WINGATE - The playoffs brought the promise of new life for the Altoona Area High School boys basketball team.
Unfortunately for the Mountain Lions, that new life appeared to be the subject for a sequel to the movie "Groundhog Day.''
As has been customary for the Lions in 2011-12, the defense was impeccable. The offense, however, as has happened so many times throughout the campaign, failed to be able to take advantage of that effort yet again. Altoona managed just one field goal in the last 10 minutes, 12 seconds and squandered a six-point fourth-quarter lead and was eliminated by DuBois in the District 6 Class AAAA quarterfinals in overtime, 48-40, on Wednesday night at Bald Eagle Area High School.
Photos for the Mirror by Christopher Shannon
Altoona’s Danny Moyer dishes the ball in traffic against DuBois.
Altoona finished the season 7-16. It was the 10th game this season the Lions were unable to surpass 40 points.
"We've struggled all season offensively. Our defense is solid,'' Altoona coach Paul Hasson said. "We've lost a couple of games where we've held teams to under 40 points.''
Altoona would have accomplished that and won had it been able to finish the Beavers (17-6) off in regulation. The Lions managed to gain the upper hand in a back-and-forth game on back-to-back 3-pointer by Matt Dry and Danny Moyer at the end of the third quarter. When Manny Span put back a missed trey with 6:12 left in regulation, Altoona had secured a 33-27 lead.
That appeared to be a huge margin in such a low-scoring contest.
DuBois, though, got 3-pointers from Mark Felix and Nate Avery to erase its deficit. The Beavers even pulled ahead on Tanner Gooden's lean-in field goal, but Moyer made a fallaway at the 1:10 mark of the fourth quarter to force overtime.
Altoona missed the first shot in the extra session. DuBois rebounded and went on to score the next eight points to earn a meeting with second-seeded Mifflin County on Saturday afternoon back at BEA.
"We've been in a couple of overtime games this year. We beat West Mifflin and we beat Allegany. I felt pretty good,'' Hasson said. "Then we went through that lull, and DuBois capitalized.''
Gooden had two assists to Nate Liddle to start overtime before making 5-of-6 free throws to complete a 16-point night. It wasn't the first time DuBois had come back in the second half on this floor this season; the Beavers erased a 20-point deficit to beat Bald Eagle Area on the road.
"We have a great group of guys coming off the bench, and the seniors did a great job. We felt confident,'' Liddle said. "We've been in that situation before.''
The 3-point shot was an ally of the Beavers most of the night, allowing them to counter the athleticism and strength inside that concerned their coach, Scott Creighton. DuBois made 6-of-15 shots from behind the arc, compared to 4-of-19 for Altoona. In addition to the key 3s in the fourth quarter, Felix buried one at the buzzer of the first period and reserve Jon Mohney drained one from the corner with 2.0 seconds left in the first half.
"It's been a solid part of our offense,'' Creighton said of the 3-point shot. "There've been games where we've made eight or nine. It's definitely a weapon of ours.''
"They were tough shots,'' Hasson said. "We did what we wanted to do [defending them].''
Dry and DeShae Lee led Altoona with 10 points apiece, while Span had eight off the bench. Altoona outrebounded the Beavers by six and managed to take eight more shots from the field, while getting to the line two more times.
"We were able to use our athleticism and speed,'' Hasson said. "Then they hit a couple of shots. In overtime, we just couldn't score.''
The Mountain Lions averaged about 44 points per game this season, down 10 points from last year. However, their top three scorers from Wednesday's game are underclassmen. Six of nine players Hasson put on the court will be back next season.
"Shooting the ball is a skill,'' Hasson said. "Most coaches want their kids to play good defense. We've done that. We're looking for our underclassmen to work on the offensive fundamentals.
"We know what we have to do in the offseason.''
ALTOONA (40): Dry 4 0-0 10, Moyer 2 0-0 5, Lee 3 4-5 10, Barnes 1 1-2 3, Skelley 0 0-0 0, Span 3 2-4 8, Lytle 0 1-2 1, Butts 1 0-0 3, Berardinelli 0 0-0 0. Totals - 14 8-13 40.
DUBOIS (48): Gooden 5 5-616, Liddle 2 0-2 4, Felix 4 0-0 13, Avery 4 0-1 9, Lydick 0 1-2 1, Pftingstler 1 0-0 2, Hoffer 1 0-0 2, Mohney 1 0-0 3. Totals - 18 6-11 48.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Altoona11 7 10 9 3 -40
DuBois11 9 5 12 11-48
3-point goals: Altoona 4 (Butts, Dry 2, Moyer); DuBois 6 (Felix 3, Gooden, Mohey, Avery).
Team records: Altoona (7-16); DuBois (17-6).
Officials: Jim Racchini, Jason Moschgat, Cliff Kitner.