The Alpena Community College men's basketball team hosted the Mid-Michigan Community College Lakers on Monday. In spite of increased offensive effectiveness in the second half, the Lumberjacks were unable to stop the Lakers and lost 57-49 in a tough fought game at Park Arena on Monday in their final game of 2012.
ACC coach Frank McCourt saw some improvement in his team.
"They understand now where they're roles and where they're supposed to shoot," he said.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Sean Berryman (11) shoots during the first half of a men’s basketball game Monday at Park Arena.
This loss came about in spite of a strong start by ACC that saw it take a 6-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game with one basket apiece from William Gates Jr., Sean Berryman and Lavario Smith.
However, ACC's offensive drives took a nose drive and the Lumberjacks went into an eight-minute slump. Meanwhile, the Lakers scored 14 unanswered points including a three from Tyler Clow that took the lead from ACC.
Clow was increasingly accurate with his accurate threes, hitting two more in the half. Kendal Thomas was also effective hitting a three and two field goals in the half.
After the Lakers extended the lead to 14-6, ACC fought back with baskets by Mujahhedn Mustafaa and Smith. This narrowed the Lakers' lead to 14-10.
Unfortunately for the Lumberjacks, they entered another scoreless streak that lasted for two and a half minutes. The Lakers became hot during this period as Clow hit two of his threes and three free throws in a two-minute stretch. Combined with a field goal by Marcus Sura, the Lakers took a commanding 25-10 lead over the ailing Lumberjacks.
The Lumberjacks increasingly struggled to build offensive momentum, with lots of missed shots, balls rolling out of the net and turnovers that simply drained them of any chance of taking the lead.
Logan Wickert had a five-point run for the Lumberjacks and their defense was effective but the Lakers ended the half with a 41-21 lead.
If the first half belonged to the Lakers, then the same could be said about ACC in the second half. The Lakers struck first with about a minute gone but ACC began a sustained offensive run that saw them outscoring the Lakers 9-1 in the first few minutes.
Especially effective was Shane Hentkowski who hit four free throws and a trey during this scoring run. Also effective were Sean Berryman and Wickert who contributed a few baskets of their own.
McCourt discussed the increased effectiveness of his team.
"They played really well, including Shane and Jake but the team played so bad the first half that the hole got dug too deep," he said.
The Lakers continued to struggle against a more effective Lumberjack offensive and defensive attack as Hentkowski and Wickert helped close the game to 49-39 with a little more than 10 minutes to play.
The Lumberjacks began missing more frequently, but sustained solid defensive pressure on the Lakers to keep the scoring down. With five minutes left to play, ACC was down 55-43.
Gates and Smith continued with heavy offensive pressure with the last six points of the Lumberjack's eight scored by Gates.
As the Lumberjacks continued to score, the Lakers didn't score in the last four minutes as the Lumberjacks fought hard to the end but ultimately couldn't make up for their first half deficit.
McCourt believes his team is ready for the break Christmas vacation which will give to his players and the coaches a chance to rest.
"I'm sending them home for a nice long break so they can get their heads back together and so the coaches can get their heads back together. We'll work from there," he said.
ACC is now 3-7. The Lumberjacks play Jan. 5th in Oakland.
Mid-Michigan (57): T. Clow 5-3-4-17; K. Thomas 4-5-9-14; D. Daniel 4-1-6-9; M. Sura 1-0-0-2; I. Woodard 0-1-2-1; J. Wilson 1-0-0-2; M. Larkin-Jensen 4-0-0-8; K. Perez 2-0-0-4.
ACC (49): L. Wickert 4-0-0-9; W. Gates 4-0-0-8; S. Berryman 3-1-2-7; L. Smith 3-1-6-7; M. Mustafaa 3-0-0-6; S. Hentkowski 3-3-4-10; J. Strong 1-0-0-2.