Donley, Altoona cruise past Central Mountain
MILL HALL -While the temperatures in Bald Eagle Township were downright frigid Thursday, the gym at Central Mountain High School was white hot.
You can thank Altoona’s sharp-shooting Lauren Donley.
Donley, along with teammate Darby Lee, sparked a 71-31 victory over Central Mountain.
“Altoona is a very good team,” Central Mountain coach Lindsey Rogers said. “We didn’t back down from the challenge tonight. I thought we put out a good effort.”
Altoona started the game fast, shooting an impressive 15-of-17 to start the game and applied a crushing press on the defensive end of the floor.
“I thought we executed well,” Altoona coach Jill Helsel said. “We played some good defense. We wanted to do some pressing and work on our trapping zones. Overall, we still have some things to work on, but I was happy with the effort.”
The hot-handed Donley started the game draining six of her first seven 3-pointers and finished the game with eight total – landing her just one shy of the Altoona single-game record.
“She [Donley] has been struggling a bit,” Helsel said. “Tonight, she was on. It was good to see her hit some big shots.”
While Donley was lighting up the scoreboard from outside, Lee controlled the interior for the Lady Lions, pouring in a game-high 26, while adding nine rebounds and six blocks.
“That is the best all-around game I have seen her play,” Helsel said. “She was passing the ball well, she was rebounding and scoring from the high post. She had an all-around good game. Her presence is calming for the other kids. She is our post leader.”
Altoona jumped all over the Lady Wildcats from the opening tip – grabbing a 39-13 lead after the first frame.
It was the work of Donley and Lee that did the most damage.
Donley drained her first six 3-point attempts for 18 in the frame; while Lee added 10 points of her own.
For the Wildcats, Krista Heckman and Kara Heckman did the majority of work on the offensive end, combining for 11 of the opening 13 points.
Coming out in the second, it was much of the same, as Altoona started to work the ball inside to Lee – who added another 10 points onto her total in the frame.
At one point, Lee was responsible for eight straight points – all in the paint.
While Altoona’s offense was firing on all cylinders, the Lady Lion defense was stifling – holding Central Mountain to just seven second-quarter points.
“It was good to see our presssure hold up,” Helsel said. “The last time we played Central Mountain, we got a little soft and I challenged them tonight to play for four quarters.”
Coming out of the half, the Lady Lions held a 54-20 lead and the tempo slowed down.
ALTOONA (71): Reffner 3 0-1 6, Dibert 3 1-2 7, Donley 8 0-0 24, Knab 2 1-2 6, Lee 11 4-4 26, Feather 1 0-0 2. Totals – 28 6-9 71.
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN (31): Ka. Heckman 3 1-1 8, Shady 1 0-2 3, Walker 3 0-0 8, Kr. Heckman 4 2-5 10, Miller 0 2-2 2. Totals – 11 5-10 31.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Altoona39 15 11 6 – 71
Central Mountain13 7 5 6 – 31
3-point goals: Altoona 9 (Donley 8, Knab); Central Mountain 4 (Ka. Heckman, Shady, Walker 2).
Records: Altoona (9-5); Central Mountain (5-14).
JV: Altoona, 67-16. High scorer-Brittanee Davis, A, 19.