LaVergne, Alcona top Houghton Lake

OSCODA-Trenton LaVergne and the Alcona boys basketball team are one step closer to another district title.

LaVergne tallied 37 points and the Tigers defeated Houghton Lake 68-40 in a Class C district semifinal on Wednesday in Oscoda.

The win pits the Tigers (12-9) against Mio for the third time this season as the two teams will meet in Friday’s district final at 7 p.m. in Oscoda.

A win Friday gives Alcona its fourth consecutive district championship.

Both teams got off to slow starts, but it was LaVergne who eventually kickstarted Alcona’s offense and set the pace of the game. LaVergne scored three consecutive baskets in the first quarter and helped the Tigers take an 11-7 lead by the end of the period.

LaVergne did a little bit of everything on Wednesday to spur the Tigers. He scored from inside on layups and putbacks and outside with short jumpers and three-pointers. On both ends of the floor he fought for every rebound, finishing with 15, and on defense he blocked several shots.

His huge scoring night also marked the 10th time this season he has scored at least 25 points in a game.

His all-around effort has been of great benefit to the Tigers all season and it was a welcome sign on Wednesday after Alcona managed just one basket in the first four minutes.

“There’s times when Trenton does that and it’s going well for him and he can control the load,” Alcona coach Jason Somers said. “We don’t like him to do that all the time, but when he has to, he can.”

LaVergne had a great individual game, but he also put his teammates in position to succeed. Carson Jamieson, Jason Steiner and Dawson Forsythe were among the beneficiaries of LaVergne’s direction and each of them were able to make some key plays as a result.

Jamieson finished with 12 points, Forsythe had six and eight rebounds and Steiner had five points and four steals.

“That’s what we talk to Trenton about: make sure if you’re going to take over the game, make sure to keep others involved and make sure you’re in the flow of our offense so we don’t get out of sync as a team,” Somers said.

Alcona picked up the pace in the second quarter and opened the period on a 14-0 which put the Tigers in control for good. LaVergne scored 12 points, but Alcona was also helped by a pair of triples from Jamieson.

Aside from the first quarter, the Bobcats struggled to find any offensive rhythm. Luke Steckler paced Houghton Lake with 10 points, Tommy Press added nine and Joey Stiles had eight.

The Tigers spread the scoring load around in the third quarter as Jamieson, LaVergne, Brandon Ritchie and Steiner were among those that scored. Alcona traded baskets with the Bobcats early before putting together a 12-0 run.

Already having a big night through three quarters, LaVergne put on one last offensive display in the fourth quarter, draining two treys and scoring Alcona’s first 13 points in the period as the Tigers opened on a 13-4 run.

Somers credited his seniors and LaVergne for helping the Tigers right the ship after a slow start to the game.

“I don’t say a whole lot. Right from the get go, I told them it’s not about me. I’m going to try and get them in the right spot, but mostly it’s up to them. They’re young men and they respond well,” he said.

Up next for the Tigers is a third game against a surging Mio team which last topped the Tigers 55-36 on Feb. 7.

“We played them early in the season when we were trying to figure things out,” Somers said. “We played them tougher the second meeting and if we get another crack at them we’re going to be going to go.”

ALCONA (68): D. Forsythe 3 0-0 6; T. LaVergne 13 9-9 37; J. Steiner 2 0-0 5; C. Jamieson 4 2-2 12; B. Smigelski 1 0-2 2; B. Ritchie 1 2-2 4; N. Lamantia 1 0-0 2.

HOUGHTON LAKE (40): J. Stiles 4 0-1 8; T. Press 2 5-5 9; N. Shavalia 2 0-1 4; L. Steckler 4 0-0 10; A. Burtis 1 3-4 5; C. Gibbons 1 0-0 2; C. Peterson 1 0-0 2.

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