Swami on the alert

There is a distinct correlation between hunting season and basketball. Swami can finally attest to that. For the first time in twenty three years, the All-Knowing-One sat during opening day of rifle season in the rain for the whole day. Even though nothing happened, he still felt it was worth it. It was a learning experience, such as so many things in life are.

So how does that correspondent to basketball? Whether in basketball or hunting, you need to be ready. Whether you are the first player off the bench or the last, you still have to be ready. You are part of a team. Here is hoping everyone in the basketball world is ready to contribute.

ALPENA  at PETOSKEY–Thursday–Girls–A mixture of veterans and youth and a new coach should make Alpena very interesting this year. The Wildcats did not miss a beat in their opener, downing Cheboygan. Swami could have understood a slow start with the installation of a new offense and defense by coach Erin Andrews, but that was not the case. The Wildcats kept up the pressure and intensity on the undermanned Chiefs, forcing turnovers that were converted into easy baskets.

Alpena’s defense is built around reckless abandonment, which creates an uptempo style of offense. The All-Knowing-One believes the two go hand-in-hand; if you are not moving, then there is something wrong. That is why all 13 players better be ready to get minutes.

Back-to-back three pointers by Emma Jore put the exclamation point on the win, garnering her a game-high 18 points. Senior Dakota Prevo was not far behind with 16 and sophomore Jade Shultz added 13.

Petoskey is in a learning mode as it has been for a couple years. The Northmen have a wealth of talent, but have had a hard time getting everyone on the same page. The Northmen held their own invitational over the weekend, coming out on the wrong end against Brighton and Manton. Coach Bryan Shaw did see a marked improvement in the 46-36 loss to Manton. In the early going, it appears the mainstays of the offense will be Megan Hannah and Megan Kolp, while Eva Matthews has been a force on the boards.

Swami looks for the Wildcats to open their Big North Conference schedule with the same intensity as the opener. The Wildcats have the defensive stops and the offense to earn their first conference win.

Swami Sez:  Alpena 57, Petoskey 42.

TRAVERSE CITY CENTRAL (0-0) at ALPENA (0-0)–Friday–Boys – The question tonight is can the Wildcats stay strong despite playing back-to-backs? The Wildcats open with Blessed Cardinal Newman on Thursday and will hope a win there serves as a springboard to further success.

The Wildcats only graduated two seniors, but one was Cam DeCaire, who was one of the main cogs in Alpena’s scoring last year. This season’s returners plus the influx from the junior varsity means the entire varsity has played together at some point over the last four years. The All-Knowing-One believes the additions will make the Wildcats a more well rounded team. The keys for Alpena are the three returning starters in Chris DeRocher, Aidan Goike and Bruz Copping.

Central’s fortunes turned around in the latter part of the season last year, after the Trojans won five of their last six, but they had just two wins in their first 15 games. First-year coach Travis Schuba likes what he has seen in scrimmage situations. Tobin Schwannecke, is deadly from the outside, returns to shore up the offense at point guard. Jordan Vicent can put big numbers on the board as well. The Trojans do have good size in their big men, Ben McCrary and Jack Sherwin.

Swami is interested to see what the non-conference opener will do to the Wildcats’ stamina. He believes the Wildcats will be up for the challenge. The All-Knowing-One has been around long enough to know that anytime you are playing Traverse City, you are up emotionally and physically. Swami predicts for a hard fought game.

Swami Sez:  Alpena 59, Traverse City Trojans 50.

POSEN (0-1) at ROGERS CITY (0-1)–Thursday–Boys–The battle for Presque Isle County bragging rights has both teams searching for their first win.

This is a new year and different attitude for the Vikings, who suffered through a very long and hard season. The Vikings had a vast improvement against Whittemore-Prescott, even though they did not win. Posen was as close as three points in the fourth quarter before dropping a 54-48 game to the Cardinals. Jared Sharpe and Mark Wisniewski paced the Viking attack with 16 and 11 points respectively.

Rogers City was snake-bitten in the fourth quarter against Hale. The usually error-free Hurons played into the hands of the Eagles. The Hurons set themselves up for the win, but couldn’t get it despite solid games from Ethan Hincka and Phil Grambau. Graduation may play a big part this season with losing key players, but the All-Knowing-One feels they have the nucleus to be a force once the kinks are worked out.

Swami feels that the tables might be turned in this first match up. It seems the Vikings have a leg up in early part of the season andl ooks like they are poised and put themselves in position to win.

Swami Sez:  Posen 45, Rogers City 40.

MIO (2-0) at FAIRVIEW (0-2)–Friday–Girls–The Thunderbolts could not wait until the season began as it is a year that might just make a world of difference. Mio has the experience and the know-how on defense to have some success.

The Thunderbolts have done nothing to dash those hopes handling Hale and Atlanta with ease. In the 64-13 win over Atlanta, Lauren Kuffel led the fast-breaking Mio team in rebounding, while the sharp shooting senior Karley Auten showed what hard work can do.

Fairview has found the early going not as easy. Replacing four starters and five seniors from last season’s team is no easy task. With that in mind, Swami says Fairview is very young and will take their lumps in the form of growing pains. The Eagles return one starter from a year ago in sophomore Jaedyn Winton that took the North Star Little Dipper Division. Role players now will have to step up and be the other four starters, as Samantha Aho, Paige Jenkins, and Addison Goy will get their chance.

 The Thunderbolts are returning to their form of years gone by. The Eagles just need to be aggressive and learn to stay away from turnovers and the wins will come.

Swami Sez:  Mio 64, Fairview 38.