ACC men end week on a good note with win over Firebirds

The Alpena Community College men’s basketball team needed a convincing win at home after a disappointing close-call-loss to St. Clair on Monday.

The Lumberjacks got it on Saturday with a 73-52 scrubbing of Kirtland at Park Arena.

Sean Berryman got things going for ACC (6-17, 3-10 MCCAA Eastern) 20 seconds into the game and the Lumberjacks put a lot of pressure on the Firebirds defensively, especially sophomore guard Shane Hentkowski.

Hentkowski broke up a lot of Kirtland’s offensive momentum and kept the Firebirds on their toes.

“We switched to a 2-3 zone for this game to avoid running into foul trouble,” ACC coach Frank McCourt said.

The Lumberjacks were also helped by star shooter Kharri Dailey who hit three three-pointers in a row to help ACC take an early 11-5 lead.

Kirtland struggled against the tight ACC defense, which included excellent rebounding by Berryman, Lavario Smith and Dailey.

The Firebirds were able to hit some solid shots including an early three from Kyle Oates, however, they continued to run into missed lay-ups and in-and-out shots that aggressive Lumberjacks rebounders helped avoid turning into second chances for Kirtland.

ACC strengthened its lead with a series of three pointers, including two more from Dailey who finished the night with 20 points.

Sharp shooting, focused offensive and aggressive, but clean defensive play gave the Lumberjacks a commanding 45-21 lead at the half.

The second half saw a bit of an offensive slowdown for ACC, but several of the Lumberjacks’ bench players came in and saw a fair amount of playing time. Strong play from Jake Strong, Cory Lamp, Justin MacGregor and Randy Wenzel showed that ACC has a deeper bench that many people may expect.

About six minutes into the half, the previously mentioned bench players came out and showed what they could do. Highlights of the half for these bench players included excellent rebounding from MacGregor and Strong as well as strong defense from Lamp who scored six second-half points.

Logan Wickert put in a typically strong offensive and defensive performance in spite of being sick the whole game.

“A lot of the players are sick. Logan played all night even though he didn’t feel great and he did a great job,” McCourt said.

Another highlight was a Wenzel three-pointer that stretched the lead to 73-48 with 50 seconds left to play. Wenzel’s three was especially exciting for the Lumberjacks because it meant that everybody on the team scored points in the win.

Kirtland’s Artem Moskin got the Firebirds going in the second half, scoring 10 points in the period, but eventually fouled out late in the game.

Kirtland’s Marcus Davis also contributed the Firebirds’ first trey of the half three minutes into the second half, which helped narrow ACC’s lead to 49-26.

The Firebirds put up a better offensive front in the second half with strong play by David Eaves and Alastair Cole narrowing the lead a little but it was a case of too-little-too-late as ACC finished with a final score of 73-52.

“We didn’t force a lot. We ran when they let us and when they didn’t set relaxed and set up some offense. This was an important game for us because if we can beat Macomb and Schoolcraft we might have a chance at getting into the playoffs,” McCourt said.

Alpena (73): K. Dailey 7-1-3-20: W. Gates Jr. 3-3-4-10: S. Berryman 3-2-2-8: L. Smith 4-3-3-12: S. Hentkowski 2-0-0-4: L. Wickert 2-0-0-4: C. Lamp 3-0-0-6: R. Wenzel 1-0-0-3: J. MacGregor 2-0-0-4: J. Strong 1-0-0-2.

Kirtland (52): K. Oates 1-0-0-3: A. Cole 6-1-3-13: A. Moskin 6-5-6-17: M. Davis 4-1-2-9: D. Eaves 4-2-4-10.