Altoona High boys' basketball coach Paul Hasson and his staff appeared to be in shock Thursday night while sitting around the coaches' room dissecting another disappointing performance by the Mountain Lions.
The Lions absorbed a 43-27 pasting from East Stroudsburg North in the Altoona Area School District-Jaffa Shrine Holiday Classic at the AAHS Fieldhouse and fell to 1-5 on the season.
"We worked so hard this week for this game and to come out so flat offensively is pretty frustrating," Hasson said.
"Their quickness kind of scared me so we went into a zone and it really didn't hurt us," he said. "We slowed them down, but put ourselves in a hole because we couldn't put the ball in the hoop.
"Our shooting is horrendous - from the foul line and field."
Altoona's guards made only 1-of-19 shots from 2-point land and 1-of-8 from 3-point range. As a unit, the Lions were 9-of-36 from the field and 6-of-18 from the free throw line.
"That's the story of the game, right there," Hasson said, eyeing the stat sheet. "And, when we get it inside, we miss easy shots."
Two Altoona starters did not score while Manny Span, despite making only 1-of-9 free throws, led the Lions with 15 points. He also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Because of a scorebook error, the game began with a technical foul. ESN's Will Quiles made both free ones and the visiting Timberwolves never trailed, leading 10-7 after one quarter, 23-14 at the half and 29-18 after three.
"I was a little worried because of the four-hour bus ride," ESN coach Kevin Kennedy said.
The Class AAAA Timberwolves play in District 11 and usually see a different style of game.
"Back home, we play with hands [defensively]," Kennedy said. "We got in foul trouble the second half tonight because we were playing with our hands.
"Other than that, I thought we handled ourselves pretty well."
Kennedy was particularly happy with his team's quick start.
"It's always nice to get out in front and get comfortable," he said. "We were pretty comfortable by halftime. We had a lead where we could afford to make a mistake and recover from it."
Now 6-1 on the season, the Timberwolves had several chances to put the game away in the second half, but couldn't hit the big shot.
"That's one of our weaknesses," Kennedy said. "Sometimes we don't keep our composure and don't make the right play or right pass.
"Defense has been our key," he said. "We didn't know much about Altoona, but if we thought we'd win the game, if we could keep them in the low 40s."
East Stroudsburg North will play Euclid, Ohio, for the tournament's boys championship today at 2 p.m. at the AAHS Fieldhouse. Euclid beat Pine-Richland, 52-44, in the other first-round game Thursday as Jamil Clark scored 18 points and Chavez Harper 15.
Meanwhile, it's back to the drawing board for Altoona, which plays in the boys' consolation game at 5:30 p.m. today.
"The players are upset and the coaches are upset, but nobody's going to pity us," Hasson said. "We have to regroup and see what we can do against Pine-Richland."
EAST STROUDSBURG NORTH (43): D. Quiles 3 0-1 6, Thompson 2 0-0 4, John 4 0-0 8, Battle 3 2-2 8, W. Quiles 4 3-5 11, Byrd 0 0-0 0. Drakeford 2 2-2 6, Cox 0 0-0 0. Totals - 18 7-10 43.
ALTOONA (27): Givens 1 3-5 5, Span 7 1-9 15, Acrie 0 0-0 0, Simmons 2 0-0 5, Berardinelli 0 0-0 0, Samuel 0 2-2 2, Kerwin 0 0-2 0. Totals - 10 6-18 27.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
E. Stroudsburg North10 13 6 14 - 43
Altoona7 7 4 9 - 27
3-point goals: Altoona 1 (Simmons).
Officials: Mike Andrews, Jim Buchanan, Denny Gramling.
Records: East Stroudsburg North (6-1); Altoona (1-5).