ACC men blow lead in loss to Skippers

The Alpena Community College men’s basketball team played one of its best halves of basketball on Monday against No. 5 St. Clair. By the end of the first half, the Lumberjacks were leading 39-30 .

But when the game was over, the Skippers came out on top 76-65, leaving ACC coach Frank McCourt a bit unhappy about his team’s performance.

“They thought there were a lot better than they were and they let it go to their head,” he said.

Strong play by Kharri Dailey and Lavario Smith helped ACC pull ahead early against a struggling Skipper offense. When ACC’s three-point specialist William Gates Jr. hit a triple five minutes into the game, he helped pull ACC ahead 11-7.

ACC’s Shane Hentkowski then had a five point scoring streak and Logan Wickert hit a trey with 10 minutes left in the first half to put ACC up 21-14.

St. Clair’s defense had a hard time adjusting to a fluent ACC offense as players hit the right spot and hit the right shots. Strong play by Dennis Hogan and Corey McKinney aside, the Skippers were simply unable to stop Hentkowski, Dailey and Lavario Smith as the half ended 39-30 with ACC ahead.

The second half seemingly featured two completely different teams. The Skippers came out quick, confidently hitting a lot of shots and hitting ACC hard with defense.

The Skippers’ press hit ACC hard and double teams on Smith and Dailey disrupted the flow of the Lumberjacks’ offense.

Slowly but surely, the Skippers pulled to a 44-44 tie with ACC with 14 minutes left to play.

ACC took a brief 48-44 lead, but St. Clair kept coming.

The turning point of the game came when St. Clair’s Deion Stegall hit two treys in under a minute to pull ahead 52-50.

This seemed to ignite the Skippers’ offense as they continued to push hard . Especially effective was Johnnie Mills who hit seven field goals and eight out of twelve free throws to lead St. Clair with 22 total points.

Offensive momentum simply didn’t fall ACC’s way as it grew increasingly energetic in its attempt to score.

“I told them at the half that they’d have to go out there in the second and play basketball. Instead, they came out and just stood around,” McCourt said.

St. Clair (76): J. Mills 7-8-12-22: K. Bradshaw 2-0-0-5: D. Stegall 4-1-3-12: D. Hogan 4-6-11-14: A. Shell 4-5-6-13: C. McKinney 1-4-4-6: B. Smith 1-2-4-4.

Alpena (65): K. Dailey 4-4-9-12: W. Gates Jr. 3-1-2-10: S. Berryman 3-2-2-8: L. Smith 5-4-7-14: S. Hentkowski 5-1-2-12: L. Wickert 2-0-0-5: C. Lamp 1-0-0-2: J. Strong 1-0-1-2.