LINCOLN-The Alcona boys basketball team may have started its season slow, but has worked its way to a solid 10-9 record.
The Tigers have won three districts in a row and if they wants to win a fourth, they're going to have to get around Tawas tonight at 7 p.m.
Alcona has lost to Tawas twice this season already. The first game was an early season 63-37 loss, but the second was closer, 40-37.
"The big difference between those games was just us getting to know each other. The first (Tawas) game was our third game of the season and a new coach and a new squad were getting used to each other," Alcona coach Jason Somers said. "There were some discipline problems, but we got those cleared up and the boys started to roll. Now, we're a basketball team, instead of basketball individuals."
Tawas (11-9) is a slow paced, tenacious team that plays tight man-to-man and has shown it knows how to shut down Alcona. Players like Jacob Morgan, Dylan Decker and Jacob Carroll are regular double-digit scorers for the Braves.
"They're really methodical. They rarely have anybody in the paint. Instead, they like to cut to the basket. They're a well oiled machine, patient on offense, don't make a whole lot of mistakes," Somers said.
However, Alcona has several high powered weapons of its own. Chief among them is junior Trenton LaVergne, who is averaging 23.7 points a game. Lavergne is a threat both in the post and from the perimeter, rarely missing a shot.
The Tigers can obviously rely on LaVergne for heavy scoring, but they will also have to rely on seniors like Dawson Forsythe and Carson Jamieson to support Lavergne.
"I'm looking for Dawson to get on the board. He's a dynamic player who works his butt off. In the last two weeks, I've seen a step up in his play and when he gets something in his mind, he makes sure its gets done," Somers said.
Offensively, Somers is looking to use these players to cut through the Braves' half court man-to-man pressure and throw its defensive approach off balance.
A fast-paced offense may force the Braves to try to slow down the game by shifting to the zone and this could open up three-point opportunities for sharp shooters like LaVergne.
The Tigers are likely to stick with the tight man-to-man defensive style it's used most of the year. Half and full court presses from defensive players like Brandon Smigelski and Garrette Norling could force the Braves to make mistakes in passing and create turnover opportunities.
"We're just going to stick to our game and make sure that we do what we want to do and that the game plan that we prepared for is executed in its fullest," Somers said.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.