Free-throw shooting hurts Lumberjacks in loss to GRCC

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Isaac Hogsett drives to the basket while being guarded by Grand Rapids Community College defender William Otole during a men’s basketball game on Saturday at Park Arena

It was an uncharacteristic Saturday night for the Alpena Community College men’s basketball team.

Generally, the Lumberjacks are usually a strong free-throw shooting team, but on Saturday, Alpena had an off night from the charity stripe, going 2-10 from the line down the stretch and lost a close hard-fought game to Grand Rapids Community College by a final score of 87-80 at Park Arena.

“I’m disappointed in the loss, but not disappointed in the kids. This team showed they have heart and they’re a team that no one can take lightly,” Alpena coach Mark Jacobs said. “We are usually a very good free-throw shooting team and it was very uncharacteristic of us tonight how we shot from the line.”

The entire game was a back and forth battle and the Lumberjacks put together their best performance of the season, but in the end, a failure to execute when they needed to doomed Alpena.

The Lumberjacks battled from behind most of the contest, but was in the game the entire way.

Alpena’s best chance to take a lead came midway through the second half when the Raiders were called for double technical fouls, awarding Alpena four free-throw chances and possession. The Lumberjacks were unable to do much damage with their golden opportunity as they made just one free-throw and failed to score on the possession.

“I hate losing more than anyone, but I thought this was a good stepping stone,” Jacobs said. “Every game we are getting better and we just have to come back, keep working hard and keep getting better. I’m still confident in this group and know what we’re capable of.”

One thing that hurt Alpena throughout the game was their inability to defend the Raiders from behind the three point line.

The Lumberjacks left GRCC shooters open throughout the night and the Raiders made them pay by knocking down a majority of those wide open looks.

Unlike Alpena down the stretch, the Raiders were able to cash in at the free throw line after taking advantage of the Lumberjacks’ sloppy play late as Alpena turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions in the final two minutes of the game and GRCC put the game away by turning those Alpena mistakes into easy buckets and capitalized at the free throw line.

The Lumberjacks fall to 0-3 on the year and will be back in action on Wednesday when they travel above the bridge and take on Bay College.