Swami loving the warmth of the gym in the winter
When it comes to snow fall, adults and youth have very different thoughts. With the first snowfall, the youngsters are all full of joy, eager to participate in snowboarding, downhill skiing and other outdoor activities. Older folks dread the thought of cleaning off their cars, driving on slippery roads and not falling on ice.
The cold weather outside means things are heating up inside on the basketball court. With the high school schedule in full swing, Swami’s got a spring in his step and a ringside seat to see some of Northern Michigan’s finest talents on display.
As Swami waits for the snow to melt, let’s take a look at what this week has to offer on the court:
GAYLORD (1-2) at ALPENA (2-0)–Thursday–Girls–Gaylord will have already completed one fifth of its season with this game while Alpena is completing a three-game homestead to open the year.
Alpena showed some jitters in its opener and struggled to score at times, but put things together late. The Wildcats gained more game experience on Tuesday, putting another W in the win column vs. Cheboygan. Trailing 15-9 at half, Allie DeRocher sparked Alpena with a pair of 3-points to put the Wildcats into a tie. A pair of free throws by Jade Schultz put Alpena ahead for good.
Gaylord has faced some tough non-conference competition, but the Blue Devils did face Cheboygan and overcame some obstacles to win by five. The Blue Devils couldn’t put together a solid follow-up however and were schooled by Sault Ste. Marie 63-18 on Tuesday.
Unlike the opener, Alpena’s starters will be asked to go deep into tonight’s contest. One thing is for sure: the Wildcats can not afford to let the Blue Devils take the game to them. They need to put pressure on and not give up anything easy. Gaylord’s seniors will be looking to find a rhythm and the Wildcats will want to come out with a strong defensive effort.
Swami Sez: Gaylord 53, Alpena 48.
MIO (1-0) at OSCODA (1-0)–Thursday–Boys–It is extremely early in the schedule, but this contest could decide who will be on top of the North Star League’s Big Dipper division.
Oscoda has returners from last year’s tournament run, including Owen Franklin, Brayden Mallak and Gabe Kellstrom. Franklin averaged 14.5 points per game last season and is looking to improve on that average. Mallak is the assist leader on the team, but has the ability finish in double figures, while Kellstrom is a pure shooter that can carry the team.
Mio returns a few starters that made it to the regional semifinals last season. Senior Drew Hess is looking to add to his point production that pushed him over the 1,000 point plateau. With a good year, he could easily get to 1,500 points. Brendan DeFlorio also gives the Thunderbolts another scoring option. The Thunderbolts are looking to finish with another double digit win season. In Mio’s opener on Tuesday, the Thunderbolts had very little trouble in capturing their first win of the season over Atlanta.
Oscoda opened the season with an easy win over Au Gres as the Owls had four players finish in double figures. Franklin led the way with 19, Kellstrom was close behind with 18, Mallak with 16 and Gavin Lueck finished the night with 15.
Swami believes this will be a real shootout. The team that plays better defense will come out with the win. Besides defense, the All-Knowing-One believes turnovers may have a hand in determining who wins.
Swami Sez: Oscoda 62, Mio 59.
POSEN (1-1) at FAIRVIEW (1-1)–Friday–Girls–Posen has looked pretty good through two games, winning their opener and dropping their second game. Elena Kalbitzer has been a revelation for Posen and Riley Krajniak and Makayla Kamyszek have been among those who have done some good things so far. Not only are the Vikings looking for bigger things throughout the season, but now they know they have more depth. The Vikings took a step back against Alcona on Tuesday as some foul trouble and Alcona’s front court gave them some trouble.
Fairview got off to a fast start against Mancelona and never let up for the win. The Eagles had a down year last season, but are looking to improve with the return of Jaedyn Winton and Katelyn Bowers. The Eagles were extremely competitive last season, but were lacking that one player that could have made a change in their overall record. The Eagles couldn’t match their opening night effort against Johannesburg-Lewiston on Tuesday and are hoping for a better effort against the Vikings.
Swami Sez: Posen 49, Fairview 30.
ONAWAY (0-1) at CENTRAL LAKE (1-0)–Friday–Girls–Onaway rolled to winning record last year, but will have some work to do this year.
Last season, the Cardinals had a senior laden team and it will be up to this season’s seniors to pick up the scoring slack left from last year’s senior. Seniors Jordan Larson, Malaisha Van and Malaurie McLean will be looked upon to be the leaders and make it happen. The Cardinals did not fare too well against Posen, but they made a valiant attempt to stay with Vikings. The inability to get shots to fall, struggling with a press and turnovers led to the loss.
Central Lake should enjoy the luxury of having experience, but a lack of players might hurt as the season goes on. The Trojans were able to breeze past Ellsworth with the benefit of six players returning, including senior Finch Vanniman, the Trojans leading scorer and rebounder. Central Lake’s only got six players, so everyone will get playing time and every player will need to step up.
Swami says there is nothing like experience in basketball, but it doesn’t always guarantee a team will win. With good chemistry, Onaway should benefit here, but the Cardinals can’t let pressure get to them.
Swami Sez: Onaway 45, Central Lake 42.