Late mistakes hurt Alpena in loss to Traverse City Central at home

Mistakes at the wrong time proved to be the downfall of the Alpena girls basketball team on Friday.

With three quarters gone, the Wildcats found themselves tied at 21 with Traverse City Central. But when the final buzzer sounded, the Trojans walked away with a 42-34 Big North Conference victory after several errors by Alpena in the final quarter.

“In the second half, we seemed to get tight. Blame it on our youth, but Traverse City Central also extended their pressure and we didn’t make good decisions with the basketball,” Alpena coach Dan Arsenault said. “I thought we had a good effort, we just couldn’t put it together.”

It was a rough ending for the Wildcats (0-3, 0-2 Big North), who led 19-13 at the half after outscoring the Trojans 13-9 in the second quarter and held them scoreless for the better part of five minutes in the period.

Jenna Talbot led Alpena with 12 points and Alexis Smith added seven.

“In the first half, I thought we did a nice job defensively. Our intensity was good and we communicated well,” Arsenault said. “One of the things we’ve been trying to work on is limiting turnovers and we only had six in the first half.

Part of Alpena’s struggle at the end of the game was due to only scoring one basket in the third quarter, while Central outscored them 8-2. Mikhaila Shepler led the Trojans with 10 points, Taylor Cobb added nine points and Sierra Frazer chipped in with eight.

Alpena was still within striking distance in the final minutes of the game as Central led 36-30 with 2:30 left to play, but several errors allowed Central to pull further ahead and put the game out of reach.

Alpena trailed 6-4 after the first quarter, but took charge in the second quarter, outscoring the Trojans for the halftime lead.

The Wildcats will host Sault Ste. Marie on Tuesday.

Alpena’s JV team defeated Central 54-50. Alpena rallied from 10 points down before pulling ahead 51-50 with 2:47 left and sealed the win at the free throw line. Jordan Modrzynski led Alpena with 15 points and Elise Leeck added 10 points.

Alpena’s freshman team topped the Trojans 47-27 to improve to 2-1. Jasmyn Schultz paced the Wildcats with 27 points and Taylor Kunath added nine.

TC CENTRAL (42): A. Underwood 1 0-0 2; M. Shepler 4 2-8 10; A. Reed 1 0-0 3; C. Bartkowiak 0 2-2 2; T. Cobb 2 4-6 9; T. Cobb 2 4-6 9; M. Barbera 1 0-0 2; B. Richards 1 0-0 2; J. Rose 2 0-0 4; S. Fraser 4 0-1 8.

ALPENA (34): A. Devers 1 0-0 2; A. Smith 3 1-4 7; E. Strong 0 2-2 2; J. Talbot 3 6-6 12; A. Hatch 2 0-4 5; E. Trelfa 2 0-0 4; J. Mainville 1 0-0 2; K. Udell 0 0-2 0.

James Andersen can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.