ACC men push Raiders to the limit in defeat

For the second straight game, the Alpena Community College men’s basketball team showed it’s mettle against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

The Lumberjacks didn’t win their season finale against Oakland on Wednesday, but they gave the Raiders their best effort in an 88-81 loss at Park Arena.

ACC (5-21, 3-15) led 63-61 with ten minutes left after a pair of free throws from Scott Hicks, but the Raiders responded with baskets on their next three possessions and kept the lead from there.

The Lumberjacks cut the lead to 68-67 with 6:58 left and kept the lead to two points several more times, but eventually Oakland got the upper hand and came away with the win.

“I thought we played really hard, I was proud of the kids,” ACC coach Frank McCourt said. “I told them we had to win the game with defense and we played really well. We didn’t win the game, but we won my admiration for this basketball team.”

Travon Howard led ACC with 15, Hicks and Stephen Shepherd each had 14 and Kharri Dailey added 13 points.

Oakland led 41-36 at halftime and led by as many as eight early in the second half. ACC kept it close though and eventually tied the game 61-61 after a trey from Howard with 10:50 left.

Nathan Stepney led Oakland with 18 points, Richard Roberts had 15 and Desmar Thomas added 14 points.

The Raiders came out on fire to begin the game, opening the contest on a 14-3 run, which included a pair of dunks. It appeared the Raiders were on the way to a rout, but ACC had other plans. Shepherd and Hicks helped key a 13-0 run which gave ACC a brief lead midway through the period.

The two sides tied two more times before halftime, but Oakland was able to stay one step ahead and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 1:40 to take the halftime lead.

Wednesday’s game marked the final game in the careers of Dailey, Cory Lamp, Jarod Jones, William Gates Jr. and Logan Wickert and McCourt praised all of them for their contributions to the program.

“They’re great kids, great leaders and they’ve been here two years and just done an excellent job,” McCourt said.

OAKLAND (88): N. Stepney 6 4-6 18; R. Roberts 7 0-0 15; D. Thomas 4 5-6 14; B. Wright 1 0-0 2; C. Ukandu 2 8-8 12; T. Richardson 2 4-4 8; C. Martin 1 0-0 2; J. Wade 3 2-3 8; R. Mallory 1 0-0 3; C. Eubanks 1 4-6 6.

ALPENA (81): Wickert 2 0-0 6; S. Shepherd 4 6-8 14; S. Hicks 4 6-7 14; T. Howard 5 2-5 15; K. Bush 3 0-1 6; R. Anderson 1 1-2 4; K. Dailey 4 4-4 13; C. Lamp 1 0-0 2; W. Gates 2 2-2 7.

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