Swami’s Christmas list comes up short

The closer you get to the holidays, there were always means of seeing classmates, friends and family you have not seen for a year, often a high school basketball game.

It seems the schedule makers have decided to go in the other direction. The majority of teams in the area will finish this weekend and restart after the first of the year. It makes sense because Christmas is on a Monday and you might need time for Christmas getaways. It might mean some teams have long layoffs, but it’s the way the schedule unfolded this year.

Swami is sure things will return to their merry ways next year. With that being said, Swami would like to wish all his readers a Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years.

GAYLORD (1-0) at ALPENA (2-1)–Thursday– How could the Wildcats look so good one night and fall flat on their face the next night?

Traverse City Central looked like it was in midseason form last Friday while the Wildcats had difficulty getting good looks at the bucket, when they did the ball would not fall.

The Wildcats redeemed themselves on Monday against non-conference foe Cheboygan. The Chiefs faired well against Alpena in the opening quarter, before the Wildcats put it in gear to walk away with a 71-31 win. Chris DeRocher led the Wildcats attack with 24 points while Aidan Goike came up with one of his best games for Alpena with 15 points in addition, to a 12 point performance by Bruz Copping.

The All-Knowing-One says it may be very early in the season, but the Wildcats must carry Monday’s play into the conference play from here on out. They have to take their frustrations out on the opposition. The Wildcats may be young team, but to Swami it has very little bearing on the style of basketball the Wildcats should play.

Gaylord was in the same scenario this week, starting out by playing non-conference Charlevoix, then moving into conference play against Alpena. The difference in the win over Charlevoix was the Blue Devils’ defense. Even though the Blue Devils put up 55 points, the majority came from the charity stripe. Jared Landrie accounted for almost half of Gaylord’s production with 22 points.

Swami looks for the Wildcats to break the conference jinx. A combined team effort will carry the Wildcats.

Swami Sez:  Alpena 62, Gaylord 55.

GAYLORD (2-2) at ALPENA (1-2)–Friday–The Wildcats will see exactly where they stand in the Big North Conference after tonight. Petoskey was supposed to be in a rebuild, but Alpena found out differently last week.

In the contest against the Northmen, the Wildcats were cold on the shooting side and mounting turnovers did not help. Emma Jore led the Wildcats with nine points while Maddie Voltz contributed seven.

Swami thinks Alpena must not play into the hands of the Blue Devils. It have to play under control. It have to stay focused on the moment. The pressure defense will have to step up as the Northmen are not afraid to let the three-ball fly.

Gaylord starts five new starters this season. The Blue Devils do have a duo that has not missed a beat in the first four games in junior Becca Ross and sophomore Savanna Gapinski. Ross has been a pleasant surprise for coach Frank Hamilla, leading the team in scoring, but she has an excellent counterpart at guard in Gapinski, who has been lights out beyond the arc.

The down side for the Blue Devils has been their inability to stop runs on defense which has been the difference in two losses. Despite turnovers, Gaylord has been in every game with a chance to pull out the win.

Swami is looking to see which team will blink first or create the first turnover. That team might just walk away with the win.

Swami Sez:  Alpena 48, Gaylord 45.

POSEN (1-3) at HILLMAN (4-1)–Thursday–The word rivalry comes to mind in this non-conference match up. The competition has been fierce between the two schools. Hillman won two weeks ago, but this matchup is always a hard-fought game.

Hillman’s Brooke Jones made sure the Vikings didn’t get that close with 11 of her game high 19 points coming in the second half. Jones shooting put the Tigers in a rhythm when it was needed. Also finishing in double figures were Eve LaFleche with 13 and Lyndsey Ryba contributing 11.

Brooke Ciarkowski gave Posen a shot to stay in the game with 17 points. But a third game in four days did not do the Vikings justice. Foul trouble also placed the Vikings in a hole. Swami says the Vikings know what they have to do to stay in the game and make it a closer affair this time.

The question that still remains for Swami is which team will have the advantage? Hillman has depth, but Posen has improved enough to win this game.

Swami thinks the final outcome will be closer this time around.

Swami Sez:  Hillman 58, Posen 50.

OSCODA (3-1) at FAIRVIEW (0-4)– Friday–It is a tale of two teams heading in opposite directions. The Owls have been quick to put together good first quarters, then keep the up-tempo play going to post easy wins. The Eagles have struggled in the early going, but did turn in a valiant effort against Mio. The slowed-down effort frustrated the Thunderbolts and almost played into the hands of Fairview, but Mio managed to escape with a win. The mainstays for the Eagles have been Katelyn Bowers and Jaedyn Winton, which have accounted for the majority of Fairview’s output over the first four games.

Lauren Langley has been the floor general for the Owls in addition to taking charge in the scoring department. She is followed very closely by Katelyn Etherton, and Brooke Nowiski. When you have three starters hit for double figures every game, it is difficult for the opposition to double team.

It may be a long season for the Eagles, but they will gain a wealth of game experience. The All-Knowing-One believes it will help the effort next year and the years to come. Right now the Owls are on a roll and until one of the wheels comes off, they should be the team to beat. With that in mind, the Owls notch another win.’

Swami Sez:  Oscoda 66, Fairview 45.