FLINT, Michigan – Mott’s third straight win was anything but charming. The Bears turned away Alpena on Saturday afternoon in Flint, 74-60.
Leave it to Mott head coach Steve Schmidt to be angry about a 14-point conference win, but that’s his style; he’s almost never satisfied. Schmidt has not been happy with his team’s consistent inability to play a complete game this season. That was on full display Saturday.
Schmidt spent much of the game barking at his players for seemingly going in and out of consciousness on the floor, missing assignments, failing to box out and not getting after loose balls. At one point, he stopped freshman guard Austin Daniels with a question: “Are you OK?”
For short bursts, the team looked inspired on the defensive end. It wasn’t long, though, before they simply looked like they were mailing it in.
“I’m not happy with the demeanor of the guys,” Schmidt said. “I’m not happy with the effort. It’s a good win against a team we should beat, but I had some guys who just weren’t here. That’s all I’m going to say.”
There’s little doubt that Schmidt was reacting to the manner in which he team handled the game’s final four minutes. The Bears put their guard down and turned what should have been a dominant 25-point win into an outcome that leaves something to be desired.
It could have been a lot worse for the visiting Lumberjacks, but the home team didn’t roll out of bed until midway through the first half. The Bears, sparked by freshman wing Tommie Johnson, went on an 11-2 run to end the half up a dozen, 32-20.
Alpena is a much-improved team this season, scoring wins over Delta, Wayne County and Henry Ford this season. Without the services of Tristan Howard, the team’s top guard, the Lumberjacks could not handle the Bears’ pressure early in the second half. Just six minutes in, a 3-pointer by freshman guard Malik Young put the Bears up 23. It capped an 18-5 run by the Bears.
With Schmidt’s team fully in his comfort zone scoring points of turnovers, Mott didn’t slow the pace of play down until inside of four minutes left, still up 21. Setting aside the less-than-stellar effort to close out this game, the Bears are starting hit their stride on the defensive end. Mott has surrendered 67 or less points in five of their last six games.
Stephan Shepherd led all scorers with 24 points for Alpena (6-10).
Daryl Bigham led four Bears in double figures with 19. Young and Johnson scored 13 apiece. Justice Green added 11.
Mott will look to extend its winning streak to four on Wednesday night on the road against Wayne County. The Bears cannot afford to look ahead toward their showdown next Saturday at home versus Oakland.