HOLLIDAYSBURG - Dean Rossi is retiring after 24 years as athletic director at Hollidaysburg Area High School, and Mick Pentoney and the Golden Tigers want to send him out a winner.
The Tigers trimmed Bishop McCort, 67-60, in the opening round of the 2012 Golden Tiger Roundball Classic on Wednesday and will play for the tournament championship on Friday.
"We're thankful to get in the final," Pentoney said. "It's our tournament and we've only missed the final once.
Mirror photos by Patrick Waksmunski
Hollidaysburg’s Zach Ottaway cuts around Bishop McCort’s Gap Barbin during the Golden Tigers’ win in the opening round of the Golden Tigers Roundball Classic on Wednesday evening. Ottaway scored 24 points.
"Hopefully, we can put something together and get Dean [Rossi] one last win in a tournament before he goes."
The Tigers will play the winner of tonight's Erie McDowell-Transit Tech game for the title on Friday.
Hollidaysburg entered Wednesday's game against McCort with only one win in four starts but the Tigers trailed only once [6-4] against the Crimson Crushers. The hosts scored the final 10 points to lead 14-6 after one quarter and led by as many as 12 [23-11] before settling for a 25-16 advantage at intermission.
When Zach Ottaway nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, the Tigers led by 43-31 after three quarters.
"We kept our scoring more consistent tonight," Pentoney said. "We've been really struggling with that. [Point guard] Brian Urban did a much better job creating more offense and Zach Ottaway had a field day.
"We had a couple other kids [Eric Miller and Nick Consiglio] hit some 3's, and I think we're finally starting to find our way," Pentoney noted.
Hollidaysburg led by as many as 18 [63-45] before Nemo Trexler took advantage of Ottaway's foul problems and got McCort within striking distance late in the game.
Trexler scored 18 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late for the Crushers.
Ottaway led Hollidaysburg with 24 points.
"Zach is a well-rounded player who can be a matchup problem," Pentoney said of his 6-foot-6 senior center. "They were switching a lot of different guys to guard him and we did a better job of screening to get him open.
"Their size was a concern," Pentoney said, "but our guards played good defense and were consistent in getting to their shooters."
McCort coach Patrick Hollern was disappointed with his team's performance but was impressed with the Tigers' play.
"Hollidaysburg did such a very good job of controlling the basketball by stepping to the open spots on the floor and making good shots," Hollern said.
The Crushers were inconsistent, Hollern said.
"We take too many breaks, offensively and defensively," he said. "We have a lot of growing up to do, but take nothing away from Hollidaysburg. They played well and made key shots down the stretch when they needed to."
Game notes: Several area coaches, athletic directors and District 6 officials were among the many people who attended a reception for Rossi in the school's auxiliary gym prior to the game. ... Superintendent Paul Gallagher presented a plaque to Rossi and his family at halftime and said the plaque will be permanently displayed at the HAHS gym. ... Gallagher noted that Rossi, a former Bellwood-Antis and Penn State athlete, coached at Altoona High and Derry Area, as well as Juniata College, and was an NFL scout before taking the athletic director's job at Hollidaysburg in 1988.
BISHOP McCORT (60): Ingram 0 0-0 0, Trexler 10 7-9 27, Hipp 7 1-2 17, Spangler 1 2-2 5, Barbin 2 0-0 4, Rugg 1 0-0 2, Howard 1 0-0 3, Pastorek 0 2-2 2, Price 0 0-0 0, Helsel 0 0-0 0, Junker 0 0-0 0. Totals - 22 12-15 60.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (67): Miller 3 0-0 7, Urban 3 1-5 7, Ottaway 9 5-8 24, Viduya 1 2-2 4, Mason 4 1-4 9, Consiglio 4 0-0 10, Ruggery 1 0-0 2, Holsopple 1 2-2 4. Totals - 26 11-21 67.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop McCort6 10 15 29 - 60
Hollidaysburg14 11 18 24 - 67
3-point goals: Bishop McCort 4 (Hipp 2, Spangler, Howard); Hollidaysburg 4 (Consiglio 2, Miller, Ottaway).
Officials: Gary Zimmerman, Mike Andrews, Dick Wagner.
Records: Bishop McCort (2-1); Hollidaysburg (2-3).