When it cuts down on mistakes, the Alpena girls basketball team has shown that it can be quite competitive this season.
But when the young Wildcats make several mistakes during a game, the results haven’t turned out in their favor.
Such was the case on Thursday as turnovers and a severe lack of offense plagued the Wildcats in a 57-34 loss to Cadillac in a Big North contest at Alpena High School.
The Wildcats (2-5) only hit double digits in one quarter and had scoring droughts that lasted at least three and a half minutes in each period, including three that were four minutes or longer.
Throw in a swarming Cadillac defense and it made for a long night for the Wildcats.
“They’re number one in the Big North and we knew we’d be in for a battle. That’s probably the most pressure we’ve seen all year, we haven’t had pressure really get to us,” Alpena coach Jenny Poli said.
Ami Milligan led Alpena with eight points and Christina Kollien added seven.
Alyssa Fisher and Mary Emington led the Vikings with eight points each.
Alpena didn’t net its first points of the game until there was 3:18 remaining in the first quarter, Cadillac scored the next six points to take a 15-4 lead and led 15-9 at the end of the period.
One of Alpena’s few highlights of the night came with a few seconds left in the quarter when Kollien raced down the floor, pulled up and hit a triple as the buzzer sounded.
The Wildcats’ offensive woes continued into the second quarter as the Wildcats failed to score for the first 4:13 of the period while the Vikings went on a 9-0 run. Milligan cut the lead to 10, 26-16 with 2:01 left, but Cadillac held Alpena scoreless the rest of the way and led 32-16 at the half.
Poli said her team will have to learn to cut down on mistakes, but did some some positive things during the game.
“We’re young in backcourt, but I saw some positive things too. There were little things there that said we’ve improved but that would snowball into four of five bad things and the score would run up,” Poli said.
The Wildcats got off to a fast start with two buckets to open the third quarter, but fell into another lull until there was just 1:33 remaining in the period. Defensively, Alpena limited the Vikings to just four points over a more than four-minute stretch. Alpena pulled to within 11 points with 1:07 left, 35-24, but once again Cadillac finished the quarter strong, scoring six points to take a 41-24 lead.
Though they were already firmly ahead, the Vikings effectively iced the game during a three and a half minute stretch in the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run as Alpena fell silent again.
“We tried to chip away and then one (mistake) turned into another and another and they capitalized on it. They’re a good team,” Poli said.
Alpena’s JV team beat Cadillac 32-20. Jordan Modrzynski led the Wildcats with eight points and Taylor Allen and Rachel Zolnierek each had seven.
Alpena’s freshmen team also won 29-17. Samantha Szymanski led Alpena with seven points and Caitlynn Ozuris added six.
CADILLAC (57): McLaurin 2 0-0 4; Fuller 3 0-0 7; Fisher 3 2-2 8; Emington 4 1-1 9; Agren 4 0-0 8; Golnick 1 5-6 7; H. Baker 2 3-3 7; M. Baker 1 0-0 2; Kurtzman 2 1-2 5.
ALPENA (34): Barkley 1 0-1 2; Talbot 2 0-0 4; Strong 1 0-0 2; Lay 1 0-0 2; Milligan 3 1-2 8; Teff 1 0-0 3; Hatch 1 0-0 2; Trelfa 2 0-0 4; Kollien 2 1-2 7.