Not quite their night

Late offensive struggles hinder ACC women in loss

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena’s Shelby Seaver, middle, shoots the ball while being defended by St. Clair players Emily Fleischmann (44) and Darshana Nathan (5) during the first quarter of a women’s basketball game on Saturday at Park Arena.

For nearly three quarters on Saturday, the Alpena Community College women’s basketball team had every reason to feel good about its chances to win.

With about four and a half minutes left in the third quarter, the Lumberjacks trailed St. Clair by just two, 37-35, after going toe-to-toe with the Skippers for more than 20 minutes.

Unfortunately for the Lumberjacks, it took just a few minutes for things to unravel.

Despite their best efforts, the Lumberjacks couldn’t keep up the fight into the fourth quarter and ultimately lost to the Skippers 66-44 at Park Arena.

After making it a one-possession game, the Lumberjacks (0-10) struggled to keep pace with the Skippers and were held scoreless for most of the fourth quarter. The Lumberjacks trailed by just three with two minutes left in the third quarter, but didn’t score again more more than nine minutes. After getting to within two, ACC was outscored 29-9 the rest of the way.

“We had the lead the whole game and (in the fourth quarter) we started playing a zone. They starting shooting the outside shot, but they weren’t hitting the outside shot,” St. Clair coach Chris Huss said. “We got some defensive rebounds and some easy transition points and I think that was really the difference in the game.”

It was a frustrating defeat for the Lumberjacks, who were playing their first home contest of 2019. ACC battled St. Clair of the better part of three quarters, but couldn’t put together a solid final quarter of basketball.

Shelby Seaver led ACC with 18 points, with 10 of those coming in the third quarter. Seaver’s prowess in the paint and solid shooting at free throw line (6-for-8) kept ACC within striking distance. With 4:33 left in the period, Seaver was fouled and made one of two free throws. Just three seconds later, Seaver put up a shot, missed, was fouled again and sank a pair of shots from the charity stripe, making it 37-35 with 4:30 left.

“They’re a tough team. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy place to play,” Huss said of the Lumberjacks. “Every time I come up here, I tell my girls it’s a completely different atmosphere, you’ve got to come prepared to play and they stuck with us for a while.”

This marked the Lumberjacks’ high point and try as they might, they couldn’t take the lead. St. Clair hit a three-pointer shortly after to push its lead back to five. A three-pointer from Taylor Livingston pulled ACC to within three with 2:02 left, but that was the last basket ACC scored for nearly 10 minutes and St. Clair led 46-39 after three quarters.

With 6-foot-3 sophomore center Emily Fleischmann back in the lineup for the fourth quarter, the Skippers pushed the pace, putting together a 12-0 run that ACC couldn’t recover from.

Fleischmann finished the game with nine points, but ran into foul trouble early and spent most of the second and third quarters on the bench. Fleischmann’s time on the bench forced the Skippers to adapt, but she made her presence known in limited time, scoring in the paint, grabbing rebounds and setting up chances for St. Clair’s shooters.

“Absolutely. We go into every game and I tell my team she should get a touch every time down the floor. Whether she scores or not, doesn’t matter, but usually that’s our game plan,” Huss said of Fleischmann.

Brooke Janaud led St. Clair with 15 points and Keishawna McGruder added 14.

St. Clair led 15-12 after one quarter and led by as many as nine in the second quarter. Livingston pulled ACC to within six by halftime, 29-23, after hitting a three-pointer that rolled around the rim before dropping through.

Livingston finished with eight points and Jasmyn Schultz had seven.

Alpena returns to action at 1 p.m. Saturday at Oakland.

——

BOX SCORE: Field goals made/Free throws made/Free throws attempted/Total Points

ST. CLAIR (66): B. Janaud 6 2-2 15; K. McGruder 5 0-2 14; E. Fleischmann 4 1-4 9; J. Smith 3 1-2 7; D. Nathan 3 1-4 8; R. Kehoe 2 1-4 5; J. Bohm 2 0-0 5; C. Koschnitzke 1 1-2 3.

ALPENA (44): S. Seaver 4 10-13 18; D. Prevo 1 1-4 3; B. Nguyen 1 0-0 3; J. Schultz 3 1-2 7; T. Livingston 3 0-0 8; A. Larsen 1 0-0 2; K. Feighner 1 0-0 3.