An impressive debut
Wildcats defeat Cheboygan 63-35 in season opener
ALPENA–The Alpena High girls basketball team opened the season under new head coach Erin Andrews on Tuesday and put together an impressive performance by defeating Cheboygan 63-35.
It took some time before the Wildcats got going, but once they did they kept the pressure and intensity up all game long. Alpena was flying all over the court making life difficult for the Chiefs with its press defense. Offensively, the Wildcats found ways to score from all over the court. The dominant play led to a convincing win to open the season as Andrews picked up her first win in her first home game coaching the Green and White.
“I was nervous. Being back up north is a little bit different than it is down in Texas so I just wanted to see and remember how it is back up here,” Andrews said. “It was a good win and it was nice to see the girls out and running.”
Despite a slow start to the game, Alpena’s defense was stellar all night. It took just over a quarter for the Wildcats to find their rhythm offensively as they held an 11-5 lead after one quarter, but Alpena began to find its groove early in the second quarter as it scored the first 12 points of the quarter to open up a 23-5 lead. Alpena held Cheboygan scoreless for nearly six minutes and took a comfortable 25-9 lead into the break.
“We’re going to try and focus on defense. I really want us to be an aggressive defensive team and we talked about boxing out and we did well with that tonight and we need to continue concentrating on that,” Andrews said. “We have a solid front and we have a lot depth. The way we want to press we want to get everyone in there and go for a couple of minutes, work really hard, get a sub and get fresh legs in there whenever we can.”
Alpena came out firing in the second half as Emma Jore hit back-to-back three pointers on consecutive trips down the floor midway through the quarter and scored eight of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter. The Wildcats found ways to score in the paint and from beyond the three point line as they extended the lead to 46-23 heading to the fourth quarter.
Alpena put together one more strong quarter and got contributions from its entire roster as Jore, Dakota Prevo and Jade Shultz all scored in double figures with Prevo ending the game with 16 points and Shultz finishing with 13 points before leaving with six minutes left in the game due to injury.
“We made adjustments throughout the game and we went out and did exactly what we needed to so that was nice to see,” Andrews said. “I was real pleased with what the girls did tonight and we’ll keep working and see what we can do opening with the Big North on Thursday.”
Cheboygan was led by Caitlyn Franz who scored 12 points and Cassie Burton added 10 points.
Alpena begins the season 1-0 and will open Big North Conference play Thursday when it travels to Petoskey.
The Alpena JV team was also victorious, defeating Cheboygan 51-31.
Abigail Funk and Alysa Funk both scored 12 points in the win.
ALPENA – T. Foster 2 0-0 4; K. Jones 2 0-0 5; T. Tolsdorf 0 1-2 1; J. Shultz 6 1-2 13; M. Voltz 1 0-0 2; E. Jore 7 1-1 18; D. Prevo 7 2-3 16.
CHEBOYGAN – C. Franz 4 4-7 12; C. Burton 5 0-0 10; A. Cronan 0 0-1 0; A. Swiderek 0 0-2 0; H. Kujawa 1 3-4 5; I. Buhr 3 0-0 6; I. House 1 0-0 2.