Swami feeling lucky
There always comes times in your life, when you ask yourself if this would have happened if I was a minute sooner or later. Swami had one of those scenarios, but it turned out good. Coming back from his grandson’s Saturday basketball games, after getting a bite to eat in Gaylord. All was going well, the sun was setting, roads were dry, going into the hills of Atlanta. This were the minute sooner or later, came into play, cresting the top of the hill all he could see was this mass in front of him. A Bull Elk was crossing the road, and he still doesn’t know how he missed it. It could have been a disastrous ending to a perfect day, vehicle wise and more likely family wise.
To some basketball is a way of life, but to Swami it is just a game, it is when you put to much emphasis in it that it becomes life. That split second when you should have set a pick, to set up a trey that would have made a difference, or guarding to closely to take yourself out of the game, it is about spacing and timing. A word to the wise, it is a game and if you loose there is another to be played. That is why the All-Knowing-One is thankful to see another day.
TRAVERSE CITY WEST (3-5) at ALPENA (7-1) – Friday – (Boys) – It back to the stiff competition of the Big North Conference for the Wildcats. Swami says stiff in that first to fifth are a mire half game separation. Traverse City West comes in with a loosing record, but that is not indicative of the opposition they have played. The Titans having a week off after coming out on the short end of 76-59 game against undefeated Otsego. The Titans are one of the teams a half game behind, with Alpena and Petoskey leading the pack.
The Wildcats were to take on Sault Ste. Marie, Tuesday night, mother nature got in its way. The only downfall would have been the competition of the Blue Devils this year, having taken a 62-20 win in early December. With that in mind, the All-Knowing-One says Alpena also had a week to prepare sort of, with no school the Wildcats did not have practice for two days leaving them with only two days to prepare for the competition. That is where a possible problem might occur, but he is sure that coach John Pintar will have the troops ready to go.
The Titans had been fighting injuries all season long, with Parker Neu coming off the disabled list against Otsego contributing seven points. The mainstay for the Titans has been Andy Soma averaging in double figures, coming out with a season best 23 in the game also. Pierson Szcepanski and Aiden Griggs have been contributors to West’s attack as well.
Alpena has been riding the inside-out game of Chris DeRocher, who had a career high of 40 points against Escanaba. What makes the Wildcats fun to watch this year is the entire squad that can step in and contribute. It is interesting to watch Aiden Goike and Bruz Copping apply defensive pressure on the ball, and timely rebounds and put back of Jadon Duncan. What really was focal point for Swami was the play of Jack Schmanski with his hustle. As time goes on, there will be other Wildcats when their number is called will make contribution to the Alpena attack.
Swami Says: Alpena 66, Traverse City West 58.
ALPENA (2-5) at TRAVERSE CITY CENTRAL (1-7) – Thursday – (Girls) – Judging by records, Swami would have to say, the Wildcats and Trojans are fighting for the basement of the Big North Conference. Nothing could be farther from the truth, the winner will be within striking distance of the leader. That is why this contest is so important, a loss could send them in the wrong direction with a very heavy laden conference schedule yet to go.
The Wildcats in so many games this season came out with an uptempo game, that kept them in contention for the win against Escanaba, but it is the final stretch that has spelled defeat for them. Alpena managed to knot the score at 55, with a shade over three minutes to go. It was at this point, the Wildcats suffered a let down, allowing the Eskymos to go on an 11-0 run putting the game away. It just seems to the All-Knowing-One it is the inside play of the Wildcats, that seems to go good in the beginning, and is shut down when they need that bucket to break a run. The Wildcats still have the tendency of committing turnovers at the most inopportunistic times when the game is hanging in the balance. Will it come with time, Swami feels it will, but it has to be antagonistic for the coaching staff to watch. The All-Knowing-One feels the Wildcats are making progress, and would like to see Alpena put everything together and come away with a win, giving them the confidence they need to be able to play with any team. Abbie Funk led the way for the Wildcats with 12 points, while Molly Girard came off the bench to can 11.
The Trojans have been on the loosing end all except for a cross town with over Traverse City West, the same team the Wildcats came out on the loosing end to. The point production of Central has been from Riley Farmer and Jordan Burnham averaging in the high single digits. Saline dealt the Trojans a 40 point loss on Friday and then played Bay City Western on Monday, with almost the same result. With that in mind, Swami says all Traverse City schools will play anyone in the conference, so at the end of the year, the Trojans can handle anything given them. Tonight the Wildcats break through against the Trojans.
Swami Sez: Alpena 42, Traverse City Central 40.
OSCODA (6-0) at ALCONA (4-1) – Friday – (Girls) – This game is for the top spot in the Big Dipper Division of the North Star League. The lone loss for Alcona came in a tight 38-36 game against Ogemaw Heights. The Owls have had an easy time racking up six straight, cruising along at a 63 point per game average. Swami does say a 92 point outburst against AuGres did not hurt, it would be the same Wolverine team the Tigers put up 58 against. In the lopsided contest, the All-Knowing-One figured the Tigers allowed everyone to get game action as it was the opener for both sides.
Swami feels it is the defensive effort that has put the Tigers on the winning side of the ledger, which even says well in the low scoring loss. Offensively, Brianna Fogle, Hailee Gordy, Megan Grove, Faith Wallenmaier and Liz Henderson have taken turns leading the Tigers in the scoring.
Lauren Langley 25 point production led the Owls in a 59-21 win over Fairview. Katelyn Etherton and Izzy Hulverson have been averaging in double figures as well. Like the Tigers, the Owls have used a full court press defense to disrupt the flow of the oppositions offense. The Owls also have a ball hawking defense when opponents do get in the zone.
The All-Knowing-One believes the Owls have not had a stiff schedule up to this point and the Tigers maybe the stiffest. With that in mind, Swami feels the Owls will have to earn the points they score, likewise can be said about the Tigers, making for a very interesting game. The game should be quick paced, but could accumulate a lot of fouls along the way. This is where he feels the Owls will have the advantage from the charity stripe.
Swami Sez: Oscoda 59, Alcona 52.
ATLANTA (4-2) at FAIRVIEW (0-8) – Friday – (Boys) – The Eagles are still searching for that elusive first win, but that is what has driven them to gain it. The Huskies have yet to play a Little Dipper Division game of the North Star League, but have come up with some impressive wins. A win would put the Huskies in the mix, seeing how the remainder of the schedule will shake on out.
Jaden Woods, Aaron Cuzzort and Zach Roux have been the only double digit scorers so far this season in the Husky arsenal, the down side Swami says they have not been able to do it in consecutive games. If the Huskies are to make a noise in the North Star they will need more offensive threats to come forward.
Fairview coach Troy Ross figured the Eagles would take their lumps early, but come February and March would produce better results in the form of wins. True, it is not to that point yet. The All-Knowing-One figures the Eagles are about to wipe the goose egg off the record. Graduation did take a toll on the experience of Fairview. It is now up to Jesse Yoder, Grant Lietzke and Aaron Eaves to show the leadership to make this happen.
Swami feels Atlanta does have enough talent to gain wins, but at this time of the season, they just haven’t gotten in sync. It is difficult to put together a streak, with one individual player playing at the top of their game, making it very easy for the opposition to key on that person. They must put together a total team effort to gain that win, after that point, the All-Knowing-One says the wins will come more easily.
Swami Sez: Atlanta 50, Fairview 38.