The Alpena Community College women's basketball team had the rare chance to play the late game on Wednesday in a Hoops for Hope Pink Game match up against Delta.
Raffles, hair extensions and bake sales pulled in a near capacity crowd with all proceeds going to benefit cancer charities.
Unfortunately, the Lumberjacks (6-12, 3-8 Eastern Conference) were unable to turn that excitement into a win, falling 74-54.
News Photo by Eric Benac
ACC’s Mary Myers (10) takes it to the hoop in a women’s basketball game against Delta on Wednesday.
"They loved (the Pink Game). Playing last in front of the crowd, that doesn't happen too often. I think they really got a kick out of it, getting to watch the guys play before them. I think they did a really grew job," ACC coach Bobby Allen said.
ACC's Whitney Frazier starting things off quickly by hitting a bucket 30 seconds in, but Delta scored 16 unanswered points to take a 16-2 lead with 13:40 left in the first half.
The Pioneers used a tough press and man-to-man defense to stop ACC from getting to the post. It was forced to take outside shots or drive through traffic for difficult layups.
The Lumberjacks defense was continually penetrated by players like Dy'mond Perry and Taylor Mantyla who hit the shots their team needed to take a huge lead.
ACC's offense often seemed rushed against the Delta press, which created plenty of turnovers.
However, the Lumberjacks focused their attack over the next six minutes and outscored the Pioneers 18-4 to tie the game up 20-20 with 7:40 left.
The Lumberjacks' surge was helped by improved offense, tighter defense, better rebounding and more team communication, especially from guard Courtney Holmes.
ACC was also helped by treys from Frazier and Holmes. Sarah Kolb hit a basket with 6:34 left to give ACC a 22-20 lead.
The Lumberjacks briefly held the lead, 26-25, but went scoreless for almost five minutes and trailed 38-28 at halftime.
"We can't be satisfied by small leads like that. We go up a little and I told them we got to keep fighting to the end because there's another half, another 20 minutes, another five minutes and we have to keep playing to win," Allen said.
The Pioneers kept a continual press on the Lumberjacks for most of the second half and created havoc defensively. ACC didn't score a field goal for the last six minutes of the game, picking up its last six points off free throws.
Both teams generated a lot of turnovers and created solid defensive pressure, but the Pioneers continued to break the Lumberjacks' 2-3 zone.
The Lumberjacks kept pushing against the Pioneers throughout the second half. Especially useful were a pair of treys from Frazier and another Holmes three-pointer, but ACC couldn't prevent the Pioneers from pulling to a 20-point win.
"The girls played well. They really fought until the end, so that's what I'm impressed with. They never gave up," Allen said.
ACC travels to Kirtland on Saturday for a Pink Zone game.
DELTA (74): D. Perry 6 5-6-20; M. Willis 3 3-6 9; K. James 1 0-0 2; T. Mantyla 9 4-6 23; D. Warner 2 0-0 4; C. Arthur 7 0-4 14; C. Shafor 2-2 2.
ALPENA (54): W. Frazier 7 8-8 25; A. Monticello 1 0-0 3; A. Nowak 1 3-4 5; C. Holmes 3 1-2 9; S. Bischoff 1 0-3 2;A. Carrick 2 0-0 4; S. Kolb 1 2-2 4; A. Sexton 1 0-0 2.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.