that ability and it couldn't have come at a better time for us," Pintar said.
Styma had 15 points for the night.
Petoskey crept further ahead into a 14-9 lead when Monley hit his first three of the night with 2:13 to play in the first quarter.
However, Marwede was fouled after hitting a bucket with 1:58 left and hit both free throws to narrow Petoskey's lead to 14-13. Tucker hit his second three of the night with 14.3 seconds left to take Alpena to a 16-14 lead.
The Wildcats mostly dictated the tempo in the second quarter, but Petoskey kept hitting threes to narrow the spread.
Alpena saw a 22-18 lead cut to 22-21 when Evan Whitmore hit his only three of the night with 4:35 left to play in the half.
Tucker hit his third trey of the night with three minutes left to pull Alpena into a 25-23 lead and Styma hit seven points in under a minute to give Alpena a 32-29 lead with 1:27 left in the half.
Alpena couldn't escape Monley, who hit his second three of the night with 36.8 left in the half to narrow the Wildcat lead to 33-32.
Marwede's hit three in the last 28.7 seconds to maintain a healthy 36-32 Alpena lead.
Petoskey made up lost ground in the third quarter as it outscored Alpena 18-15.
Petoskey's success came on the back of Alpena foul trouble. The Wildcats gave Petoskey six foul shots, five of which were converted.
Monley stayed a threat, nailing his third three of the night with 10.6 seconds to go in the quarter to narrow Alpena's lead to 51-50.
"He was a good shooter for sure. We couldn't stop him that much, but we worked it inside and that overall effort gave us the victory," Marwede said.
Petoskey's man-to-man defense started to wear down stamina in the fourth, but the Wildcats struggled at the line, hitting 4-of-8.
Monley continued to remain a problem for the Wildcats. His fourth trey at 6:36 tied up the game 55-55 while his fifth and final three at 5:32 gave Petoskey a 60-57 lead.
The Wildcats used tight man-to-man pressure and consistent trap defense to generate steals, free throw opportunities and to throw off Petoskey's offense to scratch to a 64-61 lead with 2:37 left.
By the time Marwede hit three free throws in the last 30 seconds of the game, Alpena's victory was assured.
"It was definitely hard work tonight, especially in the second half. But, we never gave up and that gave us the win," Marwede said.
Alpena plays Ogemaw on Tuesday.
The Wildcats' junior varsity squad lost 66-43, with Austin Hemmingson leading with 14 points and Caleb Myers adding 10 points.
Alpena's freshman team lost 64-45 and Randy Udell had 16 to lead the Wildcats.
ALPENA (67): N. Skiba 3 0-0 6; A. Marwede 5 6-7 16; T. Pintar 6 0-3-13; C. Tucker 5 3-4 16; D. Hoes 1-4 1; B. Styma 6 2-2 15.
PETOSKEY (61): J. Bur 3 1-1 7; A. Lee 5 0-0 10; J. LeBlanc 3 4-4 10; S. Whitmore 2 1-2 5; N. Mesnard 1 1-2 4; E. Whitmore 3 0-2-7; P. Monley 6 1-2 18.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.