Wildcats win again

The Alpena boys basketball team just keeps on winning.

Andy Marwede scored 22 points and the Wildcats earned their ninth straight win, defeating Traverse City West 72-55 on Tuesday at Alpena High School.

The win keeps the Wildcats (9-1, 6-1 Big North) in first place in the Big North Conference and gives them six straight conference wins since they dropped their season opener against Traverse City Central.

“Outside of the first quarter, it was excellent. We played hard, competed and I was very happy with a lot of things we did on both ends of the floor,” John Pintar said. “It took us a long time to get into this game, but when we got rolling there in the second and third quarters, I thought we played fantastic basketball.”

Alpena started slow and trailed 14-8 at the end of the first quarter, but turned on the jets in the final three quarters, scoring from all angles and imposing their will on the Titans in the paint and from the outside.

Marwede went scoreless in the first quarter, but got going in the second quarter, scoring 10 points. An eight-point stretch midway through the period gave Alpena a 23-17 lead and the Wildcats were able to stay ahead until halftime.

Stephan Sheppard’s three-pointer with 30 seconds left in the half pulled the Titans to within one, 29-28, but Marwede capped his huge quarter with another basket to send Alpena into halftime with a 31-28 lead.

A trey from Alex Scott knotted the game 33-33 with 6:05 left in the third quarter, but the Wildcats seized control of the game from there. Alpena scored the next 10 points and outscored the Titans 19-4 the rest of the way to lead 52-37 at the end of the third quarter.

Marwede scored 10 points in the third quarter as well and did a little bit of everything for the Wildcats on both ends of the floor, blocking shots, grabbing rebounds and scoring seemingly at will. He hit mid-range jumpers and drove inside for layups, while setting up his teammates for good shots in the process.

Tyler Pintar added 14 points for Alpena and Cody Tucker chipped in with 10.

West ran into foul trouble early and never found a rhythm against an aggressive Alpena defense. This especially hurt the Titans in the fourth quarter when Alpena went 10-for-14 at the charity stripe.

“We really got after it on the defensive end. What I think we have is a lot of guys who are smart basketball players and you saw a lot of deflections and stuff like that, so I thought we really did a good job of harassing them and not allowing them to get into a rhythm,” Pintar said.

Tshiyombu Lukusa and Sheppard each had 13 points for the Titans and Alex Scott added nine.

West’s JV team defeated Alpena 63-46. Austin Hemmingson led Alpena with 23 points and Caleb Myers added 13.

Alpena’s freshman team lost 61-42. Jacob Vought led Alpena with 11 points, Randy Udell added eight and Bailey Marquardt had seven.

ALPENA (72): C. Tucker 5 0-2 11; B. Styma 4 0-1 9; T. Pintar 2 10-12 14; K. Smith 2 1-1 5; A. Marwede 11 0-1 22; D. Hoes 3 0-0 6; G. Aikens 1 0-0 3; N. Samp 1 0-0 2.

TRAVERSE CITY WEST (55): T. Lukusa 6 1-2 13; T. Roman 2 1-2 7; K. Sayer 3 2-2 8; A. Scott 4 0-1 9; S. Sheppard 5 0-0 13; J. Wheelock 1 0-0 2; J. Cerny 1 1-1 3; P. Soma 0 0-1 0.

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