Shots don’t fall for Golden Tigers

Hollidaysburg kept getting the shots it wanted, from short ones inside the paint to quality looks for standout Ethan Haupt beyond the 3-point line.

Pretty much nothing would fall. And when that happens, well, winning any basketball game, let alone a state playoff contest, is close to impossible.

The cold shooting did indeed doom the Golden Tigers in a 53-38 loss to Carrick in the first round of the PIAA Class 5A playoffs Friday night at the Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse.

“We just couldn’t hit anything,” Hollidaysburg coach Brad Lear said.

Haupt, a senior who came in averaging 19.7 points, had a tough night in the final game of his career. He finished 1-for-13 from the field, with that lone make coming in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach, and scored just five points.

Haupt got the ball on the left baseline on Hollidaysburg’s first possession of the night and put up a jumper, only to have it blocked by 6-foot-7 Carrick big man Y’Shua Bragg. It was that kind of night for Haupt.

“I was definitely getting the shots I wanted,” Haupt said. “It was just, I don’t even know. I didn’t really feel that confident.”

Carrick led 16-9 after one quarter and 30-18 at the half. The Golden Tigers were still within striking distance thanks to seven points from Casey Ottaway and two 3s from Josh Holsopple off the bench.

The cold shooting continued in the second half, however, and Hollidaysburg never mounted any type of threat as Carrick’s lead didn’t drop below 11 points. Carrick played primarily a 2-3 zone and mixed in some 1-3-1, and Hollidaysburg wasn’t able to shoot the Raiders out of it.

“That’s a heck of a team,” Carrick coach Walt Milinski said of the Tigers. “We saw them on film, and Ethan gave us nightmares. We were a little bit tentative about playing a zone because of their shooting, but we didn’t want to go man-to-man because because they’re so quick and we’re so long.”

Carrick’s size and speed gave Hollidaysburg some problems, as the defenders were able to get into position for a lot of challenges. Still, the Tigers had their chances and worked the ball well around the zone to get good looks, but they just couldn’t make them.

“We knew what they were going to do,” Lear said of Carrick’s defense. “There were no surprises tonight from them. They went man-to-man a couple possessions, but we knew we were going to see 2-3, and we knew how wide they played it. In that first half, I think we missed six paint shots. Y’Shua is very big, but we had the ball where we wanted it, we just couldn’t hit anything.

“We put in a couple different offenses and worked them to death, and we came in and got two beautiful looks on back screens and couldn’t finish either one of them.”

The Golden Tigers’ defense held Carrick to just 23 points in the second half, which typically would be good enough to win for Hollidaysburg’s high-scoring offense.

“Defensively, I thought we played lights out,” Lear said.

But with Haupt continuing to struggle shooting and not enough other firepower, Hollidaysburg was not able to mount a rally. Haupt hit his first shot, a 3-pointer, with 4:25 left in the game, and his other two points came on free throws with 33 seconds to go.

If he could have hit a shot early, Haupt said, “It definitely would have been a game changer for me and everyone else, just getting everyone hyped up when you hit a big 3. I think if I would have hit one first quarter or first half, I would have kept rolling from there.”

Holspopple led Hollidaysburg with 11 points, while Ottaway had 10. Lamar Lewis scored a game-high 16 for Carrick (20-5), and Ernie Howard had 12.

Hollidaysburg finished the season 16-8, and of the team’s accomplishments, Haupt said, “On a scale of 1-10, it’s like 100. I am so proud of all those guys. When I was out with a concussion, my hip injury, every one of them stepped up. I’m just so extremely proud of them.”

Ottaway also discussed his pride in the team with some poignant and emotional comments.

“We seniors, all eight of us, we’ve been playing together seven, eight years,” he said. “We know each other really well, we all hang out together, we’re all best friends, and we all wanted this. Sometimes the good things in life end, and you’ve just got to move on.”

CARRICK (53): Woodson 1 3-6 5, Lewis 5 5-10 16, Walker 4 0-0 8, Bragg 2 0-0 4, Howard 6 0-2 12, Giannetti 0 0-0 0, Cohen 1 4-5 6, Perella 1 0-0 2. Totals – 20 12-23 53.

HOLLIDAYSBURG (38): Viduya 1 0-0 3, Haupt 1 2-2 5, Day 0 0-0 0, Stevenson 1 0-0 2, Ottaway 4 2-5 10, Frucella 2 0-0 4, Holsopple 4 0-0 11, Marks 0 1-2 1, Delerme 1 0-0 2. Totals – 14 5-9 38.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Carrick 16 14 11 12 – 53

Hollidaysburg 9 9 8 12 – 38

3-point goals: Carrick 1 (Lewis); Hollidaysburg 5 (Holsopple 3, Haupt, Viduya).

Records: Carrick (20-5); Hollidaysburg (16-8).

Officials: Chris Garritano, Chuck Glasser, Tony Scottile.

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