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Cooper Bright’s career night leads Alpena to dominant win over Gaylord

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Cooper Bright (33) goes to the basket for a layup during the third quarter of a Big North Conference boys basketball game against Gaylord on Friday at Alpena High School. Bright scored a career high 37 points in the win.

ALPENA — Just a few nights removed from a gut-wrenching defeat, the Alpena High boys basketball team returned to its winning ways on Friday.

The Wildcats took care of business on their home court with a convincing Big North Conference win over Gaylord 72-46.

“I was really pleased, especially after Tuesday’s tough loss. We had two good days of practice and like I’ve said, I think we have a good basketball team,” Alpena coach John Pintar said. “Tonight our energy on both ends was really good. Defense really triggered our run in the second quarter and Cooper (Bright) shot the lights out offensively tonight and it was great to see everyone get a lot of action.”

The Blue Devils had no answer for Bright, an Alpena senior, who was on fire.

Bright finished with a career-high 37 points and scored inside and out early and often. He poured in 28 first-half points including 12 points in the first quarter and 16 more in the second quarter.

The Wildcats shot the lights out early, opening the game with a flurry of threes to take an early lead and never looked back as Alpena held 22-13 lead after one quarter.

Bright continued his dominance to begin the second quarter and helped the Wildcats extend their lead. He scored the first nine points of the second quarter to help Alpena open up a commanding 31-13 lead.

Strong offensive rebounding and terrific ball movement led to an efficient and high scoring first half for the Wildcats as they took a 49-18 lead into the break.

“When you put up 49 points in a half against anybody you did a lot of things right on the offensive end,” Pintar said. “Whether it was transition or rebounding, we gave ourselves a lot of opportunities and a lot of the threes we were able to hit early on were off of offensive rebounds and kick outs. I thought we shared the ball really well and it was a really good first half for us.”

Bright added six points in the third and hit a three to begin the fourth before being taken out with 6:56 to play and the game well in hand as he finished with a career high 37 points.

“He (Bright) had it going all over the place and when he’s shooting the ball like that he’s tough to defend because he can go inside and he’s tough to cover,” Pintar said. “This was one of those nights for him where everything went his way and it was a fantastic game. I’m proud to see him have a night like that because he’s been a consistent player for us and tonight it all came together.”

The Wildcats will have a week to prepare for their next contest when they travel to Traverse City Central next Friday to take on the rival Trojans in a pivotal BNC tilt.

The Alpena JV team defeated Gaylord 37-28. Avery Spicer scored 10 points and Carlos Calzadilla added seven points.

The Alpena freshman team was also victorious, winning by a score of 34-28. Oliver Duthler led the way with 12 points.

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BOX SCORE: Field Goals Attempted/Free Throws Made/Free Throws Attempted/Total Points

ALPENA (72): C. Bright, 13 7-7 37; D. LaMay, 3 0-0 8; T. Bright, 3 0-0 7; M. Mumford, 3 0-2 6; E. Srebnik, 2 3-4 9; A. Prue, 1 3-4 5.

GAYLORD (46): T. Lamerato, 1 0-1 2; G. Freeman, 1 0-0 2; A. Vanderveer, 1 2-4 4; A. Stephenson, 2 0-0 5; L. Gelow, 4 1-1 10; L. Enders, 4 0-0 10; A. Fox, 1 0-0 2; O. Smith, 2 1-2 5.

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