Offense leads the way

After a tough loss to Cadillac last Friday, the Alpena boys basketball team needed a confidence boosting win.

The Wildcats got one on Tuesday with a 86-52 win over Cheboygan that saw Luke Cordes hit 30 points.

“It’s great to get this kind of win. The boys posted the ball well offensively and had some excellent defensive steals,” Alpena coach John Pintar said.

Cheboygan struck first with a field goal by Ben Pearson just under a minute into the game. Andy Marwede answered back with a three-pointer 20 seconds later to give Alpena the lead before Pearson answered back with his own triple seven seconds later.

Cordes was able to take back the lead for Alpena 20 seconds later with a three and a free throw that took the game to 7-5. Alpena never relinquished its lead in a quarter that saw them take a 20-13 lead against the struggling Chiefs.

The Chiefs struggled to hit lay-ups and free throws as Alpena’s press pushed hard, with Tyler Pintar getting several steals that opened up Alpena scoring opportunities.

Many of these scoring opportunities came to Cordes who scored a trey, three field goals and four of six free throws in the opening quarter, including a drunk that got the crowd on its feet.

The second quarter saw a re-energized Chiefs team, outscore the Wildcats 7-4 in the first two and a half minutes to narrow the spread to 24-20. However, increased defensive pressure by the Wildcats and bad shots dried up Cheboygan’s offense until Jordan Fontaine hit a free throw with 30 seconds left.

Alpena answered back with 16 points including a strong offensive push by Marwede, Cordes and Kam Fitzek. Increased offensive combined with the defensive strengths of Pintar and Cordes helped Alpena end the half up 40-21.

“Luke did a good job tonight at getting low and snagging the ball on rebounds. This opened up a lot of second chance scoring opportunities,” Pintar said.

The third quarter saw Alpena continue to assert dominance in the game as the Wildcats took complete control of rebounding offensively and defensively. Cordes continued to score heavily as Pintar and Marwede continued to assert plenty of defensive strength.

Cheboygan’s defense may have struggled to keep up with the Wildcats but the Chiefs’ shooting stayed strong. They hit four threes in the third quarter as well as four field goals to end the period with 18 points.

It wasn’t enough to catch the wild ‘Cats as they scored 26 points to take a 66-39 lead after the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was more of the same for both teams. Alpena continued to lead in rebounds while scoring consistently. Alpena bench players such such as Gavin Aikens and Ethan Crowell got a chance to play in the fourth quarter as well.

The Chiefs didn’t let up against the Wildcats, but Alpena was able to keep its lead in a slow paced quarter. Alpena was still able to score 20 points while Cheboygan scored 13.

“We come into a situation often where we get a big lead in the first half and then take it easy in the second. The boys never stopped coming hard the whole game as they put the pedal to the metal to take the win,” Pintar said.

Alpena is now 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the Big North. The Wildcats travel to Petoskey on Friday.

The JV team also won 65-53. Scoring leaders include Eli Martin with 15 points and Dylan Hoes with 10 points. Caleb Myers led defensively with five steals.

Alpena (86): G. Aikens 2-0-0-5: J. Kendziorski 0-1-2-1: A. Marwede 7-1-2-16: T. Pintar 3-5-5-11: B. Styma 2-2-3-6: B. Hemmingson 1-2-2-4: K. Fitzek 3-3-4-9: E. Crowell 1-0-0-2: L. Cordes 11-7-10-30: Z. Barrett 1-0-0-2.

Cheboygan (52): L. Harrington 4-0-0-11: A. Dixon 1-0-0-3: B. Pearson 6-0-0-15: M. Schley 1-0-0-2: J. Fontaine 2-3-4-8: D. Proctor 3-0-4-7: N. Bevier 2-0-2-4: J. Schott 0-2-2-2.