Like they never left

The Alpena boys basketball team learned on Thursday that revenge smells sweetest in front of a home crowd, when it picked up a 59-44 win over Traverse City Central.

The Trojans are the only team that has beat Alpena this season.

Alpena (7-1, 4-1 Big North) was originally scheduled to face the Trojans last Friday, but weather conditions delayed the game until Thursday.

The Wildcats had to overcome a slow first quarter start in order to pick up the win.

“I don’t think we were as consistent as we have been. Part of that can be attributed to the long layoff. We just made mistakes that we shouldn’t have made and we got to clean that up,” Alpena coach John Pintar said.

The Trojans’ offense consistently outworked the Wildcats in the first. Alpena seemed to struggle to keep pace on the court as the Trojans pulled to a 12-7 lead with 2:33 left in the first quarter.

A trey by Tyler Pintar 15 seconds later seemed to pump up the Wildcats.

Pintar led Alpena with 19 points.

Brad Styma tied it up 12-12 with just under two minutes left in the quarter, but a last second bucket by the Trojans’ Ethan Campbell kept Central the lead 16-14 going into the second quarter.

The Wildcats offense and defense seemed to roar to life in the second quarter. Alpena outscored the Trojans 18-9 and kept them scoreless for nearly half the quarter.

Alpena’s success in the second broke down to careful man-to-man defense balanced with more consistent shooting. Pintar hit two treys to give Alpena the lift it needed to pull ahead.

Dylan Hoes picked up four points in under 30 seconds with 2:29 left to lift Alpena to a 29-23 lead.

Five straight points by Central’s Max Knoblock with under two minutes to go narrowed the spread a little, but Alpena’s defensive acumen helped give it a 32-25 lead going into the third quarter.

Knoblock led the Trojans with 14 points.

Alpena’s Andy Marwede was big under the hoop in the second, shutting down Trojan scoring chances and getting the ball past Central’s tough pull court pressure and up the court.

Marwede had 15 points in the game.

“We played really well in the second quarter and that helped us give the lead going at the half. The second half we played well enough to maintain it,” Pintar said.

Alpena continued to outplay the Trojans offensively in the third quarter and only gave up one field goal. However, it ran into foul trouble and gave the Central the chance to convert 7-of-8 shots at the line.

The Wildcats piled on 14 points in the third quarter to take a 46-34 lead into the final eight minutes of the game.

Central picked up a little more energy in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points. It continued to throw the half and full court press at the Wildcats, but Alpena kept finding ways to poke on through.

By the time Jordan Hemmingson hit a free throw with 1.3 seconds left in the game, the student section was roaring for Alpena’s 15 point victory.

“I thought we played hard and defended well for four quarters. When you have a long layoff, that the key would be to playing key defense and playing physical against a physical team,” Pintar said.

The Wildcats travel to Gaylord on Saturday for another makeup game.

Alpena’s junior varsity team picked up a 51-44 win over Central. Joe Ayala had 15 points while Dylan Tucker and Austin Hemmingson had 10 points each.

Alpena’s freshman team lost 52-30. Josh Lucas had nine points while Jacob Vought had six.

ALPENA (59): G. Aikens 1-3 1; A. Marwede 7 1-1 15; T. Pintar 6 3-6 19; C. Tucker 2 0-0 4; D. Hoes 2 5-6 9; B. Styma 4 1-2 9; E. Martin 1 0-0 2.

TRAVERSE CITY (44): Z. Egbert 2 0-0 5; N. Schlusler 2 0-0 4; E. Campbell 1 0-0 2; B. Spanski 1 0-1 2; M. Houston 1-2 1; M. Knoblock 6 2-3 14; M. Wynkoop 4 0-0 8; J. Schrameyer 1 6-6 8.