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A confidence booster

Wildcats get back on track with lopsided win over Ogemaw

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Jenna Leeck (12) goes up for a shot while being contested by Ogemaw-Heights defender Rowan Peace (22) during the second quarter of a girls basketball game on Monday at Alpena High School. The Wildcats defeated the Falcons 57-22.

After suffering a tough loss at Escanaba last Friday, the Alpena High girls basketball team was in need of a confidence boost and needed to get back on track.

The Wildcats (4-3) did exactly that and gained some much needed confidence as the Wildcats handled Ogemaw Heights (1-6) on Monday, routing the Falcons by a score of 57-22 in a game that was never in doubt.

Alpena worked its press early and got off to a blazing start, scoring the first nine points in the game. The Wildcats forced turnovers, which led to easy baskets and they were able to build on that lead throughout the contest.

“We needed to work our press a little bit and it was nice to be able to do that. It always looks so good against our JV team, so it’s nice to be able to play it against somebody else and then make some adjustments on the fly and have them just see where they need to get the steals and then just attack from that point,” Alpena coach Erin Andrews said.

Despite getting out to a big lead early, the Wildcats surrendered a few late baskets in the opening quarter and held a seven point lead after one.

Alpena picked it up at both ends of the court in the second as it outscored the Falcons 19-1 in the second and held Ogemaw scoreless during the first seven minutes in the quarter and took a commanding 35-10 lead into the break.

“I just told the girls that it didn’t matter what the score was at the half and we just needed to come out and have a good quarter, we can’t just sit back,” Andrews said. “We talked about some things that we needed to work on and we worked on those things in the second half and the girls did them. We don’t play half court defense very often, so we needed to work on that and know where to pick people up at. It may sound simple, but we’ve played the press so long that sometimes we don’t really know where to go find people so I like that we were able to do that and work on some different things tonight.”

The third quarter was much of the same dominance from the Wildcats as they extended the lead to 50-13 after three quarters and were able to coast to an easy victory at home.

Jade Schultz led the Wildcats pouring in a game-high 17 points on the night. Allie DeRocher finished with 10 points, Jenna Leeck added seven points and Edie Zann chipped in with seven points off the bench and all but one player on the Alpena roster cracked the scoring column in the victory.

“It was a big confidence booster for all of them to get in the game and play in some spots and just to get some good, quality playing time,” Andrews said.

Alpena will return to the court on Friday when it will travel to Cadillac for a tough Big North Conference test against the Vikings who are 3-0 in BNC play.

“Cadillac is the team to beat and we knew that coming in,” Andrews said. “I think we match up with them pretty well so we’ll see how it goes on Friday. It’s nice to have this confidence booster heading into a big conference game.”

The Alpena JV also had no trouble with Ogemaw on Monday, winning by a score of 49-19.

Meeghan Tessmer led the way with 14 points and Kameron Schultz added eight points.

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BOX SCORE: Field goals made/Free-throws made/Free-throws attempted/Total points

ALPENA (57): A. DeRocher, 4 1-3 10; E. Clarke, 1 0-0 2; M. Dickinson, 1 0-1 2; T. Baker, 0 1-2 1; J. Schultz, 8 1-2 17; J. Leeck, 4 0-0 8; A. Urlaub, 2 0-0 5; E. Zann, 3 1-2 7; A. Trelfa, 1 0-0 2; A. Young, 1 1-4 3.

OGEMAW-HEIGHTS (22): M. Meier, 2 0-0 6; L. Hodgins, 1 1-2 3; A. Beck, 0 3-4 3; R. Peace, 1 2-2 4; S. Wright, 2 0-3 4.