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Swami sees a big difference

What a difference a year makes. Last year, Swami was taking up residency at Alpena High in February after snow and icy roads backed up the basketball schedule. This year is completely different. Swami had just one home games this week and plenty of extra time, though that figures to change by the time he gets home.

There’s enough time for winter to still wreck havoc and sickness has done that around the area this week. But Swami should really enjoy his time off and let the honey-do-list get longer. There will be plenty of time in the spring to do everything.

ALPENA (8-5) at GAYLORD (4-10)–Friday –(Girls)–Just when the Wildcats were looking to get a winning streak going, Petoskey stepped in the way. Alpena beat Petoskey by more than 20 points in mid January, but the Northmen had other ideas and won the rematch last week.

Alpena did a chance to get its legs underneath it with a 46-39 win over Cheboygan on Tuesday. Swami hopes the win will give the Wildcats the momentum needed to get a valuable conference win after they lost to Gaylord in overtime in December.

Gaylord has had a rash of injuries, but the Blue Devils still have Savanna Gapinski. She has been their spark plug on both ends of the floor. Her ability to get the 3-point shot off with a hand in her face is solid and she also passes well and is able to cut inside for buckets.

If the Wildcats are to finish the season strong, it has to start with this game.

Jade Schultz has had a good season, but too often in losses Alpena hasn’t had consistent secondary scoring. The All-Knowing-One believes the Wildcats will get on track offensively and put forth the effort needed to win.

Swami Sez: Alpena 57, Gaylord 51.

ALPENA (7-5) at PETOSKEY (8-3)–Friday–(Boys)–With only five Big North Conference games left, the Wildcats have no room for error if they want to avoid a last-place finish.

Tonight’s game might just be the toughest on Alpena’s remaining schedule. In the first matchup between the two teams, the inability to hit the big shot, free throws and miscues worked against Alpena. The Northmen have strung together six straight wins and are looking to make Alpena number seven. Their only stumbling block conference has been Cadillac, placing them in a tie for first place in the BNC.

Last Friday, the Wildcats did everything right in the first half against Traverse City Central, before a cold shooting start to the second half and the 3-point shooting of the Trojans quickly turned an 11 point lead into a deficit. Jordan Schultz led the way for the Alpena with 14, in addition to 12 coming from Kelley Stark.

The Wildcats look unbeatable at times, but other times mental mistakes cost them. Another deterrent to the Wildcats’ success has been the inability to win a conference game on the road. If the Wildcats are to do it tonight, they need a solid four quarters. Air tight defense and a strong shooting performance must be what the Wildcats must be shooting for.

All Alpena has to do is what the coaches ask of them: play hard and have fun. The rest will come.

Swami Sez: Petoskey 62, Alpena 58.

ROGERS CITY (8-4) at OSCODA (12-0)–Friday–(Boys)–The Hurons have been coming on like gang busters and are hoping to test an Oscoda team that hasn’t really been tested. A win tonight by the Hurons coupled with monumental win over Mio on Tuesday could close the gap between them and the Owls.

The Hurons have found ways to pick up wins and did so this week. On Monday, Rogers City beat Onaway behind 22 points from Nick Freel and 18 from J.D. Ellenberger. On Tuesday, Rogers City upped the ante to beat Mio. Freel led the way with his sixth straight 20 point game. Cameron Streich added 14 and Ellenberger garnered 13. The three contributed to 75% of the Hurons’ offense. To control the Owls–who have been averaging 72 points per contest–every Huron have to be at the top of his game.

Oscoda faced Tawas on Tuesday and took care of business, soundly defeating the Braves 79-51. Owen Franklin canned 21, Brayden Mallak had 18 and Gabe Kellstrom completed the double digit scorers with 11.

Swami Sez: Oscoda 68, Rogers City 55.

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