AE drops home contest to Mio
Special to the Independent
ARENAC EASTERN — Arenac Eastern was hoping for its first victory over Mio AuSable in more than a decade.
Instead, the Thunderbolts put together their best half of the season in building a 17-point lead and went on to down the Eagles 43-28. It was Mio's first victory of the season after starting off with four straight losses.
"It's definitely the best half we've played this year," said Mio coach Dennis Kann, in his second stint as the Bolts' head coach. "Things were starting to come together there for awhile.
"The second half we kind of fell apart. We've had kids hurt and missing practice, and with just seven kids we don't ever get to practice five-on-five, so we do our learning during games. But we'll definitely take the win."
Eastern suffered through a tough shooting night, starting off cold despite getting good shots, then growing impatient as the game wore on. Back-to-back 3-pointers from K.C. Fox and Jonathan Allwardt to open the second quarter got Mio off and running and the lead grew to 23-11 at the half. The Thunderbolts got another 3-pointer from Allwardt and a fast-break layup from Fox to open up a 28-11 lead early in the third quarter.
"I really don't know what to say," said AE coach Bob Morgan. "We had a really good week of practice. We worked on shooting all week, and then tonight we probably shot 10 percent from the floor."
The Eagles crept back into the game, closing to within 35-28 with just under two minutes to play, in part because Mio missed seven straight free throws. But AE's own cold shooting from the line proved costly, and when Matthew Wilson scored off a teammate's missed free throw with 1:20 left to give Mio a nine-point lead, it was more than the Eagles could overcome.
"We didn't give up, but we shouldn't have been down 17 points either," Morgan said. "We need to pick it up in a hurry, or it's going to be a long season."
Fox led Mio (1-4, 1-3 NSL) with 15 points, with Allwardt adding eight. Caleb Whitney, who was injured late in the game, and Sean Norton each scored eight for the Eagles (1-5, 0-3).