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Swami still going strong

Swami’s first column first appeared some 36 years ago and he never thought it would still be going today.

The idea was the brainchild of a young sports editor named Rodney Hart, who presented it as a preview of four upcoming games; that later turned into also predicting the outcomes. The All-Knowing-One was recently asked why he still writes and the answer is simple: he still enjoys giving area athletes some ink and promoting local athletics.

It seems like yesterday the All-Knowing-One was working on the first weekend of football, now there is approximately three weeks of basketball left. So with that in mind, Swami says every athlete should enjoy every moment and soak up the memories while they can.

Let’s see how this weeks predictions will turn out:

ALPENA (8-6) at GAYLORD (1-10)–Friday–(Boys)–The Wildcats are looking to stay out of the Big North Conference basement and the only way to do that is to win.

Alpena has a 7-1 non-conference record, but that doesn’t sit well with the Wildcats. They know they have to right the ship to gain momentum going into the playoffs.

Gaylord’s lone win came against Cheboygan on Jan. 29 and their best chance for a BNC win was against Traverse City West as Gaylord only lost by four. Playing tight defense gave the Blue Devils a chance against West, but the defense relaxed in the fourth quarter and Gaylord lost 59-55.

Carson Gahm led Gaylord with 17 points, Kyler McKenzie added 13 and Corey Deer also reached double figures.

Cold free throw shooting doomed Alpena down the stretch with Petoskey last week. Added together with some poor shooting from the field and some mistakes it marked another loss for Alpena.

Kelley Stark once again led the Wildcats with 16, Cooper Bright and Jordan Schultz added 13 and Jack Schmanski rounded out the double digit scoring with 11.

Swami Sez: Alpena 64, Gaylord 48.

TRAVERSE CITY WEST (5-11) at ALPENA (9-6)–Thursday–(Girls)–This is a game Alpena has to have if they want to hang on to second place in the conference standings. The Wildcats own a tight 38-36 win over West, but the Titans also have three conference wins.

The Wildcats avenged an early overtime loss to Gaylord last week, taking a 45-31 decision. Jade Schultz came up big for the Wildcats with 21 points. Alpena may have found a defensive specialist in Anna Young, limiting Savannah Gapinski to only three points. A win tonight would also put the Wildcats back on a winning track after a loss to Bay City Western on Tuesday.

The Titans couldn’t get their offense in gear last week against Cadillac. The Titans were limited to single digit scoring in each quarter and West is still searching for consistent offense.

The All-Knowing-One believes if the Wildcats can get their offense running early, there should be no trouble in securing the win.

Swami Sez: Alpena 49, Traverse City West 44.

ROGERS CITY (4-12) at ALCONA (11-4)–Thursday–(Girls)–In this Big Dipper division matchup of the North Star League, Rogers City is hoping to escape the basement, while the Tigers are looking to stay in contention for first place.

An upset win by the Hurons would give them hope before districts. Rogers City hung in with Oscoda last week for three quarters, but the Owls finally got by them with a strong third quarter. The Hurons had an outstanding performance from Karissa Rabeau, who scored 11 points against a very tough defense. Kyrsten Altman and Kyley LaFleche added nine points each.

Alcona had a chance to beat Oscoda Monday and gave the Owls a close game before losing 41-34. Kelsey Hansen pumped in 14 points, while Anna Loyer added 11 for Alcona.

Swami says either this game will be over early or the Hurons will play with another inspired effort. If the Hurons can keep things close, the All-Knowing-One has to say there is a real chance for an upset.

Swami Sez: Alcona 50, Rogers City 40.

ONAWAY (2-10) at GAYLORD ST. MARY (10-2)–Friday–(Boys)–This game has two teams at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Onaway hoping to build momentum coming off a 77-69 victory over Central Lake; a game in which the Cardinals overcame a huge deficit in the first quarter.

The Cardinals rode the hot shooting hand of Spencer Nash, who came up with a career high of 25 points. Nash enabled Onaway to take a half time lead on the strength of five three-pointers in the second quarter, before finishing the game with seven. The second quarter saw the Cardinals settle into an offensive groove and play stiff defense. Swami is anxious to see if the Cardinal momentum will carry over tonight.

The Snowbirds may have taken the earlier meeting by 15 points, but the game was a lot closer then the point spread. The Cardinals moved the ball and continued to improve as the game went on. St. Mary likes the up-tempo offensive pace, but on this night they were slowed. Swami says if the Cardinals can do the same again tonight and carry the same deliberate pace, they could possibly upset the Snowbirds. 

Even with an impressive record, St. Mary still finds itself a game behind Ski Valley leader Pellston, with a handful of games to go. If Onaway can string together a couple of conference wins, they could move up in the standings. If they can spring the big upset it would go along way in achieving that goal.

Swami Sez: Gaylord St. Mary 58, Onaway 42.

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