Altoona topples Central
First-year Altoona High School boys basketball coach Doug Pfeffer liked what he saw of the Mountain Lions in this year’s Lakemont Park Summer Basketball League.
Altoona wrapped up a perfect 11-0 season and won the league’s High School Division Thursday night, riding incoming senior Jalen Triplin’s 22 points to a 43-30 victory over Central in the championship game.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Pfeffer, who was hired as the Mountain Lions’ new head coach this past spring. “I think that this team has gotten better as the summer has gone on.
“The kids have worked very, very hard this summer learning a new system, and I’m proud of their effort.”
Altoona, the top seed in the division, had a 19-8 first-half lead before pesky Central battled back to take a 25-24 lead early in the second half on three 3-point field goals by incoming senior Eli Lingenfelter, who paced the third-seeded Scarlet Dragons with 16 points.
Altoona closed strong, however, scoring 18 of the game’s final 23 points to roar to the victory.
Triplin was a big catalyst in the surge. After incoming senior Ashton Neely hit an inside bucket to put Altoona ahead for good, 26-25, Triplin scored seven consecutive points on a layup, a jumper from the left side, and a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to stake the Mountain Lions to a 33-27 advantage.
Altoona led, 37-30 later in the second half before three straight Triplin layups in the closing minutes set the 43-30 final score.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Triplin said. “We all hustled and we all kept our composure and grinded it out at the end. I felt like this is a real competitive league, and our shooting had to be perfect. It’s a lot harder to shoot at the basket on an outdoor court than it is inside in a gymnasium.”
Pfeffer was happy with the way that Altoona closed the second half.
“We could have folded, but we made a nice little run, and we stuck together,” Pfeffer said. “Jalen Triplin had a great summer, and we’re expecting a lot next season from both Jalen and Ashton Neely.”
Lingenfelter will be one of the stars of next winter’s Central team. He felt that the Scarlet Dragons were outplayed by Altoona Thursday.
“They played harder than we did tonight,” Lingenfelter said of the Mountain Lions. “They wanted it more than we did. They deserved to win.”
CENTRAL (30): Lingenfelter 5 3-5 16, Muthler 2 0-0 6, Daugherty 1 2-4 4, Butler 1 0-0 2, Albright 1 0-0 2, Garver 0 0-0 0, Long-Yarrison 0 0-0 0. Totals – 10 5-9 30.
ALTOONA (43): Neely 4 0-0 8, Triplin 10 1-5 22, Piner 1 0-0 2, A. White 2 0-0 4, Z. White 3 1-2 7, Duffy 0 0-0 0, Walker 0 0-0 0. Totals – 20 2-7 43.
SCORE BY HALVES
Central 16 14–30
Altoona 21 22–43
3-point goals: Central 5 (Lingenfelter 3, Muthler 2); Altoona 1 (Triplin).
Officials: Rod Chism, Maireade Byrne, Luke Rhoades.