Getting back on track

By JONNY ZAWACKI

News Sports Writer

Coming off of its worst loss of the season just a few nights ago, the Alpena girls basketball team got back on track with an impressive 52-41 victory over Ogemaw Heights on Friday at Alpena High School.

The Wildcats got off to a good start early, converting on their first three shots from the field, taking a six point lead in the game’s first minute, but Ogemaw came back and hit two shots from beyond the long line to tie the game back up. Alpena quickly responded with two treys and finished the quarter going on a 10-2 run.

The second quarter belonged to the Wildcats (11-5, 8-1 Big North) as they used a 13-1 run to take a 15 point lead going in the break.

The Falcons came out of the half firing on all cylinders, hitting their first four shots, forcing Alpena to call a timeout less than two minutes into the third quarter.

The Wildcats were able to respond from the timeout and hold Ogemaw to just five points the rest of the quarter and were in control, leading 43-28 heading into the final quarter.

“Any time a team starts to run up on us we usually just take a timeout to regroup so that our opponent doesn’t take their momentum and keep it going to make more shots and get us flustered,” Alpena co-coach Kelley Miko said.

The Wildcats continued their strong defensive play throughout the fourth quarter, allowing just six points before Ogemaw connected on two late triples in the final 30 seconds of the game, but wasn’t nearly enough as Alpena was able to close out a game it controlled the entire way, having never trailed.

“We found out that the Big North is very competitive and Ogemaw was near the bottom of the division, but they were a tough team. They played a good game and we made some adjustments at halftime and we were able to pull on out,” Alpena co-coach Steve McCourt said.

Jasmyn Schultz scored a game high 13 points, Shelby Seaver added 12 points, Morgan Allen chipped in with seven points and Alexis Smith scored six points to help the Wildcats stay hot in conference play.

Ogemaw was led by Ashlyn Dantzer who scored 10 points. Tess Childs added nine points, both Kelly Gildner and Mackenzie Morris chipped in with five points in the losing effort.

The Wildcats will be back in action on Thursday when they travel to Gaylord for another important conference matchup. Alpena will enjoy some rest over the next two weeks as they play just two games in the next 12 days, but are focused on one game at a time, knowing that with a win against Gaylord may possibly set up for a showdown with Traverse City Central that could decide the conference champions.

“We know we have a lot of things to work on, although we are taking it one game at a time, we are starting to prepare for Marquette in the district game. The extra practice time will really help so we can fine tune some things that we still need to work on. I look at the Big North games and we do some things different with our rotations and it’s always tough to win on the road, but we have great kids that work hard. They are smart kids that believe and listen to what we do and that’s the main reason we’ve had so much success this season,” McCourt said.

The Alpena JV team also earned a victory on Friday, defeating Ogemaw by a final score of 38-19. The Wildcats were led by Tori Gentry who scored 15 points. Both Kourtney Jones and Maddie Voltz each added six points in the win.

ALPENA (52): M. Allen 3 0-0 7; R. Barkley 1 0-0 2; A. Smith 2 1-4 13; S. Seaver 4 4-6 12; H. Britton 1 0-0 2; J. Marwede 2 0-0 4; E. Jore 1 0-0 2; C. Dzuris 1 2-4 4.

OGEMAW (41): A. Dantzer 4 0-2 10; K. Elliott 1 0-0 2; K. Gildner 2 1-1 5; M. Morris 2 0-0 5; T. Childs 3 1-4 9; P. Izworski 1 0-0 2; M. Denstedt.