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Keeping cool is easier said than done

In the heat of battle tensions can run high, especially for the losing team. Swami recently saw a college basketball game that ended in a brawl with both benches emptying and tempers flaring. Kudos to the referees for sending both benches to the locker room and calling a two-shot technical foul.

At the end of it all, one point was added to the winning team’s score and Swami wonders what the point of the fighting was. What did it accomplish?Absolutely nothing. Both teams will likely have suspensions handed down anyway. Swami thinks athletes need to be more gracious in defeat and modest in victory.

The All-Knowing-One hasn’t seen this at the high school level, nor does he ever want to see it. A highly contested game might see tensions run high, but cooler heads often prevail.

Let’s see if Swami can stay hot with his picks and avoid cooling down.

TRAVERSE CITY CENTRAL (2-8) at ALPENA (6-4)–Friday–(Girls)–Alpena usually struggles against the Traverse City schools, but Alpena should have the advantage here. The Trojans are ripe for the picking and seem to be having a down year.

Coming off back-to-back wins, the Wildcats are improving with every outing. In order to continue their upward trend, senior Jade Schultz must continue to be a force inside. The Wildcats are currently sitting in a three way for second place in the Big North Conference and oddly enough the Trojans are one of those teams as they have two conference wins. Schultz came through again in leading the Wildcats over Tawas on Tuesday. Alpena also had a big night from Allie DeRocher with 16 points, 10 of which came from the charity stripe.

Swami has seen Alpena’s bench players come in and not miss a beat, especially Allison Urlaub. With half season to go, they must continue to be consistent and show improvement if Alpena is to finish strong.

The Trojans’ record does not reflect the quality of competition they have played. Six of Central’s seven losses have come against downstate powerhouses. That should prepare the Trojans for the postseason. Central’s defense has been switched from a zone after the half court press, to an intense man-to-man. The pressure has enabled their offense to come alive. Carina Stewart has become a double digit scorer, along with Sadie Zann.    

For the Wildcats to be effective, they must loosen up that man-to-man and hit shots from outside to be able to go inside. The All-Knowing-One knows it can happen if the Wildcats get into the proper mindset.

Swami Sez: Alpena 59, Traverse City Central 49.

ALPENA (5-4) at BAY CITY JOHN GLENN (7-2)–Thursday–(Boys)–The Wildcats hit the road again after a brief home stand and getting a win is going to be a tough task.

Bay City John Glenn has lost to Mount Pleasant and Freeland, but Swami says Alpena will have no room for a subpar effort. The Bobcats have certainly come a long way from last year’s 5-15 record.

The biggest difference for the Bobcats has been the ability to hit beyond the arc. In a game earlier this year against Alcona, Gabriel Wallaker hit nine shots from the long line and Quincy Almond has also kept up a double digit average. The Bobcats do not yearn for shooters as Rory O’Hare, Jaden Clobes, Connor Bluhm and Derrek Clyde can heat up at a moment’s notice.

The Wildcats faced all sorts of obstacles last Friday against Cadillac and couldn’t overcome the Vikings. The Wildcats were within striking distance after three quarters, but the wheels came off in the fourth quarter and offense proved hard to come by.

The Wildcats looked better on Tuesday against Petoskey, but still lost due to poor free throw shooting and missed opportunities. Jack Schmanski led the Alpena charge with 18 and Kelley Stark added 16.

Swami Sez: Bay City John Glenn 63, Alpena 58.

ATLANTA (4-5) at ROGERS CITY (5-3)–Thursday–(Boys)–It is a battle of two middle-of-the-pack North Star League teams.

The Hurons have strung together four straight wins after starting out 1-3. The Hurons have done the little things needed to produce wins like converting free throws down the stretch and playing solid defense. Against Alcona last week, Rogers City did both, turning a tight game into a 14-point win. Nick Freel had 17 points to lead the Huron attack, along with double digit games from Cam Stretch, JD Ellenberger and Lewis Fleming.

Atlanta has had a little bit of rollercoaster season, but has played well in several games. Against Hale last week, Joe Kimmerer and the Eagles were too much to handle. Trenton Whitt and Zach Roux did what they could to keep Atlanta in the contest, but it was to no avail. Whitt finished with an 18-point performance and Roux cashed in for 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

The same could be said of Monday’s game against Oscoda as the Huskies were held in check despite eight points, 11 rebounds and five blocks from Roux.

Swami Sez:  Rogers City 48, Atlanta 40.

HILLMAN (7-3) at ALCONA (6-3)–Friday–(Girls)–Hillman is in a dead heat for the top spot in Little Dipper, while Alcona is in the mix in the Big Dipper.

Last week, Alcona had little trouble with Rogers City as Anna Loyer scored 11 and Kelsey Hansen added 10 points. Defense allowed the Tigers to gain the upper hand early and a balanced scoring attack made things easy in the victory.

Alcona duplicated its effort against Fairview on Tuesday in a 62-36 win. The Tigers built an early lead and kept building it as Liz Henderson poured in 23 before ending her night early. Rachel Layton finished in double figures with 12, while Megan Grove added 10.

Hillman was rolling along before last week’s loss to Posen. The Vikings’ defense was their best offense, limiting Bailey Schook to a single basket, while Julia Taratuta was limited to 12 points.

Hillman had a week to lick its wounds and get back on a winning track. If one team can figure out a way to shut down Hillman’s offense, Swami is sure there are other teams that follow the same format. Schook is the leader of the Tigers on both ends, but Hillman will need other players to step up offensively.

The All-Knowing-One thinks this game will be close, but feels the trade off from position players is very minimal. Alcona might have the slight edge as far as competition and holds the home court advantage too.

Swami Sez:  Alcona 49, Hillman 46.