Much too close

The Alpena girls basketball team utilized a third period comeback to come within three points of taking out the Cheboygan Chiefs on Monday, but couldn’t seal the deal in the fourth quarter, in a 50-42 loss.

“I was proud of our effort in the second half. I thought we really got back into the game. I thought we came out with a good amount of intensity,” Alpena coach Dan Arsenault said.

Alpena’s (1-6) third quarter rush was fueled by the offensive play of Elizabeth Trelfa, Alexis Smith and Adrianna Hatch.

Defensively, Alpena utilized a man-to-man and occasional full court press to outscore the Chiefs 17-7 in the third quarter.

Hatch hit two treys and a basket in under a minute and a half with 3:48 to go to narrow the spread to 37-34. Trelfa and Smith both hit two baskets to add to Alpena’s run.

This third quarter comeback was necessary primarily because of a second quarter scoring rut. The Wildcats trailed the Chiefs 11-7 going into the second quarter, but a trey and a bucket from Hatch with 3:25 left in the half pulled the Wildcats to 18-17.

Hatch led Alpena with 17 points.

However, the Wildcats offense ground to a halt in the second quarter as the Chiefs scored 12 unanswered points after Hatch’s scoring streak to take a 30-17 lead going into the second half.

The Wildcats shot themselves in the foot in the first half with fouls, picking up over 10 fouls compared to the Chiefs four. The Chiefs took 12 free throw shots in the first half and hit eight.

“Foul trouble plagued us throughout the game. Cheboygan went to the free throw line an awful lot. They shot a lot of free throws and they shot them well,” Arsenault said.

These fouls came due to the full-court pressure the Wildcats put down on the Chiefs. This pressure often generated turnovers, especially when Jenna Talbot was near the ball.

Alpena’s consistent defensive pressure finally paid off in the third with its comeback. It utilized this momentum in the early part of the fourth to stay close to the Chiefs.

However, it ran into trouble when Trelfa fouled out with 4:15 left in the game with the Chiefs up 43-36. Trelfa, who scored four points for the night, is a key player to Alpena’s offensive and defensive strategy.

“Lizzie Trelfa got into foul trouble early in the game and it kind of threw us off. We had to do some different things with the lineup, kids were playing out of position a bit,” Arsenault said.

In spite of this problem, Alpena trailed by only 45-42 with 1:25 left to play. It was forced to foul the Chiefs to get the ball, but the Chiefs hit 5-of-8 to seal the deal.

“I was proud of the girls effort, but I told them after the game, we kind of dug ourselves a hole too deep to get out of, but we made it a game and we get another shot at them down the road in Cheboygan,” Arsenault said.

Alpena hosts Ogemaw Heights tonight.

The Alpena junior varsity team (6-1) picked up a 37-32 win. Top scorers included Jordan Modrzynski with 10, Jessica Marwede with eight, Mykayla Price with six and Chloe Ferguson with six.

CHEBOYGAN (50): B. Blaskowski 2 2-4 6; A. Hempenstall 1-2 1; A. Hudak 3 0-4 6; H. Hudak 2-2 2; M. Charboneau 3 4-4 10; B. Hancock 5 4-8 17; M. Kane 1 1-2 3; C. Clark 1 3-4 5.

ALPENA (42): O. Cordes 1 0-0 2; A. Smith 3 3-4 9; E. Strong 3 1-2 7; J. Talbot 1 1-2 3; A. Hatch 6 2-2 17; E. Trelfa 2 0-0 4.