Thursday was a night to celebrate for the Altoona girls basketball team. The Lady Lions celebrated before, during and after their game with Williamsport at the AAHS Fieldhouse.
Following a pre-game ceremony recognizing the four seniors on the team, another celebration ensued just before halftime when Kayla DeCriscio set a new school record for career 3-pointers.
The final kudos came when the final buzzer sounded on a 73-30 victory that wrapped up an 18-4 regular season.
DeCriscio drained a 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:54 left in the second quarter to break the record previously held by Katy Oblinger. Oblinger made 140 3-pointers from 2005-07.
Altoona called timeout, and a short ceremony was held at midcourt as the crowd and her teammates cheered her accomplishment before play was resumed.
DeCriscio had no idea she was on the cusp of a new school record until earlier in the day.
"I was shocked when I found out. Words can't describe how I feel right now," she said moments after the game. "It's a great honor to be in the book with athletes like Katy Oblinger. I remember bringing her flowers on her senior night."
The senior guard started the game 0-for-4 from behind the arc then coach Jill Helsel gave her a little instruction during a break in the action. DeCriscio immediately sank the record-setter and hit two more in the second half, putting her total at 143.
"I just told her to follow through and get up in the air a little more. Sometimes they just need a little boost to get going," Helsel said.
Altoona led 24-19 at halftime, but Williamsport scored the first five points of the third quarter to tie the game, 24-24.
The Lady Lions exploded after that. Altoona got its fastbreak rolling and ripped off a 25-4 run in the final 6:30 of the third quarter.
"Prior to the game we talked about taking care of the basketball and getting back on defense," Williamsport coach Derek Slaughter said. "We did a good job of that in the first half. In the second half, we got a little winded, and they got a lot of easy layups that extended their lead."
Altoona put an exclamation point on the victory with a 24-2 fourth quarter. DeCriscio finished with a game-high 17 points, and fellow senior Lauren Hippo scored 16 points and pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
Kaycie Reffner scored in double digits as well with 12 points.
The celebrations weren't just limited to the Lady Lions, though. The Williamsport seniors were introduced and honored prior to the game as well.
The Lady Millionaires senior night was scheduled for Saturday, but their opponent decided not to make the trip, leaving Williamsport with no game.
"It was really nice of Altoona to do that. We appreciated that gesture," Slaughter said. "Altoona's a class, class program that displays great sportsmanship. They're a real role-model program."
WILLIAMSPORT (30): Evans 2 2-2 6, Thomas 3 0-0 7, Littles 1 0-0 2, Belle 2 0-2 4, Fatherly 3 4-6 10, Porter 0 0-0 0, Dunkleberger 0 1-2 1, Whaley 0 0-0 0, Harsch 0 0-0 0, Southard 0 0-0 0, Erb 0 0-0 0. Totals - 11 7-12 30.
ALTOONA (73): Chesney 1 0-0 3, Servello 0 3-4 3, Hippo 6 0-0 16, DeCriscio 7 0-0 17, Su. Feathers 1 0-0 3, Reffner 5 2-2 12, Grimme 3 0-0 6, Lee 2 0-0 4, Hatch 0 0-0 0, Donley 1 0-0 3, Palfey 1 0-0 2, Iuzzolino 0 0-0 0, Sh. Feathers 2 0-0 4. Totals - 31 5-6 73.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Williamsport13 6 9 2 - 30
Altoona11 13 25 24 - 73
3-point goals: Williamsport 1 (Thomas); Altoona 6 (DeCriscio 3, Chesney, Su. Feathers, Donley).
Records: Williamsport (9-12); Altoona (18-4).
Officials: Mike Andrews, Jim Buchanan, Tom Fountaine.
JV: Altoona, 62-19. High scorers-Whaley, W, 5; Chesney, A, 19.