CM girls fall to Altoona
It came down the wire in the final seconds of the game as it was anyone’s contest to win. Altoona’s Adalynn Cherry hit two clutch free throws to help the Mountain Lions win 45-44. Cherry also led Altoona with 20 points, as she drained four three-pointers.
“If you look up the definition of a leader, there’s a picture of her,” said Altoona coach Chris Fleegle, “She’s a great teammate, a non-selfish person, and always first in the gym. She’s had a major impact on the team and future with the program.”
Central Mountain freshman guard Ava Renninger led the Wildcats with 15 points.
It was tightly-contested from tip off to the buzzer as that is exactly what Central Mountain coach Scott Baker wanted with the playoffs looming.
“Having the opportunity to play good competition going into our playoff game, other than not coming out with a win, was exactly what we wanted tonight.”
Baker indicates the importance of a close game like this, because most of the Wildcats’ wins this season were not closely contested.
“Playing in those tight games is important, so we can experience that. It also gives us the ability to execute in key situations.”
During the first half, no one had an edge as Central Mountain nearly led 24-22 at the halftime break. Turnovers were the story early for Altoona as they committed seven throughout the first half. However, Altoona shot the three ball more efficiently than the Wildcats throughout the half to stay in pace, draining three of nine throughout the first half compared to Central Mountain’s three for fourteen shooting from deep.
Scoring was slow for both squads in the beginning of the third quarter. Cherry drained her fourth of five three pointers at the five minute mark of the quarter to tie it 25-25. The Wildcats countered back with their own 6-0 run. Altoona were resilient as they put on a 5-0 run themselves to only trail 37-34 after the third.
Altoona’s defense in the final quarter was their strength as they held the Wildcats to seven points, a sight Central Mountain is not used to seeing as the fourth quarter has been their quarter this season.
“They were a tough team to guard, because they had five players on the court that can all score, said Coach Fleegle. “So you really can’t stay off anyone or else they’ll make you pay, so we lucked out.”
Central Mountain showed ambition in the start of the final quarter as they started implementing a 2-3 zone that disrupted Altoona’s offensive flow, resulting in three early turnovers.
Altoona ultimately were able to adjust to end on a 9-3 run to secure the victory.
Central Mountain now has their sights at the playoffs, as they end their regular season with a 15-3 record.
“We got to be able to buckle down,” said Coach Baker. “Every little play is important. It’s not just a shot in the end of the game or something, we got to execute all those things.”
Central Mountain’s first playoff game will be held on Saturday, March 13 at home against a team to be announced.
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN (44)
Ava Renninger 4 6-10 15, Quinlynn McCann 6 0-2 13, Kiahna Jones 2 3-7 7, Avery Baker 2 0-0 5, Alyssa Fisher 1 0-0 3, Mia Kopysciansky 0 1-2 1. Totals 15 10-23 44.
Adalynn Cherry 5 6-9 20, Adaliz Corbin 7 0-0 14, Smith 2 2-2 7, Rupert 1 0-0 2, Cree 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 8-13 45.
Altoona 12 10 12 11 – 45
Central Mountain 13 11 13 7 – 44
3-point goals: Altoona 5 (Cherry 4, Smith 1); Central Mountain 4 (Renninger, McCann, Baker, Fisher).
Records: Central Mountain (15-3), Altoona (11-6).