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Wildcats secure a victory

Alpena girls hold off Alcona to win season opener

Alpena’s Macy Dickinson (4) drives in for a layup while being defended by Alcona’s Liz Henderson during the first half of a girls basketball game on Thursday at Alpena High School.

There were plenty of missed shots, missed few throws, turnovers and some uneven play, but at the end of its 2019-20 season opener, the Alpena High girls basketball team emerged victorious.

Jade Schultz scored 15 points, Allie DeRocher added 14 and the Wildcats held off a spirited effort by Alcona to defeat the Tigers 58-42 at Alpena High School on Thursday in the season opener for both teams.

Alpena (1-0) clung to a 44-40 lead with 6:42 left, but clamped down on defense and converted opportunities at the free throw line to push past Alcona. It wasn’t the prettiest win–Alpena led by three at halftime, trailed a few times in the first half and failed to convert turnovers into points numerous times–but it was a win nonetheless and came after Alpena coach Erin Andrews implored her team to play better defense and control the ball better in the fourth quarter.

“My expectations were just to get everybody out there running to get some of the first-time jitters out for some of the younger kids,” Andrews said. ” I thought we kind of let them do whatever they wanted. I don’t think we pressured them enough. We’ve just got to be able to get up and pressure (a) team the whole game instead of backing off.”

Alcona (0-1) trailed by as many as 10 in the third quarter, but the Tigers didn’t back down. The Tigers kept pushing and eventually got shots to fall with several of them coming during a 9-2 run that cut Alpena’s lead to three. Alcona had chances at the basket in the fourth quarter, but had trouble converting and was held scoreless for the last 4:03.

Alcona coach Mark Feldhiser praised his team’s effort, including those of Alcona’s bench players who played important minutes and hit several big shots.

“I just told them in the locker room they cannot be disappointed in their effort tonight. We went toe-to-toe for three quarters with Alpena,” Feldhiser said. “I’m glad to come up here and play Alpena. We’ll take it and get ready for our North Star League schedule.”

Megan Grove paced Alcona with 11 points, but Kelsey Hansen, Caroline Forsythe and Karen Sharboneau were among those who impressed off the bench as they both scored six points.

Sharboneau’s last bucket came with 6:42 left in the game as she dribbed out of a trap and found space to sink a shot from around the free throw line, cutting Alpena’s lead to four. Alcona got no closer and DeRocher all but tipped the scales firmly in Alpena’s favor when she drained a three-pointer with 4:45 left, extending Alpena’s lead to eight.

Both sides played to an 11-11 stalemate after one quarter as both sides struggled through numerous turnovers. A pair of baskets by Hansen in the paint briefly gave Alcona the lead early in the second quarter and the Tigers took the lead again later after a triple from Grove. The Tigers led by five, 24-19, with 2:28 left, but Feldhiser warned his team not to let up defensively.

He was proven right just seconds later when Schultz turned an outlet pass into an easy layup as part of a 7-0 Alpena swing. Seconds later, Alcona turned the ball over and Anna Young fed the ball inside to DeRocher for a basket. Alpena scored again not 30 seconds later when DeRocher trained a triple off an inbounds pass.

Alpena regrouped at halftime and started the second half on a 7-0 run to push a 29-26 halftime lead to 10 points.

“There were a few periods in the game that got us. The first part of the third quarter we didn’t score for about four minutes, but we made a run at them and got back,” Feldhiser said. “(Later on) the press effected us a little more than it should have. It’s the first game we’ll work our way through that.”

Nine different players scored for Alpena in the win and nearly every Alpena player saw some time on the floor. Macy Dickinson added seven points, Jenna Leeck had six and Allison Urlaub had five.

Alpena’s JV team defeated Alcona 42-15. Megan Dubie, Emily Kalisch, Lanie Morgan, Meeghan Tessmer and Anna Woods each scored six points for Alpena.

Avery Wrobel and Carmen Dellar each had six for Alcona.

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BOX SCORE: Field goals made/Free throws made/Free throws attempted/Total Points

ALPENA (58): E. Clarke 1 1-2 3; A. DeRocher 5 1-5 14; A. Young 2 0-2 4; J. Leeck 3 0-0 6; J. Schultz 6 3-6 15; A. Urlaub 2 0-0 5; A. Jones 1 0-0 2; M. Dickinson 1 4-6 7; T. Baker 1 0-0 2.

ALCONA (42): A. Loyer 2 0-0 5; M. Grove 4 0-0 11; L. Bilbey 1 2-2 4; K. Hansen 3 0-0 6; Caroline Forsythe 3 0-5 6; K. Sharboneau 3 0-0 6; A. Gordy 1 0-0 2; L. Henderson 0 2-2 2; Carlie Forsythe 0 0-1 0.