It was Parents Night for the Alpena boys basketball team on Tuesday and the Wildcats must have wanted to show their parents a great game.
Fans and players alike experienced some high-flying action and on-court drama for the Wildcats’ last home game of the regular season against Standish, which saw Alpena win 67-47 at Alpena High School.
Impressively, it is the Wildcats’ seventh win in a row.
“I think we’ve really gotten into a groove in these last ten games. We’ve seen a lot of improvement from a lot of players and a lot more sharing on the offense,” Alpena coach John Pintar said.
A tight first half exploded into a third quarter streak that saw Alpena come ahead by 20 points.
Alpena (15-4) seemed to begin the game sluggishly, letting Standish come with two points of taking the lead in the first quarter while hanging tight in the second quarter to a 35-28 lead.
But an explosive stretch by Luke Cordes pushed Alpena through the third quarter. He hit two shots in the first 40 seconds of the period and was also essential for big offensive rebounds and for setting up plays with his fellow players.
Also key to third quarter success was Tyler Pintar who played a strong offensive and defensive game. Pintar stuck to his opponents like glue defensively, but a harsh fall to the floor in the third quarter took him out for the game with a bloodied and swelling nose.
Cordes continued an impressive scoring streak into the fourth quarter, hitting three treys and a field goal to make him the night’s leading scorer with 25 points.
“It’s definitely a great feeling, a bit surreal actually, to be playing my last home game tonight and to play like I did. Hopefully it won’t be our last home game. If we win districts, we’ll be back,” Cordes said.
Also key to the Wildcats’ second half push was the play of Kam Fitzek, who snatched vital defensive rebounds to upset Standish play while scoring eight points in the second half and 14 points overall.
This second half push was in marked contrast to the first half. Alpena played well but Standish kept pace most of the half. The first three minutes were filled with back and forth scoring including a three-pointer from Standish’s Nate Moore.
Pintar was key keeping the Cats moving in the first half. He scored 11 of his 12 points in the first half including a big trey that put Alpena up 13-9 in the first quarter.
The second quarter saw more focused, aggressive play from Alpena.
“I thought it took awhile for us to get going. The second quarter saw us gelling a bit better, hitting better shots and playing better as a team,” Pintar said.
Alpena led 33-22 with a minute left in the first half, but back to back treys by Standish narrowed the lead a little, in spite of a last minute Brad Styma basket, which gave the Cats a 35-28 advantage.
In the end, a slow first half didn’t matter for a Wildcats team that has been riding a serious winning streak.
“Lately it just seems we’ve been riding on a great groove and moving well as a team. We’re getting really excited for playoffs. We think if we keep playing like this we got a good chance to go far,” Cordes said.
The Cats play their last regular season game at Ogemaw Heights on Thursday.
Tuesday was also a big night for Alpena’s JV team as they won 56-20. Everybody on the team scored, but Eli Martin led with 16 points while Cody Tucker had 12. Their record is now 16-3 and they remain undefeated at home this season.
The freshman team got overtaken in overtime 58-48. Braedon Werth was the leading scorer with 11 points while Kolin Ghidoni had 10 and Joe Ayala had nine.
Alpena (67): J. Kendziorski 1-0-0-3: A. Marwede 1-0-0-2: T. Pintar 5-1-4-12: B. Styma 3-2-2-8: K. Smith 1-1-2-3: K. Fitzek 6-2-4-14: L. Cordes 10-2-3-25.
Standish (47): B. Katterman 1-2-2-5: N. Moore 1-0-0-3: J. Mitrzyk 9-2-2-20: J. Adams 1-0-0-2: S. Malcom 1-0-0-2: G. Fitzgerald 1-0-0-2: C. Walderzak 3-5-8-11: D. Potocki 1-0-0-2.