HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Hollidaysburg Area High School boys basketball team hosted a tough Hempfield team that was entering Saturday's game with a mark of 9-1.
The Spartans had not lost a ballgame in more than one month of play, since dropping a game to Greensburg Central Catholic by two points on Dec. 7.
The Tigers were unable to slow the surging Spartan team, falling, 58-51, Saturday afternoon at the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School Gymnasium.
"They're a very good team," Hollidaysburg coach Mick Pentoney said following the game. "They've got an excellent guard and a very good post player, with depth at the position. I thought we played as well as we could play today, besides a few turnovers that led to easy baskets."
The Tigers were tough in the first quarter, outscoring Hempfield, 19-13. The quarter began with Tony Pilato scoring the first basket of the game for the Spartans and Hollidaysburg's Ryan Adams answering right back. Pilato scored again for Hempfield, giving his squad the lead back. The next trip down the court, Hollidaysburg junior Jesse Ottaway scored a basket that tied it at 4.
But after that, Hempfield scored the next three points to give it a 7-4, advantage. The Tigers outscored their foe, 15-6, for the remainder of the first. Adams scored four during the span, while De'Andre Mason made a trey. After the surprising first quarter in which the Tigers played so well, Hempfield took control from that point forward - outscoring Hollidaysburg, 16-11, in the quarter. Going into the locker room, the Tigers' lead was down to the slimmest of margins at 30-29.
Nick Consiglio, the Tigers' junior guard, came out of the locker room, looking more aggressive to score, scoring the team's first six points. The last gave his team a 36-30 lead. The Spartans outscored the Tigers, 14-2.
Following back-to-back layups by Hempfield, that made it an eight-point advantage, the Tigers scored the next six points, cutting the deficit to just a pair. The hosts were unable to get any closer.
"I thought Hollidaysburg outplayed us from the opening tip," Hempfield coach Mark Marino said. "They played with more intensity. It's something, we as a coaching staff need to address."
The Tigers had some serious issues stopping the size and strength of 6-foot-7 junior Pilato. He finished second on the team behind Kason Harrell's game-high 23 points with 14.
"He [Pilato] is very good at getting early post position and then puts down stakes," Marino said. "That's a problem."
The Tigers, now sitting at 5-5, are back in action Wednesday against Williamsport and host Altoona on Friday.
The Spartans improved to 10-1 and play at Norwin High School Friday.
HEMPFIELD (58): Beresford 0 1-4 1, Nauman 4 3-5 12, Swan 2 0-2 4, Clayton 0 0-0 0, George 2 0-0 4, Harrell 9 4-5 23, Flock 0 0-0 0, Pilato 4 6-9 14. - 21 14-25 59.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (51): Sheetz 4 2-2 10, Adams 6 0-1 13, Mason 1 2-4 5, Viduya 0 0-0 0, Consiglio 3 55 11, Snyder 1 0-0 3, Ottaway 1 0-0 2, Holsopple 3 0-0 7. Totals - 19 9-12 51.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Hempfield13 16 15 14 - 58
Hollidaysburg19 11 8 13 - 51
3 pointers: Hempfield 2 (Nauman, Horell). Hollidaysburg 4 (Adams, Mason, Snyder, Holsopple).
Records: Hempfield (10-1). Hollidaysburg (5-5).
JV: Hempfield, 54-53.