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Big Shots No. 14

Go West

March 3, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
This is the seventh in a 20-day series on the biggest shots in Blair County high school basketball over the last 50 years. The Mirror is counting down one per day until Sunday, March 16.

—Buck Frank

Player: Doug West, Altoona

Opponent: Washington, D.C. St. John’s

Date: Saturday, Feb. 23, 1985

Site: Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse

Setting the scene: Altoona blitzed through its first 20 opponents of the season, but national power St. John’s loomed on the schedule. The game was sold out days in advance and was played before 2,600 fans at the Fieldhouse and was broadcast live on local cable access.

The shot: West’s shot near the end of regulation sent the game to its first overtime. In double overtime, behind a Mike Iuzzolino screen with 10 seconds remaining and Altoona trailing 43-42, West sank a 20-foot jumper to lift the Mountain Lions, 44-43.

Mirror excerpt from Monday, Feb. 25, 1985: Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script. The biggest game of the season ... tremendous crowd ... double overtime ... the home team wins in the closing seconds.

— Jim Lane

(To view the entire original articles from this game, go to


—West: “I remember the intensity and electricity leading up to the game, and in the gym and city that evening. There was no way we were going to lose at home. I remember making the shot, and everything seemed to be in slow motion. It was a great feeling in a great game.’’

—Larry Betar, coach: “The atmosphere for that game was incredible.’’

Aftermath: Altoona remained unbeaten until falling to Brashear in the PIAA Class AAAA Western final. West went on to star at Villanova University and the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. He currently is an assistant men’s basketball coach at Villanova.

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