Tigers sweep Lions

Because of a drop to Class AAA in boys basketball this season, Hollidaysburg won’t get an opportunity to match up with archrival Altoona with postseason glory on the line.

“It’s always really fun playing Altoona,” Golden Tiger guard Nick Consiglio said. “I really was looking forward to playing them in the playoffs. We’re not going to get to. It won’t be as fun this year.”

Consiglio and his team went out and did the next best thing: They swept the Mountain Lions in the regular season.

And they did it in convincing fashion.

Consiglio scored a game-high 22 points, Jesse Ottaway had a double-double before halftime, and the Tigers, who beat Altoona by 23 on their home court in the first week of the season, followed that up with a 54-37 victory over the Mountain Lions on Friday night at the Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse.

“They’re a good team,” Altoona coach Paul Hasson said of the Tigers after his Lions slipped to 4-8. “They returned all five starters. They play well together. They run their offense, they play good defense. They’re just a solid team.”

“The last few years they swept us,” Consiglio said, “so it feels really good to get back at them.”

Hollidaysburg, now 7-5, was coming off a double-overtime loss to Williamsport in which it shot 19-for-38 from the foul line. A 70 percent team at the stripe before that contest, the Tigers only converted 6-of-12 free throws against Altoona, but it didn’t matter because they performed so well in most other areas.

With the 6-foot-6 Ottaway leading the way with 14 rebounds, Hollidaysburg controlled the glass to the tune of a 45-26 advantage. Hollidaysburg was 6-for-12 from 3-point range, while only allowing Altoona five attempts beyond the arc, none of which went in – Consiglio made four and Max Sheetz hit two, both in the first quarter.

Altoona didn’t help its own cause by missing 12 of its 17 foul shots, either.

Hollidaysburg never trailed, scoring the game’s first five points and only being tied once after that, at 7-7 when Jacob Port, who fronted Altoona with 14 points, finished on a fast break. The Golden Tigers responded by reeling off 12 of the next 14 points and were ahead by 17 (33-16) when Ottaway found Consiglio open for a 3-pointer at the 6:08 mark of the third quarter.

“I think our kids were mentally prepared,” Hollidaysburg coach Brad Lear said. “We have very savvy kids. It’s unfortunate that we played a lot of quad-A teams and lost a lot of close games. I told the kids we don’t want to settle for playing them close. We don’t want patted on the back for playing quad-A teams close. We’ve played a lot of them and had leads in the fourth quarter. This was a big game with a different flavor to it. It was the last time the seniors were going to play at the Fieldhouse.”

One of four Tiger seniors to see playing time, Ottaway complemented his rebound total with 16 points, six blocked shots, a steal and his first-ever dunk in a game, finding himself open sliding down the lane with 1:47 to play.

“It felt great,” said Ottaway, who made his presence felt with 10 points and 12 rebounds in the first half. “I had a bet with Grant Delozier in 10th grade. He said I would never dunk in a high school game. This is my first dunk in a high school game, and this is the perfect way to do it.

“We were incredibly excited. This (game against Altoona) has always been the biggest game to all of us. We live for this game. The fact that we won handily at home gave us a lot of confidence. We were pumped, because we hadn’t won in the Fieldhouse in I don’t know how long.”

Actually, it was Hollidaysburg’s first win at Altoona since 2010-11.

Sheetz joined Consiglio and Ottaway in double figures with 10 points. The Tigers also got a big lift from a somewhat unlikely source: Senior Zach Simpson came off the bench when Jacob Holsopple got into early foul trouble and made a quick impact with his activity on the boards and by scoring his lone bucket less than two minutes after entering the game.

“He gets in, and we know he’s not going to make a mistake,” Lear said of Simpson. “He’s helped us out a lot, and, for a kid that hasn’t played the last two seasons, for him to come out and buy what we’re selling with so much on the line with him playing football, he really has progressed.”

Bobby Corl added 11 points off the bench for Altoona. Hasson said his team played better than the first time around against the Tigers. However, the Mountain Lions missed an opportunity to put together consecutive wins after a nice overtime road victory earlier this week against Mifflin County.

“We’re searching for momentum. We really are. We haven’t been able to grab it yet this season,” Hasson said. “We need to get a string going. Once we do that, I think these kids will start believing in themselves.”

Game notes: Hollidaysburg prevailed in the JV game, 36-29. … Some fans set up a mock ESPN Sportscenter anchor desk right in front of the Altoona student section. … Hollidaysburg hosts Gettysburg this afternoon. Altoona also plays today, heading to Central Dauphin East for a day game.

HOLLIDAYSBURG (54): Sheetz 3 2-2 10, Adams 0 2-4 2, Consiglio 8 2-2 22, Holsopple 1 0-0 2, Ottaway 8 0-4 16, Simpson 1 0-0 2, Snyder 0 0-0 0, Viduya 0 0-0 0, Gates 0 0-0 0. Totals – 21 6-12 54.

ALTOONA (37): Kirwin 2 0-0 4, Luciano 0 0-0 0, Samuel 1 4-10 6, Port 7 0-3 14, Queen 1 0-2 2, Corl 5 1-2 11, Gehret 0 0-0 0, Gampe 0 0-0 0. Totals – 16 5-17 37.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Hollidaysburg16 12 11 15 – 54

Altoona9 7 13 8 – 37

3-point goals: Hollidaysburg 6 (Sheetz 2, Consiglio 4).

Records: Hollidaysburg (7-5); Altoona (4-8).

Officials: John Thompson, Steve Searer, Jeff Heider.

JV: Hollidaysburg, 36-29. High scorers-Alex Weaver, A, 11; Ryan Adams, Austin Finochio, H, 7.