As a player, Paul Hasson was one of Bishop Guilfoyle High School's all-time leading scorers.
But, as a coach, defense is his forte.
Hasson's Altoona Mountain Lions won their fourth straight game Friday night, beating Allegany of Cumberland, Md., 60-45, at the AAHS Fieldhouse, and the Altoona coach said defense is the reason.
"It feels good," Hasson said of the Lions' 4-0 start. "We weren't real sharp in some areas, but we did what we had to do.
"Our defense was solid - except for the blocking out," Hasson said. "We didn't block out well and that disappointed me. We've got to block out a heckuva lot better [Saturday] against Shaler or we'll be in trouble."
But, he quickly returned to the positive, noting: "That's four teams we've held in the 40s, and Allegany came in here having scored more than 80 points in each of their first two games."
Allegany jumped out to an early lead before sophomore Kevin Givens came off the bench to score a couple of buckets in close and give Altoona a 15-10 advantage after one quarter.
With Tony Acrie and Austin Pope combining for 11 points in the second quarter, the Mountain Lions expanded their lead to 30-19 at intermission.
The visiting Campers closed the gap to 39-32 after three quarters but Altoona finished strong, outscoring Allegany, 21-13, in the final eight minutes. The Lions iced it by sinking 11-of-15 free throws down the stretch.
"Our balanced scoring was good," Hasson said. "That sticks out to me."
Manny Span dominated the paint with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Acrie scored inside and out and finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, and Dry contributed 10 points. All told, nine Lions got into the scoring column.
"We've just got to keep working and we'll be all right," said Span.
Span, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound junior, suffered two concussions that kept him sidelined most of the football season, but he said he's feeling a lot better now.
"I'm getting back in the groove," Span said. "It's been good and I'm feeling a lot better. The guys have been great, but we've got to keep working."
Allegany coach Ted Eirich was impressed with the Lions.
"We know coming up here that Altoona is going to be very physical," Eirich said. "The first half we got down because they outmuscled us all over the floor. When you get down to a good team like Altoona, it's tough to fight back.
"When you get behind, you've got to be near-perfect, and we weren't," he said. "Altoona's got a real good team."
Game notes: Trent Eirich, the coach's son, led Allegany with 16 points. ... A moment of silence was held prior to the game out of respect for Friday's shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
ALLEGANY (45): D'Atri 0 0-0 0, Eirich 6 3-4 16, Nightengale 3 1-4 7, Bosley 2 4-4 8, Sivic 2 3-4 7, Thomas 3 0-3 7, Hawkins 0 0-0 0. Totals - 16 11-19 45.
ALTOONA (60): Dry 2 5-6 10, Lytle 2 0-0 5, Span 6 1-4 13, Berardinelli 1 5-6 7, Acrie 5 1-1 11, Hill 1 0-0 2, Givens 3 0-0 6, Pope 2 0-0 4, Hancock 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0, Damon 0 2-2 2, Wilson 0 0-0 0. Totals - 22 14-19 60.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Allegany10 9 13 13 - 45
Altoona15 15 9 21 - 60
3-point goals: Allegany 2 (Eirich, Thomas); Altoona 2 (Dry, Lytle).
Officials: Chris Rickens, Dave Heim, Sean Albright.
Records: Allegany (2-1); Altoona (4-0).
JV: Altoona won, 41-33.