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State College tops Altoona in boys basketball action


STATE COLLEGE – Turnovers proved to be costly Saturday night for the Altoona boys basketball team in its annual match up against a stingy State College team.

After getting off to a strong early start, the Mountain Lions were not able to recover from their offensive woes, falling to the Little Lions 76-45 in a non-conference match up at the State College gymnasium.

Bobby Corl and teammate Jacob Port led the way offensively for Altoona, finishing with a 12-point and 10-point effort, respectively.

On a positive note for the Mountains Lions was they finished every quarter of the game in double figures, going for 13,10, 11 and 11, despite the loss.

Altoona still was not back to full force roster wise as well, as two of his main players missed the game due to injury.

Altoona coach Paul Hasson would not use any of the missing players as excuses, praising the effort by his opponent.

“State College played really well. You have to give them a lot of credit,” Hasson said. “Its been the same story for us this year. Its been the turnovers have really hurt us and we are just not handling the ball well and not passing the ball well. While State College was able to convert a lot of those turnovers into baskets. It really got us in a hole.”

The Little Lions were led by the sharp-shooting efforts of Michael Caswell, who finished with a game-high 27 points. Four of Caswell’s field goals came from beyond the three-point line.

Drew Friberg also finished in the double-digit scoring department, posting a 13-point effort while teammate Alex McCann rounded things out with a 12-point effort.

Another problem the Mountain Lions faced early in the opening quarter was running into foul trouble.

Center Germaine Samuel was limited in his time on the court, getting into foul touble early and then fouling out midway through the final stanza.

“Getting Jermaine Samuel out of the game we knew that it would be a little more difficult for them to bring up the ball so we extended our press to full court and kept going on little runs. They would come back with a few baskets but we really did pressure them a lot. We made very smart decisions on offense. We didn’t turn the ball over early,” State College coach Joe Walker said. “We shot really well from beyond the three-point line. They passed up good shots for great shots with an extra pass and we shot really well tonight. I was really, really impressed with our kids patience on offense against the zone and the pressure of converting.”

In the opening period, things started out strong for Altoona, breaking out to a 5-0 lead. Leading the way was Corl, who hit a field goal and a triple, giving them the early lead with 6:30 left in the first.

Caswell quickly cut it two with a triple of his own, making it 5-3.

On its next possession, Altoona went up by four when Port drove into the paint, putting up a floater to extend the lead.

However, the Little Lions were just heating up as it took the ball right at the heart of the Altoona defense.

With buckets by Tyler Hall, a field goal by McCann and a two two-for-two free throw finishes by Caswell and Tyler Snyder, the Lions opened up the game on a 10-0 run, making it 11-7 with 3:13 left in the quarter.

Altoona broke the run when Samuel went straight down the middle of the lane for a strong 2-point bucket.

But the backcourt defensive pressure was starting to get to the Altoona offense, giving the home team a 9-6 scoring advantage to finish out the quarter, 20-13.

Things continued to heat up in the second period. Offensively, State College had its tempo at full speed, showing in the 30-point scoring spree it went on in the second.

Defensively, the Little Lions were able to keep the Mountain Lions roarless as was only able to post 10.

When the two teams went into the intermission, State College held a very secure 50-23 advantage.

“Once we got down we started shooting quick and couldn’t run our offense. They took some bad shots but I thought State College played a good game.

In the third quarter, the Altoona defense was able to slow down State College, allowing only 14 points in the quarter.

Unfortunately, the Mountain Lions weren’t able to catch any ground as it was held to only 11 points.

Altoona posted another 11 in the final stanza and held State to 12 but it wasn’t enough to make any ground, falling 76-45.

In the JV contest, Altoona picked up the win with a 47-32 showing.


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