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Wildcats can’t find a rhythm in loss to Cadillac

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena’s Anna Young (23) attempts to drive by Cadillac’s Makayla Knight to the basket during the first half of a Big North Conference girls basketball game on Friday at Alpena High School.

An inability to get into a rhythm cost the Alpena High girls basketball team dearly on Friday.

Beset by free throw shooting troubles, struggles to finish at the basket and too many stops and starts, the Wildcats played well in spurts, but not enough to keep up with Cadillac in a 55-35 loss at home.

Alpena (10-7, 5-4 Big North Conference) got within striking a few times on Friday, but couldn’t close the gap enough to challenge for the lead. The Wildcats trailed by 14 at halftime, cut the lead to six early in the third quarter and gradually faded the rest of the way.

Cadillac held a 30-24 lead with 5:19 remaining in the third quarter, but the Vikings outscored Alpena 25-11 the rest of the way.

“We’d get in a run and then something would happen and we’d start over,” Alpena coach Erin Andrews said. “We did what we wanted to in shutting her (Molly Anderson) down, but (Makenna) Bryant stepped up for them.”

Bryant led Cadillac (17-1, 9-0 BNC) with 22 points and Olivia Meyer and Anderson added 13 points each. While Alpena was able to hold Anderson in check, Bryant and Meyer took turns leading the Vikings offensively. Bryant tallied eight points in the first quarter alone and added six points in each of the final two quarters.

Meyer had a quiet first quarter, but exploded onto the scene with 10 points in the second quarter, with all of those coming in the final five minutes.

Allie DeRocher paced Alpena with 11 points, Jade Schultz had eight and Jenna Leeck had seven.

Alpena stayed with Cadillac early and trailed just 12-10 after one quarter. The Wildcats cut the lead to four midway through the second quarter, but Meyer’s second-quarter heroics ultimately gave the Vikings a 30-16 halftime lead.

Alpena was just 3-for-11 from the charity stripe in the first half and 6-for-17 for the game.

“Free throws were a killer for us and every time we got in a rhythm something would just take us out of it, whether it was foul or who knows what; just something every time it seemed like,” Andrews said.

Some halftime adjustments allowed Alpena to get off to a fast start in the second half as DeRocher quickly scored and both she and Elyse Clark canned three-pointers, cutting the lead to six.

As quickly as that run happened however, it faded just as quickly. The Vikings closed the third quarter on an 11-2 run and and limited Alpena to three field goals in the final eight minutes.

Alpena returns to action on Monday and hosts Sault Ste. Marie at 7 p.m.

Cadillac defeated Alpena’s JV team 47-24. Maggie Kelly led Alpena with 10 points and Kameron Schultz had six.

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BOX SCORE: Field Goals Made/Free Throws Made/Free Throws Attempted/Total Points

CADILLAC (55): M. Anderson 3 7-11 13; M. Bryant 9 3-8 22; E. McTaggart 2 0-0 4; M. Knight 0 1-2 1; O. Meyer 5 0-0 13; J. Seeley 1 0-0 2.

ALPENA (35): A. DeRocher 4 2-5 11; E. Clarke 1 0-0 3; M. Dickinson 1 0-2 3; J. Schultz 4 0-0 8; J. Leeck 2 3-6 7; A. Urlaub 0 1-1 1; A. Young 1 0-1 2.

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