Lumberjacks can’t break through in home opener

News Photo by James Andersen ACC's Jasmyn Schultz (11) battles for a rebound with Bay College's Jordan Kraemer during the first half of a women's basketball game on Wednesday at Park Arena.

The Alpena Community College women’s basketball team played arguably its best game of the young season on Wednesday and had every chance to earn its first victory of the year.

Unfortunately, Bay College managed to stay one step ahead of the Lumberjacks.

Jordan Kraemer scored 17 points and the Norse defeated Alpena 59-45 at Park Arena in the Lumberjacks’ home opener.

Alpena (0-4) cut the Norse’s lead to two, 43-41, with 8:48 left to play, but the Lumberjacks four points the rest of the way. After Sam Szymanski hit a free throw to cut the lead to two, the Norse scored the next six points to pull away.

It was a frustrating pattern for the Lumberjacks all night; close but not close enough. Alpena kept things close enough to contend for the win, but couldn’t get over the hump. Despite an off night from the field, the Norse made enough shots to maintain a lead and scored some key buckets in transition, while the Lumberjacks struggled on the boards and missed their fair share of close shots.

Still it was an improvement from last month’s 82-57 loss to the Norse in Escanaba and Alpena was praised for its efforts.

“They’re a matchup problem for us inside. They’re a good team and we struggled matching up with them inside,” Bay College coach Rae Drake said. “I thought our girls battled them. We battled the entire game, played awfully hard.”

The Lumberjacks trailed by five after one quarter, cut the lead to three in the second quarter and to three again in the third quarter. but couldn’t catch up.

Szymanski led Alpena with 14 points and Jasmyn Schultz added 10.

“Alpena has six girls, we had seven girls and they battled too,” Drake said. “We kind of, in the last few minutes, I thought we wore them down a little bit. We did what we had to do to win.”

Justine Kinnunen added 15 points for the Norse, Paige Welch chipped in with 11 and each of the Norse’s seven players scored at least two points in the win.

Bay College led 29-21 at halftime and pushed its lead to double digits early in the third quarter. The Norse led by 11 with 5:18 left in the quarter before the Lumberjacks rallied back. Alexis Smith and Kailey Hunt hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions and Schultz forced a turnover for an easy lay-up to make it 36-33.

Bay College scored the next seven points before Hunt drained another trey near the end of the third quarter.

Hunt’s triple made it 43-36 and the Lumberjacks scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to make it 43-41.

The Norse led 11-4 early in the first quarter, but the Lumberjacks battled back and trailed 17-12 after 10 minutes.

Alpena cut Bay College’s lead to three midway through the second quarter, but the Norse kept their lead, outscoring 10-5 the rest of the period.

Alpena hosts Mid Michigan at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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BAY CC (59): P. Welch 5 1-2 11; J. Kinnunen 6 0-0 15; J. Kraemer 6 5-5 17; T. Fuson 1 1-2 3; J. Belleville 2 0-2 5; C. Hewitt 2 1-1 6; S. Rogers 1 0-0 2.

ALPENA CC (45): J. Schultz 2 6-10 10; M. Allen 3 0-0 7; S. Szymanski 5 4-8 14; A. Smith 1 2-2 5; K. Hunt 3 0-0 9.

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.