The wait is over

For the first time in nearly two months, the Alpena Community College women’s basketball team had a reason to celebrate after a game.

The Lumberjacks defeated Kirtland 68-50 on Saturday at Park Arena, ending a 12-game losing streak that stretched back to December.

ACC’s last win came on Dec. 17 against Mid-Michigan Community College at home.

Lauren Seibert scored 19 points and hit five first-half triples for the Lumberjacks (5-17, 1-12 MCCAA Eastern), who also earned their first conference win of the season.

“She was just letting it fly. I was impressed,” ACC coach Bobby Allen said. “I think she played a real good game. Coming into the second half, she wasn’t looking to score, she was looking to pass and that’s what makes her a good basketball player.”

Down 32-27 at the half, Kirtland (5-13, 1-10 MCCAA Eastern) pulled to within four in the first minute of the second half, but never really challenged ACC after that and the Lumberjacks held a double-digit lead for most of the period.

Displaying some of its most consistent offense all season, ACC shot 61 percent from the field and hit nine treys. The Lumberjacks blew the game open with a 21-7 run in the first 10 minutes of the second half to take a commanding 54-34 lead.

Playing with only five players, the Firebirds found success early from beyond the arc, hitting three triples in the first five minutes, but eventually ran out of gas while the Lumberjacks used their depth to great effect, getting some impressive minutes from the likes of Katie Wollan, Whitney Frazier and Ashleigh Monticello among others.

“The ladies did a good job today,” Allen said. “They didn’t play down to the five girls like they did when we played them (down) there and I think they came out ready to play.”

Frazier scored 11 points and Wollan added eight.

At times, the first half turned into a three-point shootout as both teams combined for ten treys. Kirtland got going early and used three straight triples to jump out to a lead it held for the better part of the half. Depth and Seibert’s hot shooting eventually put the Lumberjacks ahead for good.

With the Firebirds leading 22-17, Seibert hit a triple and Allison Burley hit two free throws to knot the score with 5:28 to play. Seibert sank two more treys before half and Burley and Amy Nowak added baskets to put ACC ahead at halftime.

Tara Throop led Kirtland with 24 points and Tasha Crouse added 14.

Kirtland hit ten three-pointers for the game, but found itself settling for a lot of shots from beyond the arc as the game wore on. ACC’s defensive pressure often forced the Firebirds to take contested shots and although Kirtland hit five treys in the second half, many of its long-range attempts missed the mark completely.

Ending their losing streak was a big relief to the Lumberjacks, which saw games lost by as few as four points and as many as 60 during their skid. Despite the win, Allen is confident his team has the ability to play even better.

“In terms of wins, I’ll say yes because we got the monkey off our back, but they can play better than that,” Allen said. “Our record shouldn’t be one and whatever, but it is what it is. We dug ourselves a hole and we’re going to dig ourselves out and continue to play better.”

ACC plays at Schoolcraft on Wednesday and returns home at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday against Henry Ford in a Hoops for Hope pink game.

ALPENA (68): Smith 1 0-0 3; Seibert 6 2-2 19; Monticello 3 0-0 6; Frazier 4 1-2 11; Burley 2 3-6 8; A. Nowak 2 1-1 5; Wollan 4 0-0 8; E. Nowak 2 2-2 6; Hipkins 1 0-0 2.

KIRTLAND (50): Ostojic 3 0-2 7; Throop 8 4-6 24; Szubelak 1 0-0 2; Ryckman 1 0-0 3; Crouse 4 2-2 14