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Life throws Swami a curve ball

Life is a constant test to see how individuals react. Last Thursday, Swami arrived early for the girls games at Alpena High, everything was in perfect order, so he thought. Running the clock down before the start of the junior varsity game, he noticed a two minute clock appearing on the screen. He didn’t give it a second thought, setting the clock and starting the way he always has done. It wasn’t until he went to put points on the board, nothing appeared, but in fouls position a 2 appeared. Right then and there, he realized he was in for a rough time for the next eight minutes. Coaches, referees and fans questioned what was going on. He told both coaches at the end of the quarter, it would be rectified, life had just thrown him a big curve that he couldn’t handle. Luckily, ticket manager Paul Zolnierek was close by, to enter the correct code for basketball and not wrestling. Life was back to normal, so was his blood pressure.

So now he knows what athletes go through when their game goes south. A little help from the coach helps the athlete through the tough time. Hopefully this weekend, doesn’t have any curves Swami and basketball players can not navigate.

TRAVERSE CITY WEST (6-9) at ALPENA (9-7) – Thursday – (Boys) – Playing for pride and momentum, is what the Wildcats was hoping to do. The thought of competing for a Big North Conference title, went by the way side early. Now Alpena is preparing for the playoffs and the Titans might just be the team they could be playing, that is why this game is still of importance. The Wildcats might have bypassed the game with Ogemaw Heights looking forward and they paid the price dropping a 72-70 decision. The Wildcats would like nothing better then to avenge a 10 point loss in Traverse City. It was a game that Alpena could have very easily won, but the turnover ratio to made baskets was just too much to overcome.

The Titans were hoping the spring a second upset over league leader Cadillac, but fell short as Traverse City kept within striking distance the entire game. Patrick O’Connor had an exceptional game with 12, Carson Whipple added 11, and Garret Schuler was limited to seven. The Titans big guns Luke Robertson and Parker Neu had off nights finishing with six.

For the most part the wins that the Wildcats have accumulated have not been pretty. Such was the case against Gaylord, clinging to a two point lead after three quarters, Alpena relied on the charity stripe to garner a nine point win. Jack Schmanski led the way with 15 points, while Cooper Bright and Ryan Voltz added 11. The Wildcats could not stand prosperity after getting off to a 4-0 start, but as of late it has been a rollercoaster ride for sure, as witnessed against the Falcons.

Swami Sez: Traverse City West 65, Alpena 59.

CADILLAC (16-1) at ALPENA (10-6) – Friday – (Girls) – The Wildcats need this game to stay in second place and to play spoiler in the Big North Conference. The Vikings have secured the conference championship would like nothing but continue those ways. Alpena needs a win to not fall back in a tie for second.

The Wildcats find different ways to win as Swami saw first hand against Traverse City West. For three quarters, it looked like the Titans had figured out a way to keep the Wildcats from the basket. The Wildcats keep fans on the edge of their seats, because on any given pass could have gotten picked off. Alpena saved the best for the last quarter, a 30 point explosion, a far cry from the 27 they had put up through three quarters. Senior Jade Schultz and Allie DeRocher led the way in the second half with 15 points each, while Allie Urlaub finished with 10 points, all coming in the final quarter. Then came Tuesday night, the Wildcats received a reprieve as the scheduled game against Sault Ste. Marie was cancelled due to weather. If the first meeting was any indication of the outcome would have been, the Blue Devils might have taken an easy win.

Cadillac secured its second straight conference championship with 55-46 win over Petoskey. Molly Anderson was in the groove hitting for 27 points, Joslyn Seeley and Anna Whipple finished in single digits with 6. The Vikings asserted their patented full court press and half court defense that led them to the win. Alpena found out how air tight the Vikings defense is, in a double digit loss earlier in the season. Playing two top notch teams in one week, the Wildcats will find out if they progressed or regressed. Swami is hoping it is the first, as the Wildcats need some momentum going into the playoffs.

Swami Sez: Cadillac 59, Alpena 45.

ALCONA (7-9) at ATLANTA (6-8) – Friday – (Boys) – Three games in five days, is exactly what the Huskies needed, in hopes of improving their record. Atlanta had little trouble in disposing Charleton Heston on Monday, thanks to 32 point performance by Zach Roux, in addition to gathering 21 rebounds. Roux’s counterpart Aaron Cuzzort finished off the night with 20 points, as the two accounted for three quarters of the Husky total. Wednesday, the Husky contingent were to play Fairview, a team they handled easily on the Eagles home court. With a win Atlanta would firmly place themselves in the fourth position of the Little Dipper Division of the North Star Conference.

Alcona has fourth place locked up in the Big Dipper Division, the only thing the Tigers can improve on is their overall record. The Tigers have had a full week to prepare for the Huskies. Their last action was against Rogers City and were able to take an exciting low scoring 40-38 game. Dominic Howe tilted the scales for the Tigers hitting a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left, lifting him to a double digit finish with 11.

Swami has little to go on as this is the only meeting the two will have this season. The Husky offense has come alive the last handful of games, which makes them a threat in any game. Meanwhile, the Tigers have had difficulties in stringing together more than two wins in succession and could be in the same position again tonight. Maybe a string of three will be a good omen for the Tigers going forward.

Swami Sez: Alcona 50, Atlanta 46.

JOHANNESBURG-LEWISTON (10-6) at ONAWAY (8-8) – Thursday – (Girls) – One of the most evenly matched conferences is the Ski Valley, case in point, between JoBurg and Onaway. Both come in with identical conference records, the winner will move from a tie for fourth, to a tie for third, while the other will be a game behind. The top two exchange positions from week-to-week.

JoBurg split two Ski Valley games this past week, a loss to league leading Bellaire and taking care of business against Inland Lakes. The Cardinals had put together a three game winning streak against conference foes, before the loss to Bellaire. The Cardinals are a relatively young team, with freshmen Jocelyn Tobias, Layla Gascho have played big roles for Johannesburg. Sharpshooting sophomores Kennedy Johnson and Sydney Townsend have led the Cardinals to a winning season, add in the leadership of Tara Madej leading to a team that can beat anyone on any given night.

Onaway is looking to break a three game loosing streak, one they did not need at this point of the season. Breya Domke, Jillian Chaskey and sisters Taylor and Nicole Larson are out the break the streak. The three losses have come at the hands of the top three in the conference. Swami knows Onaway would like nothing better then to leap frog over Johannesburg, if nothing else for bragging rights. With a win, the All-Knowing-One says momentum would be on the side of Onaway come playoff time.

Swami Sez: Johannesburg-Lewiston 54, Onaway 47.

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