Wildcats steal win from Altoona on road, 69-56

ALTOONA — Basketball coaches are constantly talking about taking care of the basketball with good reason.

Central Mountain turned 12 Altoona turnovers into points to open up a 17-point halftime lead and held off the Mountain Lions in the second half for a 69-56 win at the AAHS Fieldhouse.

“It’s what we try to do to everybody every year. We felt we just needed to continue our traps whenever they got over the half-court line, and we did that,” CM coach Tyler Bardo said. “Fortunately, they tried to make some long passes, and we took advantage of our length.”

For the game, Altoona finished with 18 turnovers to just six for the Wildcats.

After Altoona took a 9-8 in the latter part of the first quarter, Central Mountain went on an 18-2 run that extended well into the second quarter.

Collin Jones started the surge with back-to-back layups and closed it out with five straight points for a 26-11 lead.

“The flip from offense to defense gave them some easy baskets then Jones got into a flow. They ran a little hand off play from behind for him. He’s a spinner. He’s a guy that likes to spin and get to the basket.”

In between, Matt Storeman made a layup and two foul shots before draining a long three-pointer from the top of the key.

Down 34-17 at the half, Altoona’s 7-0 run to open the second half made it a 10-point game.

Jayvion Queen scored on back-to-back possessions down low off entry passes from Nate Cherry then scored on a putback of a Cherry miss and converted a foul shot for the three-point play.

CM maintained a lead between nine and 12 points until midway through the fourth.

Cherry scored on the fast break and Jayvion Queen followed with two foul shots to make it a seven-point game, but the Wildcats sank 12-of-14 free throws down the stretch to close out the win.

The team as a whole shot 17-for-20 from the foul line and 14-of-17 in the fourth quarter. Storeman converted 9-of-11 free throws and finished with a team-high 18 points.

“That’s one of the things that got us a week earlier,” Bardo said of the free throw shooting. “We were pleased the team has bounced back the right way. That’s encouraging. We knew they were going to make a run and look to get their guards a little more involved with the way we were playing Jayvion down low. We gave up few more open shots than we wanted to, but we rebounded when we needed to and closed it out from the line.”

Jones had 17 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter, Issiah McCann scored 14 and Trevor Hanna added 16 points.

Queen finished with a game-high 32 points, but the Mountain Lions shot just 3-of-21 from the three-point line.

“We need to move the ball side-to-side. Teams are going to sit back in Jayvion’s lap until we’re able to knock down some shots. Our guards have to be able to knock down some shots and open up things,” West said.

Central Mountain improves to 9-5. Altoona falls to 5-11.

“I’m all about us being defensive players, competing on both ends of the floor, getting on the floor, making the game a little ugly, but you cant wait until you’re down 17 to do that,” West said.

CENTRAL MOUNTAIN (69): McCann 7 0-0 14, Jones 8 1-1 17, Storeman 4 9-11 18, Adair 0 4-4 4, Hanna 6 3-4 16, Pentz 0 0-0 0, Skrtich 0 0-0 0, Lavelle 0 0-0 0. Totals — 25 17-20 69.

ALTOONA (56): Crownover 2 0-1 5, Burchfield 2 1-2 7, Cherry 2 0-0 4, Petucci 2 0-0 4, Queen 13 6-10 32, Zerbee 2 0-0 4, Charles 0 0-0 0, Futrell 0 0-0 0, Crockett 0 0-0 0. Totals — 23 7-13 56.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Central Mountain 16 18 13 22 — 69

Altoona 11 6 20 19 — 56

3-point goals: Central Mountain 2 (Storeman, Hanna); Altoona 3 (Crownover, Burchfield 2).

Records: Central Mountain (9-5); Altoona (5-11).

JV: Altoona, 80-44. High scorers–Soo (CM) 15; Becker, Foose (A) 15.

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