Altoona nets big win

Altoona’s Amber Newberry stepped to the free-throw line Saturday against Mount Lebanon with 3 seconds left in overtime of a tie game knowing she had already missed three straight free throws in the extra session and was just 1-of-6 from the foul line up to that point in the game.

“My teammates helped keep my confidence level up. They told to me to do it just like I do in practice,” Newberry said.

That’s exactly what she did. Newberry knocked down both free throws to help Altoona upset the state-ranked Lady Blue Devils, 56-54, in overtime at the AAHS Fieldhouse.

Newberry scored the bucket that sent the game to overtime as well, making a steal and going to straight to the rim for a layup with 13 seconds left in regulation.

“She was huge for us down the stretch,” Altoona coach Miriam Colledge said. “This is a phenomenal win for us. We’re a hurting team right now. We have four players out with the flu or injury, and it’s the first time we’ve ever beaten Mount Lebanon.”

Since starting the season 0-6, the Lady Lions have three wins in their last five games, including victories over perennial state powers Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic and now Mount Lebanon. PennLive.com has the Lady Blue Devils ranked ninth in the state among Class AAAA schools.

“We’ve been preaching and preaching all season that together you can accomplish anything. We could have given up several times, but we kept fighting,” Colledge said.

Altoona got key contributions from not only the five starters but the four girls off the bench as well.

All nine players scored at least two points. Newberry finished with a game-high 19 points, Ashley Muffie scored eight points and Taylor Mayhue had seven.

Newberry and Alayna Biesecker pulled down nine rebounds each and Biesecker blocked three shots.

“Our guards played great defense, and all of our big girls that got in there made key plays,” Colledge said. “Amanda Menegay played an amazing game. She had some huge rebounds and a couple key baskets.”

Menegay came off the bench to score five points and grab five rebounds, the last of which started the possession that ended with Newberry’s game-winning free throws.

At the start of the overtime period, Mount Lebanon scored two quick baskets to go up 46-42 and built a five-point cushion on a pair of Kate Sramac free throws with 1:16 remaining.

The Lady Lions scored five quick points to tie the game once again. Newberry broke through Mount Lebanon press and made a layup on the Altoona’s next possession. She was fouled on the play but missed the free throw.

The rebound went out of bounds off Mount Lebanon, allowing Altoona to retain possession. Brittanee Davis knocked down a 3-pointer from the right wing to tie the game 52-52.

Early on, it looked like Mount Lebanon might leave town with an easy win. The Lady Blue Devils full court press smothered Altoona throughout the early going and helped Mount Lebanon jump out to an 8-0 lead.

Altoona settled in after that and pulled to within 12-8 by the end of the opening quarter. From there, neither team led by more than six points the rest of the game.

“We knew we’d see 94-feet of pressure and that we’d have to keep our composure. We worked on it all week long,” Colledge said. “You’re going to have turnovers against this team. They have a fantastic coach who runs an elite program.”

Mount Lebanon coach Dori Oldaker was called for a technical foul in the third quarter following remarks she made about an official’s call. She had no comment following the game.

MOUNT LEBANON (54): Bushee 3 5-6 11, Klaber 0 0-0 0, Sramac 5 6-9 17, Wallace 2 5-13 10, Shipley 3 5-10 11, Hyland 0 3-4 3, Rabeneck 0 0-0 0, McGrady 0 0-0 0, Caminos 1 0-1 2, Earley 0 0-0 0. Totals – 14 24-43 54.

ALTOONA (56): Donley 0 3-9 3, Caracciolo 0 2-2 2, Mayhue 2 2-4 7, Dibert 0 2-2 2, Biesecker 1 3-4 5, Muffie 3 2-2 8, Newberry 8 3-8 19, Davis 2 0-1 5, Menegay 2 1-2 5. Totals – 18 18-34 56.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Mount Lebanon 12 11 9 10 12 – 54

Altoona8 14 14 6 14 – 56

3-point goals: Mount Lebanon 2 (Sramec, Wallace); Altoona 2 (Mayhue, Davis).

Records: Mount Lebanon (10-5); Altoona (3-8).

JV: 47-33, Mount Lebanon. High scorers-Hyland (ML) 10; Kreuz (A) 14.