LINCOLN-Every sporting event is defined by a singular trait. The first game of the Class C boys basketball district 91 at Alcona was defined by streaks.
An air tight game from both Alcona and Mancelona could have went either way due to these streaks.
In the end, Alcona was able to maintain their streak a little bit longer than Mancelona with a 49-40 win.
"I'm pleased with the win. If the kids keep playing like this, we should be able to push through some big games in the district," Alcona coach Tim Somers said.
Alcona (13-4) started the game with a quick 7-0 streak, sparked by a Trenton LaVergne three pointer. Jared Steiner and Carson Jamieson each had a field goal in the streak.
Steiner was Alcona's scoring leader with 17 points.
Mancelona (14-6) shifted its defense into a solid man-to-man which kept Alcona off guard as the Ironmen added their own five point streak. Strong play by Alcona defensive and offensively let the Tigers hold a 16-10 first quarter lead.
The Ironmen had another streak in the second quarter, although the Tigers continued to chip in offensively in the first three minutes. The tight man-to-man defense of Mancelona stymied the Tigers as they began chucking up treys that didn't want to drop.
"We're not a three-point shooting team. Once we stopped shooting the three in the second half, things turned around for us," Somers said.
The Ironmen offense fired up and pulled ahead of Alcona off a Wyatt Derrer trey with 56 seconds left in the half to go up 23-20.
Although Alcona scored little in the second quarter, they were able to stop a lot of big Mancelona plays. Especially vital to the Tigers' defensive effort was Garrette Norling, who seemed to snatch steals at will.
Mancelona's Brandon Dingman hit two free throws 30 seconds into the third quarter to extend the Ironman lead to 25-20. However, it turned out to be Alcona's turn for a streak: the Tigers spent the next five minutes scoring off the offensive play of Aaron Ritchie and LaVergne.
Mancelona began their own streak at the same time, but unfortunately it was a five minute scoreless streak that allowed Alcona pull ahead 34-29 in the last six seconds, after successfully killing nearly a minute with passes in their offensive zone.
The fourth quarter saw another huge Alcona streak: this time with free throws. The Tigers hit 11-of-14 free throws in the fourth with Steiner hitting seven of them. This gave Alcona the momentum to keep a decent lead for much of the quarter.
The Ironmen weren't willing to lie down. Strong play and a three pointer by Dingman brought them to a 42-40 spread with a minute left to play. Unfortunately, they were forced to foul to stay in the game which gave Alcona the chance to pull ahead to a nine point win.
"It was kind of an upset tonight but we knew we had the home court advantage. We had so many fans out tonight and hearing them cheer us on was great. After being down in the second half, the defense got fired up to hold of Mancelona and we played well as a team for the win," Steiner said.
Alcona moves on to the second round of district play. They host Oscoda on Wednesday.
"We know Oscoda and Oscoda is tough. They played us really hard the last time we played and we had to come back from a 15 point deficit. It'll be a real challenge," Somers said.
Alcona (49): T. Lavergne 5-4-4-15: J. Steiner 5-6-8-17: A. Cammack 1-0-1-2: G. Norling 0-1-2-1: A. Ritchie 3-0-2-6: C. Jamieson 3-2-2-8.
Mancelona (40): C. Schepperly 3-0-0-6: W. Derrer 5-1-2-12: B. Scott 4-1-2-9: B. Dingman 5-2-2-13.