Lumberjacks striving for success in 2017-18

Courtesy Photo The 2017-18 Alpena Community College women’s basketball team is from left to right: Alexis Smith, Morgan Allen, Kailey Hunt, Jasmyn Schultz and Samantha Szymanski.

The Alpena Community College women’s basketball team will have its back against the wall every time it takes the floor this season.

But that doesn’t mean the Lumberjacks aren’t going to work hard.

With just five players to start the season, ACC won’t have any time to rest, but Lumberjacks coach Bobby Allen likes the effort he’s seen so far.

“I look at my basketball team and I have a group of girls that goes out every day (and works hard),” Allen said. “This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had starting out (the season) because they’re so in tune to everything and they listen and they ask questions. Maybe we’ll win a game or two, maybe we won’t win a game, but we’re going to go out and play hard.”

The Lumberjacks went 6-14 last season and have started this season 0-3 after losses to Mid-Michigan, Bay Community College and Muskegon.

Allen is confident his team will gain experience with each game and win or lose, he’s pleased with the Lumberjacks’ willingness to play team basketball.

“I don’t have selfishness on this team. They love to get their teammates open,” Allen said. “We gain experience with each game.”

ACC has three returning players this year and two newcomers. Morgan Allen and Alexis Smith (both from Alpena) return to form the Lumberjacks’ back court after they both earned all-conference honorable mentions last season. Allen averaged 6.3 points per game last season and Smith added 5.8.

Kailey Hunt (Big Rapids) returns to ACC’s front court and at 5-foot-10 is the Lumberjacks’ tallest player. Joining her up front are freshmen Jasmyn Schultz and Sam Szymanski (both from Alpena).

Szymanski was a late addition to this year’s team, but has impressed already after scoring a team-high 17 points against Bay Community College and nine against Muskegon.

Kaalin Crawford, a freshman point guard from DeTour, hopes to join the team later in the season and is currently out with an illness.

On offense, Allen is looking to Allen and Smith to take on the scoring load, but is also looking for Hunt to add some scoring punch. All three of them give ACC some much-needed experience and leadership as well.

” They can tell the other girls how tough the league is. We’re not even in league play right now and it gets tough,” Allen said. “Those three young ladies, they’ve been through it. I think they’ll bring that experience along with Kailee.”

ACC plans to play hard, despite small numbers, but Allen said his team will have to pace itself in order to play well over a full game.

“All the girls hustle, but we can’t spend it all in the first two minutes,” Allen said. “I like my basketball team and I know that we’re going to go out and play hard each and every game.”