Alpena, Mich — The Alpena Wildcats finished the 2017-18 season (0-10) in the Big North Conference. Now they sit second in the league and (4-2) in the BNC after defeating Gaylord 70-55 on Thursday. The Blue Devils best player, 6-foot-5 senior Blake Charboneau who received an offer from Grand Valley State, sat out the entire first half due to a suspension.
Alpena entered halftime with the 35-32 lead. Gaylord’s first half six 3-pointers kept them in the game without Charboneau. The green and white were a little rusty after missing school and practice for three days due to weather.
“We talked about at halftime, you know we can’t let them keep shooting like this,” said Head Coach John Pintar. “We got to try to get them off the three-point line and make them drive. I thought we did a much better job of communicating and contesting a lot of the three-pointers as they went.”
Then Alpena cooked up some threes of their own. Chris DeRocher scored 3 of the Wildcat’s four 3-pointers in the second half and Bruz Copping added 14 points, six of those from the free throw line, to help Alpena secure the victory. The green and white held Charboneau to 8 points and Copping scored a career high 28 points.
“We just started playing really physical and taking away the three ball,” said senior Aidan Goike. “Then we just got the good shots we wanted and got to the line, scored some points.”
The Wildcats are now (11-2) overall. Up next, they will travel to Detroit to face Dearborn Heights Crestwood on Saturday in Little Caesars Arena.
“It’s going to be crazy,” said Goike. “Hit some NBA threes, get some good basketball going and hopefully come out with the win”
Alpena JV Head Coach Bill Bright will be facing his brother, Michael Bright, who is the head coach of Crestwood. He hopes Alpena can earn the win.
“This is a Bright versus Bright matchup,” said Pintar. “There might be a few times where I sit on the bench and let Bill go. See what happens, so he told the guys that this is a huge game because Thanksgiving and Christmas will not be very good if we (Alpena) lose. He put some pressure on the guys to come through for him. Hopefully we have the right Bright on our side.”
Bruz Copping – 28 (Career High)
Chris DeRocher – 26
Aidan Goike – 5
Kelley Stark – 5
Jadon Duncan – 4
Colin Donajkowski – 3
Haydn Goebel – 2