TRAVERSE CITY — Falling into a big, early deficit is a dangerous way to live.
Although Traverse City Central was able to scratch out a win that way in Monday’s boys basketball tournament opener versus Petoskey, it couldn’t find that same magic in Wednesday’s Class A district semifinal against Big North Conference champion Alpena.
The Wildcats scored the first eight points of the night and carved out a double-digit lead before the end of the first period as the Trojans saw their season come to an end in a 55-36 loss at Central High School.
“All the coaches were going, ‘here we go again.’” Central head coach Jeff Turner said, referring back to the 14-0 hole Central found itself in against Petoskey. “Alpena came out ready to play. When you’re a good team like they are with 19 wins, now 20 wins, when they come out ready to play and you don’t match their intensity, you’re going to kind of dig yourself a hole. Unfortunately, that’s what happened tonight.”
Alpena connected on its first four shots. Even as the teams settled in while the first quarter went on, Central was unable to slow the Wildcats. Alpena went into the second period holding a 19-5 lead, which was actually as close as the Trojans would get the rest of the night.
“They got themselves into a nice lead and they were able to carry and maintain that lead the rest of the game,” said Turner. I thought we had some chances where we could’ve cut into it a couple of times. We didn’t make some shots, or had a careless turnover, or a missed rebounding opportunity, something along those lines. A bunch of little things add up to the big loss.”
Andy Marwede, the leading scorer in the Big North, led the Wildcats with 21 points. Point guard Tyler Pintar chipped in 19.