After suffering a disappointing two-point loss to neighboring rival Hollidaysburg on Friday night, Altoona Area High School coach Paul Hasson wasn't sure what to expect when the Mountain Lions hosted Cumberland Valley on Saturday at the AAHS Fieldhouse.
He was pleasantly surprised.
Mark Watson clicked on six 3-pointers, scored 22 points, dished out five assists and had four rebounds as the Mountain Lions rolled over CV, 69-55, to even their record at 8-8.
"I think we showed a lot of character in bouncing back," Hasson said. "I'm really proud of the team after that hard loss last night.
"We could have laid down, but we didn't. It shows what we're made of and was really a big win for us."
Watson, a 6-foot junior guard, transferred from Johnstown a couple of weeks ago, and is making the transition look easy.
"Each game, he's understanding more and more what we're doing," Hasson said of Watson. "He's a good player and has a lot of skills.
"He certainly brings some offense to us, and I think that improves our defense, too."
With Altoona holding a 22-18 advantage late in the second quarter, Watson sparked a late 11-4 surge that gave the Lions a 33-22 lead at the half.
The Lions scored nine points in 68 seconds. After Watson nailed a trey from the corner, DeRon Lee and Moyer scored on fastbreaks. Watson capped the outburst with an acrobatic layup.
"It was pretty difficult," Danny Moyer said of the quick turnaround from the Hollidaysburg defeat, "but we knew we had to put it behind us and keep moving on. Hopefully, we'll see them in Loretto [in the District 6 championship game]."
Moyer, the Lions' junior point guard, had a solid game with 11 points and six assists.
"It was an uptempo game, and we were able to use a lot of our speed," he said.
Moyer said he felt early-on Watson was going to have a big game.
"The last two nights he's been hitting a lot of jump shots," Moyer said. "He keeps making 'em and we tell him to keep taking 'em."
Watson, who scored 20 points in the 43-41 loss to Hollidaysburg, hit two 3's in both the first and second quarters and bagged one each in the third and fourth.
Altoona outscored CV, 19-11, in the third quarter to hike its lead to 19 [52-33].
"Overall, it was a great team effort," Hasson said. "Gabe Skelley got a start and did a nice job. Zach Price and Dylan Foose both did nice jobs. Our bench gave us a lot tonight."
Skelley  and Foose  combined for 10 points, filling the void left by senior post player Joe Mooney, who is sidelined with a stress fracture and could miss 2-3 weeks.
"Our gameplan was to control their guards," Hasson said. "We did a good job of that and kept their big kids off the boards. Between Bert [Johnson], Dylan [Foose] and Skelley, they did their jobs on the boards.
"I was pleased with that effort."
Game notes: Lee, normally one of the Lions' leading scorers, had only four points, but eight assists. ... Johnson had 15 points and 12 rebounds. ... Skelley had five rebounds. ... As a team, Altoona had 25 rebounds and 22 assists. ... Lions travel to State College on Tuesday and Gateway next Saturday before returning home to host Williamsport on Feb. 10.
CUMBERLAND VALLEY (55): Jo. Wilson 5 2-3 12, Ju. Wilson 1 2-2 4, Palkovitz 4 1-2 10, Cuthrall 1 0-0 2, Daubert 3 1-3 7, Maloney 0 2-2 2, Tolbert 1 3-4 5, Little 3 3-5 9, Craig 2 0-1 4. Totals - 20 14-22 55.
ALTOONA (69): Lee 2 0-0 4, Johnson 6 3-7 15, Skelley 3 0-0 6, Moyer 4 2-2 11, Price 3 0-0 6, Watson 8 0-0 22, Foose 1 2-3 4, Barnes 0 0-0 0, Dry 0 0-2 0, Lytle 0 1-2 1, Williams 0 0-0 0. Totals - 27 8-16 69.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Cumberland Valley11 11 11 22 - 55
Altoona16 17 19 17 - 69
3-point goals: Cumberland Valley 1 (Palkovitz); Altoona 7 (Watson 6, Moyer).
Officials: Darrell Jones, Bill Correll, Dave Heim.
Records: Cumberland Valley (8-9); Altoona (8-8).
JV: Cumberland Valley, 55-47. High scorers-Gray Kline, CV, 17; Matt Dry, A, 12.