No slip-ups this time

There were no crushing buzzer beaters this time and no moral victories after a close loss.

All that remained after the Alpena girls basketball team’s second meeting with Ogemaw Heights was a 40-29 win after a strong defensive effort on Tuesday at Alpena High School.

“I thought we played really well defensively, especially in the second half; really contested most of their shots and played real tough with man-to-man defense,” Alpena coach Dan Arsenault said. “I thought Jenna Talbot did a nice job on 25 (Marci Meier).”

The Wildcats (2-6), who have won two of their last three games, overcame a slow start and took control of the contest in the second half, cranking up the pressure on defense and outscoring the Falcons 21-10.

Adrianna Hatch led Alpena with 13 points, Alexis Smith added eight and Talbot chipped in with six.

The game marked a stark contrast to the first meeting of the team teams early last month when Ogemaw hit a buzzer-beater with a few seconds left to win 43-42 and Alpena missed a pair of free throws, which would’ve tied the game.

“The first time around we had a real poor first half, I think we were down by 16 at halftime and we stormed back and actually took the lead, but they stormed back and hit a buzzer beater with two seconds left to beat us by two,” Arsenault said.

The two teams entered halftime tied 19-19, but the second half belonged to the Wildcats. Alpena led 27-22 after the third quarter and limited Ogemaw to just eight points in the fourth quarter and two field goals.

Alpena struggled on the glass early in the game and Ogemaw found some success beyond the arc, hitting three three-pointers in the first quarter. Ogemaw led 17-9 after one quarter, but the Wildcats inched back into the game in the second quarter as Arsenault emphasized patience against Ogemaw’s 2-3 zone defense.

Alexis Smith hit two buckets early in the second quarter to cut Ogemaw’s lead to four, 17-13 and with 3:11 left Elizabeth Trelfa tied the game. A pair of free throws from Hatch gave Alpena the lead with 2:42 left, but the Falcons answered on their next possession to knot the game at 19.

Meier led the Falcons with eight points and Kelsey Killinger added seven points.

Alpena will play at Traverse City Central on Thursday and will try show another improved effort after an early-season loss. The Wildcats were tied 21-21 with the Trojans in the first meeting, but late mistakes ultimately led to a loss.

“We have Traverse City Central on Thursday. That’s a game last time where we had a six-point lead at halftime the first time around, so that’s definitely a game I think we can be right in and have a shot at getting another win,” Arsensault said.

Alpena’s JV team won 38-26. Elise Leeck led the Wildcats with 16 points, Jessica Marwede added seven points and Chloe Ferguson had six.

Alpena’s freshman team won 31-8. Jasmyn Schultz had 16 points and Taylor Kunath added eight.

ALPENA (40): A. Smith 3 2-4 8; E. Strong 1 0-0 2; J. Talbot 1 4-4 6; M. Allen 2 0-2 4; A. Hatch 5 2-2 13; E. Trelfa 1 2-5 4; K. Udell 1 0-0 2; R. Zolnierek 0 1-2 1.

OGEMAW (29): M. vonKronenberger 1 1-2 3; S. Hasse 1 0-0 3; J. Diehl 1 2-3 4; H. Izworkski 1 1-3 4; K. Killinger 3 1-3 7; M. Meier 2 3-4 8.

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