The final seconds of the Altoona-McDowell game Friday night was a chess match, and Kraig Hetz made his last move pay off.
Trailing 35-34 with :06.9 seconds remaining, McDowell called timeout to set up an inbounds play, but Altoona coach Paul Hasson called a timeout before play resumed.
"I'm glad [Altoona] called a timeout because we actually drew something up that we hadn't run all year," said Hetz, who coached the Mountain Lions before taking the McDowell job six years ago. "Our two posts set a double [screen] for No. 23 [Michael Beck] and we got an open shot."
Hetz originally set a play for Jarrett Koper, his best shooter, but Beck got the ball when the play was changed and he nailed a jumper from the right of the foul lane to give the Trojans the victory, 36-35.
"We got a really good look and that's all you can ask. Luckily, he knocked it down," Hetz said of his 6-foot-3 sophomore guard.
Four seconds were left, but Altoona had no timeouts remaining and didn't even get off a desperation shot. Instead, the Lions, who started the season 4-1, got their eighth loss in the last nine games.
"There was a little chess game going on," Hasson said. "I thought the pressure was on their offense. They had to put the ball in the hoop because we were up.
"We tried to freeze them a little with the timeouts, but I think they ran what they were going to run," he said. "They ran several screens and the kid made a tough shot. Give him credit."
Hasson was proud of the Lions' performance, though.
"We practiced really hard the last couple days and played real hard tonight," he said. "I told the kids they have nothing to be ashamed of because they played their hearts out."
Altoona continued to have trouble scoring. DeShae Lee (18 points) and Rafeeq Barnes (13) combined for 31 of the Lions' 35 points. In fact, Lee accounted for all 12 of the team's first-half points.
"The effort was there. The defense was solid," Hasson said, "but we've got to get more-balanced scoring."
The game was tied, 6-6, after one quarter and McDowell led, 13-12, at the break. A 6-0 run in the final two minutes gave the Trojans a 25-22 edge after three periods.
There were three ties in the fourth before Barnes' layup and free throw gave the Lions the 35-34 lead with 46 seconds to go. That set the stage for Beck's game-winner.
"Altoona kids scrapped," Hetz said. "[Lee] is a really good player, and Paul Hasson's doing a good job with those guys. I know they've had a lot of close games and close losses.
"Coming all the way down here and playing a game is hard for any team, so I'm glad we're going home with a win, rather than a loss."
Game notes: McDowell, which lost all five starters from last year's team, improved to 7-6. ... Trojans bused back to Erie after the game because this afternoon's game at State College was canceled due to the threat of inclement weather. ... Lions host Erie Strong Vincent today at 2:30. ESV lost at State College, 75-46, Friday. ... Altoona won a thrilling jayvee game, 44-41, as Tony Acrie scored 17 points.
MCDOWELL (36): C. Lewis 2 2-2 6, Koper 3 1-2 7, Beck 5 2-2 14, Nientim 0 0-0 0, Wolf 2 0-0 4, Santillan 0 3-4 3 Hansen 0 0-0 0, Basch 0 0-0 0, Strohenger 1 0-0 2. Totals - 13 8-10 36.
ALTOONA (35): Lee 6 5-8 18, Dry 0 0-0 0, Lytle 0 0-0 0, Barnes 6 1-1 13, Span 1 0-0 2, Moyer 0 0-0 0, Skelley 1 0-0 2, Butts 0 0-0 0. Totals - 14 6-9 35.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
McDowell6 7 12 11 - 36
Altoona6 6 10 13 - 35
3-point goals: McDowell 2 (Beck 2); Altoona 1 (Lee).
Officials: Steve Searer, John Thompson, Jeff Heider.
Records: McDowell (7-6); Altoona (5-9).
JV: Altoona, 44-41. High scorer-Tony Acrie, A, 17.