Swami getting back to normal routine

The new year is just beginning and with plenty of snow on the ground, we’re getting back into the thick of basketball season. Some teams are hoping to rebound after a long break and others are hoping to keep winning.

Swami’s glad to get back on a regular schedule with writing his column and he’s hoping to keep picking winners.

Swami says it will be a good year. Even if his predictions go south, he will not be on the short end when it comes to time.

ESCANABA (3-2) at ALPENA (2-4)–Friday–(Girls)–It is a new year and hopefully it will be a new beginning for the Wildcats. December was not kind to Alpena, especially after they dropped three straight games. In a game against Traverse City West, the Wildcats just could not get on track when they needed to. The Wildcats came out aggressive, with Jade Schultz scoring the first eight points of the game, but went into a shell with their outside shooting. Meanwhile, the Titans converted in transition and shot the deep ball well.

Escanaba’s duo of Lexi Chaillier and Nicole Kamin combined for 32 points in the Eskymos’ 38-32 win over Gladstone. Swami has a feeling the duo is exactly what the Eskymos have as far as offense, which isn’t a bad thing. Alpena’s going to need to be in sync because so far they’ve been a Jekyll and Hyde team. Friday is the perfect chance to turn things around.

A duo like Schultz and Maddie Voltz should help Alpena against Escanaba’s duo. Being off for two weeks might be just what the Wildcats needed.

Alpena’s had a chance to iron out some kinks, but it remains to be seen if the Wildcats can be aggressive for a full 32 minutes.

Swami Sez: Escanaba 46, Alpena 40.

ESCANABA (3-2) at ALPENA (6-1)–Friday–(Boys)–Having completed the early portion of the Big North Conference schedule, the Wildcats will have a chance to hone their skills against Escanaba.

The Wildcats picked up a conference game against Cadillac prior to the Christmas break with a defensive gem. Alpena took nothing for granted, motoring out to a 11-4 lead after one quarter and going on to a 53-37 win. Chris DeRocher put up his usual team-leading numbers of 22 points and Bruz Copping chipped in with 13.

Escanaba took on a superior Marquette team, but found itself on the short end of a 61-51 score. The difference in the game was at the charity stripe where the Redmen had 29 attempts to only 10 for the Eskymos. Jared Nash and Carter Hudson have been the two main cogs in the Eskymos’ offense. Swami feels if the Wildcats play with the same intensity and defensive pressure they have been known for they should win.

Swami has seen how good Alpena can be when things are clicking. Alpena might have some rust after the holiday break, but getting back to action should get the Wildcats going. Swami thinks the first few minutes of this game might be pretty fast-paced.

This is a good test for Alpena before a Big North Conference onslaught. Alpena has the ability and the talent, now the Wildcats just need to seize the moment.

Swami Sez: Alpena 65, Escanaba 49.

ONAWAY (4-1) at ROGERS CITY (4-1)–Friday–(Girls)–Despite having identical records, these two Presque Isle County teams are in different positions in their respective conferences. Rogers City is leading the Big Dipper division of the North Star League, while Onaway is in the middle of the Ski Valley Conference.

The Hurons were the first team to get back in action after Christmas and took a hard fought 49-40 victory over Posen. The energized Hurons were flying up and down the court, even they struggled shooting the ball. Still, Taylor Fleming had no trouble garnering 20 points in the win, in addition to 10 coming from Karissa Rabeau.

Onaway on the other hand, suffered its first loss in a lopsided game against Gaylord St. Mary, who is the current Ski Valley leader. The Cardinals struggled from the onset and it only got worse as the game went on. The Snowbirds outplayed Onaway on both ends of the floor. Kennedy Crawford had a sub par night and was the only Onaway player to finish in double figures with 11 points. The Cardinals by all accounts found out exactly what they need to work on to get better.

The Hurons should have the advantage tonight and will take time for Onaway to rebound. Watching Fleming and Crawford go head-to-head will be worth the price of admission.

Swami Sez: Rogers City 52, Posen 51.

HILLMAN (3-2) at MIO (6-1)–Friday–(Boys)–Mio comes in after a close loss to Oscoda and is aiming to reclaim the top spot in the Big Dipper division of the North Star League. With Drew Hess leading the way, the Thunderbolts have been one of the best teams in the area and should prove to be a challanging opponent for Hillman on Friday.

Hillman has had ups-and-downs this season and is coming off of a 56-54 home win over Alcona. Hillman overcame some turnover issues and was helped out by 25 points from Kory Henigan, including 11 in the fourth quarter.

Mio has proven to be a very good team and Hillman is still capable of winning, despite being on the younger side. With this game being a rivalry game, it’s a little tough to pick a winner.

Swami Sez: Mio 56, Hillman 44.