Fast start propels Alpena boys to win at Tawas Area
It may be true that you can’t win a game in the first quarter. The Alpena boys basketball team came pretty darn close Thursday at Tawas Area however; as they stormed out of the gates with a 16 point lead and rolled their way to an impressive 72-44 late season victory.
“I was concerned, I know Tawas is a really good basketball team here at home and we had to get off to a good start, that was really important,” head coach John Pintar said. “Our guys came out and did a really good job offensively, we hit some shots and got the ball inside and took advantage of some things. It was a good night and we will enjoy it but will get ready for the next one.”
The Wildcats (9-8 overall), behind a pair of early threes by Cooper Bright, who finished with a game high 25 points, took a 19-3 lead just five minutes into the game.
The Braves rallied to pull within 21-12 after the first quarter and they had Alex Kaems hit a three to open the second to make it 21-15, but a close-range basket by Ryan Voltz and a three each by Easton Srebnik and Luke Young extended the Wildcat lead back to 29-15 and they never led by less than 14 the rest of the way.
“I knew they would make some runs at us and they did right away, cutting the lead down to six, but I was really happy with how our guys responded,” Pintar said. “We hit some big shots all game and just kind of got control from there on out.”
Another three by Bright and a runner in the paint by Voltz made it 39-20; before Alpena settled for a 39-24 lead at the half.
Alpena opened the third on an 11-4 run to lead 50-28 and the Wildcats seemingly only added to their lead from there.
“I was really happy in the second half, I knew Tawas was more than capable, they have enough offensive firepower to make you pay but I was really happy that we controlled the pace and shot the ball well, got the ball inside and got the ball on fast breaks,” Pintar said. “We held them to one shot, we didn’t give up a lot of second chances and overall, I thought we played a good complete game on both ends of the floor.”
Alpena led 59-33 entering the fourth quarter, where it led by as much as 30 points before claiming the 28-point win.
Bright nailed four threes on the way to his 25 points, Mason Mumford and Voltz had 12 points apiece, Srebnik chipped in with eight points, Devin Lamay put in six, Austin Prue put in four, Young netted three, and Nicholas Geister added two.
For the Braves, Kaems had 10 points and Vinnie Frank put in nine.
Alpena wraps up the regular season with Friday’s game at Gaylord and home games with Rogers City and Tawas on March 1 and March 3. Pintar is hoping that Thursday’s convincing road win at Tawas is a sign of things to come.
“I’m really happy, I think we have a good competitive team,” he said. “We had a tough week last week, we lost a couple tough games at home against good teams but this was a nice bounce back for us. I am happy with where we are at as a team and we just have to keep pushing forward. Games are going to come down to getting stops and I thought we did a good job of that (against Tawas) and if we keep doing that we will have a good chance at districts.”