News Sports Editor
The Alpena Community College women's basketball team has had its share of growing pains in 2013, but the Lumberjacks' latest loss might have just been the toughest.
The Lumberjacks fell just short in a comeback attempt on Saturday, losing 60-56 to Oakland at Park Arena.
Down by 10 with a minute and a half to play, the Lumberjacks (4-15, 0-10 MCCAA Eastern) whittled the lead down to four after a basket from Ashleigh Monticello with 26 seconds remaining and a triple from Whitney Frazier with 18 seconds left.
Oakland kept the ball in the final seconds to hang on for the win.
"I think we played really hard the whole game," Monticello said. "We have our plays where they get out on top and we have a hard time catching up, but we never gave up and we played our hardest."
Early in the second half, Oakland (9-11, 4-5 MCCAA Eastern) threatened to run away with the game, erasing a three-point deficit and putting together a 13-0 run to take a 43-33 lead with 11:16 left. The stretch included three straight triples from the Raiders, one from Lauren Featherson and two from Courtney Murphy.
Oakland sank five treys during the second half including four in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Oakland pushed its lead to 13 before ACC began climbing back in the game. The efforts of Frazier and Lauren Seibert pulled ACC to within single digits. Frazier scored five points and Seibert added a triple over a five-minute stretch and with 2:15 left, ACC trailed 55-45.
Seibert hit a shot and after a pair of Oakland free throws, added two free throws of her own to cut the deficit to eight, 57-49 with 58 seconds left. Monticello scored with 38 seconds remaining to cut the score to 58-51, but two free throws from Demoss gave the Raiders a double-digit lead, 60-51 with 36 seconds left.
Frazier paced ACC with 13 points, Amy Nowak added 12 and Seibert chipped in with eight.
Late in the first half, ACC found itself trailing 26-19, but scored six points in the last two minutes to narrow the gap to 26-25 at halftime.
"The feeling was good because it's nice to be only down by one," Monticello said of ACC's late first-half run. "We were pretty pumped to get out there and play because we wanted to win."
After a slow start to the game, the Raiders hit a few shots to pull away a little bit and led 20-13 with 9:03 left in the first half.
Murphy led Oakland with 21 points and Michelina Demoss added eight points.
ACC got 21 points from its bench and got a big first half from Nowak who provided a consistent presence inside for the Lumberjacks. ACC also went 12-of-15 from the free throw line.
"We play as a team and we're not selfish. If we see somebody open, we pass it to them and let them shoot," Monticello said.
ACC will host St. Clair at 5:30 p.m. tonight.
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OAKLAND (60): McCune 3 0-0 7; Demoss 1 6-6 8; Murphy 7 3-4 21; Pauling 3 1-2 7; Fabo 1 2-2 4; Monte 0 2-2 2; Featherson 2 2-3 7; Zischerk 0 0-2 0; Holda 1 0-0 2; Baumgarten 1 0-0 2.
ALPENA (56): Burley 0 2-2 2; Seibert 2 3-4 8; Smith 2 2-3 7; A. Nowak 6 0-0 12; E. Nowak 3 0-0 6; Cummings 1 0-0 2; Frazier 4 3-3 13; Monticello 2 2-3 6.