Ance, Petoskey roll past Wildcats

Kelsey Ance and Megan Tompkins haven’t been kind to opposing defenses this season in helping the Petoskey’s girls basketball team become the team to beat in the Big North Conference.

Alpena became the latest victim on Friday as Petoskey’s senior duo combined for 40 points as the Northmen rolled to a 62-24 win over the Wildcats at Alpena High School.

Petoskey (9-2, 5-1 Big North) got off to a fast start thanks to the efforts to the efforts of Ance and Tompkins and overcame some early foul trouble to win the game. Ance finished with 24 points to lead the Northmen and Tompkins had 16 points and blocked six shots.

“They cut well to the middle of the court and found each other on several occasions. They share the ball really well with each other and they’ve been doing so for four years,” Petoskey coach Adam Dobrowolski said.

The duo combined for 11 points in the first quarter before Ance picked up her second foul in the final minute of the period and sat for almost the next four minutes. The Northmen didn’t have much to worry about though as their bench players came through with big shots to extend Petoskey’s lead.

“They’re just a good team. They killed us on the boards. A lot of their first half points were on putbacks,” Alpena coach Jenny Poli said. “They have solid defense, you look at some of their scores and they’re holding people under 20 points (a game).”

Ance didn’t wait long to get going again offensively when she re-entered the game in the second quarter. She scored five points to give Petoskey a 25-4 lead with 3:57 to go and scored another basket on a putback after a missed free throw.

Alpena (2-7, 1-5 Big North) struggled against a swarming Petoskey defense and couldn’t get much by Tompkins, who used her 6-3 frame to force the Wildcats to throw up contested shots and blocked several of the ones Alpena threw up.

Christina Kollien finally broke through Petoskey’s defense in the last 91 seconds of the half, using her speed to come up with a couple of steals and scored six points in that span to cut Petoskey’s lead to 19 headed into halftime. Petoskey led 31-12 at the half.

“Alpena finished the first half with a good amount of intensity. I didn’t feel that we matched that for the last two minutes of the half,” Dobrowolski said. “We weren’t going to ease up based the score because we knew Alpena was going to continue to play hard.”

Kollien led Alpena with 12 points.

Once the second half began, the game turned into the Ance and Tompkins Show as the duo scored 19 points in the third quarter. The Northmen outscored Alpena 26-8 in the period and led 57-20 at the end of it. Kollien sank two shots early in the period, but the Wildcats couldn’t do much to slow Petoskey down, particularly Ance who seemed to single-handedly outrebound and outscore Alpena.

“We packed it into a 2-3 (zone) and she really didn’t kill us getting the ball on offense, she killed us by rebounding,” Poli said of Ance.

A total team effort has helped keep the Northmen at the top of the conference and Dobrowolski was glad to see his team respond after a big win over Traverse City Central on Monday.

“We came off a good win on Monday. We played really well together as a team and that was our goal: to come out with energy, play unselfishly, make the extra pass if we needed to and I felt we accomplished that,” Dobrowolski said.

Alpena’s JV team won 46-41 to improve to 4-5 on the year. Jen Mainville led the Wildcats with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Taylor Allen also reached double figures, scoring 16 points.

Alpena’s freshman team also won 41-13 and everyone scored to contribute to the win. Mykayla Price led Alpena with 10 points, Samantha Szymanski had six and Lauren Heath had five.

PETOSKEY (62): Scholten 2 0-0 5; Tompkins 7 2-3 16; Fraser 2 0-1 4; Ance 10 1-1 24; Weaver 1 0-0 2; VanWerden 3 0-0 7; Abram-Craig 1 0-2 2; Blanchard 1 0-0 2.

ALPENA (24): Barkley 0 2-4 2; Milligan 0 4-6 4; Hatch 1 0-0 2; Trelfa 2 0-0 4; Kollien 6 0-0 12.