’Bolts strike hard

LINCOLN-The Mio Thunderbolts struck the Alcona boys basketball team hard in the first quarter on Monday, taking a 21-2 lead that gave it an edge in a 59-28 rout.

“The boys gave a better effort tonight than the last few games and they’re still learning what to expect from me and I’m still learning what I can get out of them,” Alcona first-year coach Jason Somers said.

Mio (3-0) took quick control of the game, hitting two three-pointers and two field goals in the first three minutes to take a 10-0 lead.

The Tigers (1-3) struggled to generate offense under the tight man-to-man defense of the Thunderbolts. Alcona had a few chances at the bucket throughout the first quarter, but the ball refused to drop.

Bryson Devers was especially problematic for the Tigers’ defense, disrupting its offense with steals and quick-handed play.

Seth Thomey was the key offensive player for Mio in the first quarter, scoring seven points. Devers picked up five while Bryce DeGrammont had four.

Alcona’s Trenton Lavergne finally scored with 14 seconds left in the quarter to narrow the spread to 19-2. Thomey hit a last second shot to pull his team two points further ahead.

“We played really good defense and dictated the pace of the game, for the most part,” Mio coach Dennis Kahn said.

If the first quarter firmly belonged to the Thunderbolts, the second quarter was Alcona’s. It clamped down defensively and finally started breaking Mio’s press. Lavergne continued to be key for Alcona, picking up steals and pushing towards the basket.

Mio’s offensive momentum had seemingly dried up as it suddenly struggled to score. The Tigers, who had been dominated under the board in the first quarter, finally started picking up rebounds.

Neither team generated much offensive momentum going into the second half, but Alcona outscored the Thunderbolts 8-6 to narrow the spread to 27-10.

Lavergne scored four out of eight points for the Tigers in the second quarter while Thomey and DeGrammont got three points apiece for Mio.

The third quarter was very similar to the second: both teams kept pace defensively while generating little offense. The Tigers’ defense gave Alcona the chance to catch up, but it continued to have trouble converting steals and rebounds into points.

Mio also struggled to score, with Thomey shut out for the entire quarter. Alcona’s Jason Steiner finally got on the board with a three as did Mio’s Charles Auten.

The Thunderbolts outscored the Tigers 11-9 in the third quarter for a 38-19 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Lavergne once again led the Tigers in the third with four points while DeGrammont scored four for Mio.

“In the second and third, we really challenged (Mio). My boys really dug in and bounced back from a tough first quarter,” Somers said.

Play remained even early in the fourth defensively, but the Mio scoring machine woke up, stretching its lead to 41-19 with 6:40 to play.

Thomey then hit two back-to-back treys within 35 seconds to pull Mio to a 47-11 spread. Ben Lubitz did the same thing a minute later and followed it up with two free throws to give Mio a 55-21 lead.

The Tigers kept plugging away until the end with Dustin Yokom landing his only three points of the night with 6.9 seconds left in the game.

“Tonight we really controlled the passing lines. That helped us get down the floor with the ball and to get some easy buckets,” Kahn said.

Alcona hosts Posen on Wednesday while Mio travels to Atlanta on Thursday.

MIO (59): S. Thomey 6-2-3-15; B. Lubitz 4-2-2-13; D. Thornton 1-0-0-2; C. Auten 1-0-0-3; B. DeGrammont 6-3-3-15; B. Devers 4-0-0-9; T. Vaughn 1-0-0-2.

ALCONA (28): T. Lavergne 6-0-0-12; N. Lamantia 1-0-0-2; J. Steiner 1-0-0-3; B. Smigelski 1-0-0-2; J. Schram 1-0-0-2; D. Yokom 1-0-0-3; D. Forsythe 1-0-0-2; C. Jamieson 1-0-0-2.

Eric Benac can be reached via email at ebenac@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.