Thursday evening was the opening night of the High School Basketball season and the first RPAC Rundown Featured Matchup was an RPAC East battle between Alma and Bertrand. Alma fans went home happy as both of their teams took victories to start the year.
We begin with the girls' matchup Alma won big, beating Bertrand 44-17. It wasn't the cleanest of games, which is to be expected when teams open the season. Both squads had to work through turnovers to get their offenses going. Alma started quickly with a 15-2 lead in the first quarter.
In the second period, it was much of the same and the Cardinals doubled their score and stifled the Vikings leading 30-5 at the intermission. In the third quarter, Bertrand slowed down the Alma attack a little, holding them to 10 points. The Cardinals went to the final stanza leading 40-10.
Bertrand found a little more success on offense in the final quarter as they scored seven points, and also held Alma to four.
The Vikings were led by three players with four points each, Shelby Schoene, Addison Andersen, and Brooklyn Evans. This group will improve as the season goes on, they played hard. It will be interesting to see how they adapt. With only eight players on the roster, everyone will have to chip in for the Vikings.
Alma had a spread-out scoring attack too. Leading the way though was Riley Scott with 13 points and she hit three, three-pointers. Addison Siebels had 11 points in her return to the court after missing about half of the season last year due to injury. This team has big aspirations, and they have the talent to make a nice run this season.
In the boy's game, Alma and Bertrand went back and forth in the first 12 minutes of action or so, but eventually, the Cardinals pulled away winning 58-34.
The opening quarter looked like a traditional Bertrand team, scrappy defense, solid rebounding, and finding great shots. The Vikings led 12-8 going into the second quarter. In the second period, the script flipped and Alma took control with efficient shooting and tough defense. They led going into halftime 28-16.
In third, it remained the same, Bertrand was playing hard, getting decent looks, but couldn't find the bottom of the net and Alma pushed forward. Going to the fourth it was 40-22.
In the final quarter, Alma really ramped up their offense, created by their activity on defense, scoring 18 points while allowing 12 to close out the game.
For Bertrand, you can tell they are going to improve and be a tough out every time. Between players like Marcus Hernandez, Thunder Nelson, and the shooting ability of JC Kehr and Dawson Newcomb, teams will have to defend this team. Sometimes shots just don't fall. Also, the Vikings are missing some players due to injury so once they are full strength, we'll have a better idea of what they will look like.
The Vikings were led by Kehr with nine points, Newcomb had seven, and Nelson scored six.
Alma, they could be a really, really good team in the conference this season. They have good guard play, decent size, above-average athleticism, and they can shoot it. Head Coach Mike Ford knows they will have some more growing pains as they start one senior and four sophomores, but they will learn quickly.
Alma was led by Zavier Mitchell and his 13 points, but five other Cardinals scored eight points; Tucker Biskup, Titus Epp, Isaiah Neal, Jakin Neal, and Grady Faimon.
We caught up with Coach Ford after the game, check out his comments below.
Both Alma girls and boys play Kenesaw today, and Bertrand girls and boys play Axtell today.