Alpena comes up short against Big North-leading Vikings

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Cooper Bright (33) drives to the basket while being defended by Cadillac’s Cole Jenema (21) during the first quarter of a Big North Conference boys basketball game on Friday at Alpena High School.

ALPENA — The Alpena High boys basketball team entered Friday’s Big North Conference clash with Cadillac with a slim chance to compete for a conference crown, needing to win out in conference play the rest of the way to make that dream a reality.

The Vikings ended those dreams Friday as they swept the season series against Alpena, defeating the Wildcats on their own court 59-49 at Alpena High School.

Cadillac entered Friday’s contest with a 10-3 record and 6-1 record in the BNC, while riding a three-game winning streak. The Vikings showed why they are the cream of the crop in the Big North and improved their chances of a conference championship with a road victory.

In the second week of the season, the Wildcats were on the receiving end of a 20-point drubbing at Cadillac.

Alpena showed huge improvements from that first matchup against the Vikings and had its opponents on the ropes through one half of play.

Cadillac got off to a cold start from the field and missed a handful of favorable second-chance opportunities, while the Wildcats were solid defensively and scored inside and out early.

Alpena held a lead throughout much of the first half and got a huge boost heading into the locker room as Easton Srebnik nailed a three at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 27-21 halftime lead.

“I think we’ve made huge leaps all year and our team continues to improve. Tonight we came out against the best team in our conference and went toe-to-toe with them all night,” Alpena coach John Pintar said. “From where we were at in December to where we’re at now, we’re a much better basketball team and that’s a credit to our guys and how hard they work. I think we’re on the right track.”

Unfortunately for Wildcats, the momentum they built in the first half didn’t carry over. Cadillac came out of the break firing on all cylinders, storming back to take a 33-27 lead after scoring 12 straight points to start the third quarter.

The Wildcats tried to claw back and keep the game close, but Cadillac began to convert second-chance opportunities and hit the open looks and took a 42-33 lead into the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately for Alpena, a valiant effort and vast improvements weren’t enough The Wildcats were whistled away in the fourth quarter and any hope of a comeback was spoiled due to foul trouble as the Vikings were able to close out the game at the free throw line.

“It was a frustrating second half all the way around whether it was the whistle or just our play. We struggled in the third quarter offensively and defensively and that was the difference,” Pintar said. “Their size definitely made a difference throughout the game. We really battled and had opportunities, but we had an unfavorable whistle tonight and that made it hard. It’s not the reason we lost the game, we just have to play through it and I’m proud of our guys for how hard we’re playing and where we’re at.”

Cooper Bright paced Alpena with 18 points. Mason Mumford added 10 points.

The Wildcats will return to the court Tuesday with the hopes of putting an end to their two-game losing skid when they look to exact revenge against BNC rival Traverse City Central.

The Alpena JV team dropped a close 35-30 contest to Cadillac. Carlos Calzadilla and Caleb McEwen each scored five points.

The Wildcats freshman team was victorious, defeating Cadillac 42-29. Oliver Duthler scored a team-high 15 points and Connor Cameron chipped in with 11 points.


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

CADILLAC (59): C. McGowen, 2 2-4 6; T. Baker, 0 2-4 2; C. Jenema, 5 11-16 22; J. Montague, 2 1-3 5; C. Howell, 3 3-5 9; E. Main, 1 0-0 3; A. Gurden, 2 0-0 8; G. Goetz, 2 0-0 4.

ALPENA (49): C. Bright, 4 6-8 18; T. Bright, 2 0-0 5; M. Mumford, 4 4-4 10; D. LaMay, 2 0-0 4; A. Prue, 1 0-0 3; E. Srebnik, 1 0-0 3; R. Voltz, 3 0-0 6.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today