LaVergne leads the way
LINCOLN-Things keep looking up for the Alcona boys basketball team.
The Tigers’ 62-42 win over Fairview on Tuesday caps off a three-game winning streak. Alcona is now 6-4 and has pulled comfortably over .500.
Trenton LaVergne had another big night for the Tigers, scoring 31 points.
“I don’t really pay attention to my score during the game. I just go out there and play and do what I can do for my team,” LaVergne said.
However, it wasn’t as easy a win for the Tigers as the final score might indicate. The Tigers trailed for most of the first half, despite outnumbering Fairview.
“They’re scrappy. They got low numbers, but they come to play. I told the boys that fundamentally, this is going to be one of the toughest teams we play,” Alcona coach Jason Somers said.
Fairview (1-9) ended the first quarter up 17-13 and led by 17-9 with 1:34 left in the period.
The Eagles got a boost from Hudson Szubelak who hit three treys among 13 first quarter points.
Szubelak led Fairview with 21 points.
Alcona answered back in the second quarter with team focused play that started narrowing the gap. Players like Brandon Smigelski and Jesse Schram picked up key buckets and created turnovers with tight man-to-man defense on the Eagles.
Fairview answered back with a few buckets of its own, all of which came from Austin Handrich and Szubelak. Alcona outscored Fairview 10-9 and hit five free throws to take a 28-26 lead into halftime.
The second half is when Alcona’s defense finally kicked into gear.
“The key to the win was teammates picking one another up. We had a good defensive effort in the second from Dawson (Forsythe) and that was key. Then, once we started to buy into that, it was like ‘okay here we go,'” Somers said.
The Tigers’ defense started to wear down on the Eagles offense in the third quarter. They dominated under the boards with Carson Jamieson and Lavergne shutting down second scoring chances for the Eagles.
Szubelak was limited to one point in the third quarter and Handrich was limited to four while the team was limited to seven points.
The game was tied 30-30 with 5:44 left in the third quarter, but Alcona’s defense held Fairview scoreless for over four minutes to take a 40-30 lead.
Alcona scored 14 points in the third quarter, including six from Lavergne to pull ahead 42-33.
Momentum shifted fully into the Tigers’ hands by the fourth quarter. Lavergne scored 11 straight points over the first four and a half minutes to take Alcona to a 53-47 lead.
The Eagles played hard until the end, but struggled to keep pace. Jason Steiner and Chase Matthews put eight points up at the end of the game to bring Alcona to the 62-42 final.
“We just beat ourselves tonight. We get behind by two or three points and we just fall apart. Most of the baskets we gave up at the end were off basic layups and other simple shots. We have to get better at handling that pressure if we want to win games,” Fairview coach Rick Ebert said.
Alcona hosts Hale on Friday for its homecoming while Fairview hosts Hillman.
ALCONA (62): T. Lavergne 14 3-4 31; J. Steiner 3 2-5 8; B. Smigelski 2 0-0 4; C. Matthews 1 1-2 3; J. Schram 1 1-2 3; D. Forsythe 3 2-2 8; C. Jamieson 2 2-2 6.
FAIRVIEW (42): B. Eaves 2 1-2 5; C. Gingerich 2 0-0 4; A. Handrich 4 2-2 12; H. Szubelak 8 1-7-21.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.