HOLLIDAYSBURG - Mick Pentoney had to excuse himself part way through his postgame interview because his 6-year-old son somehow had gotten himself trapped in one of the lockers in the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School boys basketball team room.
It was somehow fitting on a crazy evening when both teams' offenses were completely locked up, too.
Amid a raucous atmosphere in a packed gym, Pentoney's homestanding Golden Tigers survived 28.2 percent combined shooting by both teams, the loss of point guard Jarrett Shannon to injury in the first minute, an 11-for-21 effort at the line and a skirmish that resulted in five ejections to even its season series with Altoona, 36-28, in boys basketball on Friday night.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Hollidaysburg’s Dylan?Walters puts up a shot between Altoona defenders Danny Moyer (left) and Rafeeq Barnes.
Better to win a game in which the emotion overmatched the playing ability, but even the usually glib Pentoney was left measuring his words. Hollidaysburg kept Altoona sliding by snapping its own two-game losing streak to move to 7-8.
"It got a little out of control there, but it's a great high school environment. In this day and age when a high school kid can get to play like that, it's kind of fun,'' Pentoney said. "Neither one of us are having the greatest of seasons. I'm happy for our kids. Things worked out for us.''
Senior Dylan Walters provided the key to victory for the Tigers, pulling up on a perfect 10-foot bank shot with 3:04 left for the first points of the fourth quarter to give Hollidaysburg all the points it would need with a 30-26 lead.
"Towards the end, neither team scored too much. It felt like it might be the game-winner,'' said Walters, who shared team scoring honors with Jordan Baum by popping in eight points. "We were in the bonus, and I was just trying to get to the line, but, when one of them stepped in, I pulled up.''
"This is really an important win, especially on our home floor.''
The game reached its crescendo with at the 2:53 mark of the third quarter, when, after Altoona's DeShae Lee was called for a charge, Mountain Lion reserve forward Manny Span had to be separated from the Tigers' Nathan Figart.
"I was trying to pull Nathan Figart out of there, then a ref came and pulled me out,'' Walters said. "I've been in stuff like that before in summer league and stuff, but not that bad.''
After several minutes of deliberation, the officiating trio of Jim Lashinsky, Jim Harnish and Ray Danel ejected Span, along with Altoona's Jaret Berardinelli, Jabril Hill and Tony Acrie and Hollidaysburg's Dan Nagle for leaving their respective bench areas; Nagle was escorted from the court by a security guard.
In the confusion, the offensive foul on Lee, which would have been his fourth foul, was assessed to Brandon Lytle.
Hollidaysburg's Jordan Baum made 2-of-4 technical free throws to pull Hollidaysburg to within 26-23. That was the beginning of a 15-2 Tiger run to finish the game.
"We had the upper hand most of the game until that point. After the incident, I kept trying to stress to the players we have to get back to playing basketball. Hollidaysburg played better basketball than we did from that point on,'' Altoona coach Paul Hasson, whose team had beaten the Tigers by six points on Dec. 16, said. "We struggled offensively.''
That's been the story of the Lions' season. Altoona was unable to reach 45 points for the sixth game in a row and the ninth time this season in losing its seventh consecutive contest to fall to 5-12 after a 4-1 start. Danny Moyer's 10 points fronted the Lions, who had nine points in the first four minutes and scored five more in the last 11 seconds of the first half.
"We're lacking confidence,'' Hasson said. "We're working hard in the gym trying to get it back, working on shooting, and we're going to keep doing it.''
While Hollidaysburg shot 21 foul shots, Altoona didn't attempt a free throw.
"Wow. In a game that physical, I'm shocked. That only happened to me one other time, that was about 27 years ago. But I'm not going blame it on us not shooting fouls. I'm going to blame it on us not scoring. We had plenty of opportunities,'' Hasson said.
Altoona was 12-for-48 from the floor, but Hollidaysburg wasn't much better: 12-of-37. Hollidaysburg opened the game with five offensive rebounds on its first possession without scoring and had eight of its 13 turnovers before Altoona had any.
The Tigers also played most of the game without their most experienced player - Jarrett Shannon, who tore his ACL during holiday tournament action - went to the floor holding his braced left knee and had to be carried off at 7:18 of the first quarter.
"We wanted to win this game for him,'' Walters said of Shannon, who just returned Monday so he could play against Altoona. "We've had our ups and downs. It was nice to be out there with my team and get this win.''
Game notes: Hollidaysburg finished with one more rebound, 33-32, and four fewer turnovers, 17-13. ... In a junior varsity game that had 40 fouls, Hollidaysburg pulled out a 50-45 win behind Dom Viduya's 22 points. .... Altoona travels to State College on Tuesday. Hollidaysburg's next game is at home against Central Mountain on Wednesday.
ALTOONA (28): Dry 1 0-0 3, Moyer 4 0-0 10, Lee 2 0-0 4, Barnes 2 0-0 4, Skelley 0 0-0 0, Lytle 0 0-0 0, Span 0 0-0 0, Hall 0 0-0 0, Butts 2 0-0 5. Totals - 12 0-0 28.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (36): Shannon 0 0-0 0, Urban 2 2-2 7, Baum 2 4-8 8, Walters 3 2-5 8, Figart 2 0-0 4, Ottaway 3 0-0 6, Ford 0 3-6 3, Nagle 0 0-0 0, Viduya 0 0-0 0. Totals - 12 11-21 36.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Altoona9 10 7 7 - 28
Hollidaysburg6 8 14 8 - 36
3-point goals: Altoona 4 (Moyer 2, Butts, Dry); Hollidaysburg 1 (Urban).
Records: Altoona (5-12); Hollidaysburg (7-8).
Officials: Jim Harnish, Ray Danel, Jim Lashinsky
JV: Hollidaysburg, 50-45. High scorers-Tony Acrie, Jabril Hill, A, 10 each; Dom Vinduya, H, 22.