LINCOLN-The fourth quarter heroics that the Hillman basketball team became know for last season, nearly worked for the Tigers in their season-opener Monday.
But despite a furious comeback in the last two minutes, Hillman was unable to get the ball in the final seconds and lost to Alcona 61-59 at Alcona High School.
Mason VanPamel, who led Hillman (0-1) with 22 points, scored on a nice move inside with nine seconds left to pull Hillman to within two, 61-59, but Alcona (1-0) was able to hang on to the ball in the last few seconds to preserve the win.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alcona’s Jared Steiner drives by Hillman’s Hunter Fessler during the first half of a boys basketball game Monday at Alcona High School. Steiner scored 17 points as Alcona won its season-opener 61-59.
"Turnovers at the end are the thing we're going to have to work at and taking care of the ball at the end of games," Alcona coach Tim Somers said.
After Trenton LaVergne sank two free throws to put Alcona ahead 61-47 with 2:21 left in the game, Hillman began a comeback over the final 2:12 that nearly earned the Tigers a win. VanPamel scored six points during the stretch.
Hillman coach Eric Muszynski was pleased with the way his team fought back in the second half, though he admitted his team was outplayed in the first half.
"I thought tonight in a game like that, there's a combination of things that can lead to a victory. In the first half Alcona outworked us and that's not typical of the way we play," Muszynski said. "We're usually the ones clawing and scrapping and diving on the floor."
Jared Steiner led Alcona with 17 points and did a good job picking apart Hillman's defense, especially in the first half. Alcona led 16-13 after one quarter of play and took a 32-24 lead into halftime, after ending the second quarter on a 6-0 run, which included a buzzer-beater from Dawson Forsythe.
"Being a four-year starter, that's what you look for. We try to spread it out for him at the end and use his dribble penetration to break down the defense," Somers said of Steiner. "He's a real plus to have on your team."
Alcona also got stellar performances from two of its younger players, LaVergne and Forsythe, who scored 14 and 15 points respectively. Both were especially effective inside and got several open looks inside when Hillman struggled with turnovers.
Hillman found success shooting from outside and hit six three-pointers for the game, several of which helped keep the game close. A trey from Hunter Fessler in the first quarter pulled Hillman to within one, 14-13 and a three-pointer from Michael Kline drew Hillman to within one midway through the second quarter, 19-18.
A basket from VanPamel early in the third quarter cut Alcona's lead to two, 34-32, but that was as close as Hillman got for a while. With Steiner running, Alcona's offense, the Tigers kept up a steady scoring pace that Hillman struggled to keep up with. Alcona led 47-36 at the end of the third quarter.
Alcona's offense kept up in the final period and the Tigers held a 57-45 midway through the quarter, before Hillman began its late run. Ty Jones sank two free throws to make the score 61-55 with 49 seconds left and follow-up shots from Mike Olshanski and VanPamel pulled Hillman to the edge of a tie before the Tigers ran out of time.
Somers, who won his debut as Alcona's coach, praised Hillman's shooting for the game despite strong defensive efforts from Alcona.
"They shot the lights out of it. There were times we had defensive rotations on them and they shot the 3-pointer real well," Somers said.
Alcona's JV team defeated Hillman 41-30. Jason Steiner led Alcona with 10 points and Travis Powers led Hillman with 11 points.
ALCONA (61): Steiner 8 1-2 17; LaVergne 4 5-6 14; Ritchie 4 0-0 8; Forsythe 7 1-2 15; Cammack 2 1-2 5; Hampton 1 0-0 2.
HILLMAN (59): VanPamel 10 0-0 22; Jones 3 2-2 10; Olschanski 2 1-4 5; Zimmer 1 1-4 3; Fessler 4 0-0 10; Kline 2 0-0 5; Ross 1 0-0 2; LaFleche 1 0-0 2.
Mackinaw City, 64
MACKINAW CITY-The Atlanta Eagles girls basketball team travelled to Mackinaw City on Monday and lost a hard fought game 64-12.
The first quarter saw Mackinaw City ahead 20-1 while they stretched their lead to 41-3 at half time. The third quarter saw a score of 52-5 while the game ended 64 -12.
Atlanta have seven players on their team but two were unable to play on Monday, leaving them constricted to their five starters. Atlanta head coach Melony Haskin praised her girls for their dedication to playing.
"The girls play hard and they play as long as they can every game. They put their heart into every game and they never give up, even against teams that greatly out number them," she said.
Lacy Ferguson of Atlanta scored six points.
Atlanta is now 0-2 on the season and play against Friday in Hillman.
Oscoda 43, Fairview 33
FAIRVIEW-The Fairview Eagles girls basketball team hosted the Oscoda Owls on Monday and lost 43-33. Fairview head coach Marc Winton commented on the final score.
"The game was really close up until the final quarter. We went two for 22 in the quarter. We also made three 3-pointers in the game while they made 13. It was a really back and forth except for that final quarter," he said.
The first quarter saw Fairview up 10-9 while the half ended with them down by a close 21-16. The third quarter saw only a seven point difference at 33-26 while Oscoda pulled ahead in the fourth to win 43-33.
Fairview is now 0-3 on the season and plays again Friday in Arenac.