Altoona boys basketball coach Paul Hasson is at wit's end.
Despite playing solid defense, his Mountain Lions continue to struggle offensively, and continue to lose, too.
That was the story again Saturday afternoon when the Lions fell to Erie Strong Vincent, 54-42, at the AAHS Fieldhouse.
"The kids are struggling offensively," Hasson said. "We can't put the ball in the basket, and it really hurts us. Defensively, we played really well all week against three quality teams.
"By not scoring up to our capabilities, it's really frustrated us."
The Lions went 0-for-3 at home during the week, losing to Johnstown, McDowell and Strong Vincent. They've lost five straight and nine of their last 10 and own a 5-10 record with seven regular-season games remaining.
And, only one of the final seven games are at home - Gateway, Feb. 4.
The Lions started the season 4-1 before hitting the skids.
"We were scoring in the high-50s," Hasson said. "Now, we're probably down to about 45 a game, and the kids have to get their confidence back.
"We're going to have to get back in the gym Monday and shoot more," he said. "We shoot everyday, but we're going to have to spend more time on it."
The game was tied at 11-all after one quarter and Strong Vincent held a 24-18 lead at the half. The Colonels scored the first seven points of the third and took a 13-point advantage [39-26] into the final period. With two minutes left, Altoona was still within striking distance, 46-36, but an 8-0 run sealed it for SV.
The game ended on a bizarre note.
A foul was called on Strong Vincent at the buzzer - only the fifth of the half and 11th of the game on the visitors - and coach Shannon Pullium voiced his displeasure toward the officials. Darrell Jones called a technical on Pullium and ejected him as well.
Pullium, his staff and his team left the gym and Altoona reserve Tony Acrie sank four consecutive free throws with no time on the clock.
"We don't have a comment right now," Pullium replied when approached after the game.
However, the coach later said: "My team played hard and executed; we played a slow down game and we worked on our zone, but we've got to rebound a whole lot more."
The Colonels split their weekend in District 6, losing at State College on Friday night.
"We got everything that thought we'd get," Pullium said. "We knew State would be trouble and this would be trouble, too. We schedule them to get ready for the playoffs."
Pullium's son, Malquan, scored 17 points yesterday while DeAndre Henderson tallied 16. Sophomore Manny Span led Altoona with 13 and DeShae Lee added 10.
Game notes: Lions made only 15-of-60 shots, including 4-of-22 from 3-point range. ... SV shot 19-of-48. ... Colonels had a 34-31 edge in rebounds. ... Span have 9 rebounds while Rafeeq Barnes had 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. ... Lions visit Kiski Prep on Tuesday and Hollidaysburg on Friday.
ERIE STRONG VINCENT (54): Pullium 7 0-0 17, Jones 1 4-4 6, Henderson 5 6-8 16, Coleman 1 0-0 2, Vaughn 1 0-0 2, Gushey 2 2-2 7, Tatum 2 0-1 4. Totals - 19 12-15 54.
ALTOONA (42): Lee 4 0-0 10, Dry 0 0-0 0, Barnes 2 0-0 4, Span 5 3-8 13, Skelley 1 0-1 2, Moyer 2 1-2 7, Lytle 0 0-0 0, Butts 0 0-0 0, Hall 0 0-0 0, Berardinelli 0 0-0 0, Acrie 0 4-4 4, Pope 0 0-0 0, Eiman 1 0-0 2. Totals - 15 8-15 42.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Erie Strong Vincent11 13 15 15 - 54
Altoona11 7 8 16 - 42
3-point goals: Erie Strong Vincent 4 (Pullium 3, Gushey); Altoona 4 (Lee 2, Moyer 2).
Officials: Darrell Jones, Ray Wotkowski, Bill Correll.
Records: Erie Strong Vincent (9-5); Altoona (5-10).
JV: Altoona, 30-21. High scorers-Jarrett Berardinelli, Austin Pope, A, both 7.