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Mtn. Lions fall short vs. Central Dauphin

Sometimes your best just isn’t good enough.

The Altoona Mountain Lions played host to Mid-Penn Conference Commonwealth Division leader Central Dauphin on Tuesday at the AAHS Fieldhouse and pushed the Rams to the limit before falling, 60-56.

“I’m the worst loser. I’m not a moral-victory guy,” Altoona coach Jarrod Klausman said, “but honestly, I couldn’t be more proud of the way we played down the stretch.

“The kids played their tails off. They did everything that was asked of them.”

The teams met Dec. 16 at Central Dauphin and the Rams won, 68-51. Altoona was without the services of P.J. Charles in that one because he was nursing an ankle injury.

Charles was in the lineup Tuesday and poured in 30 points. The 6-foot-4 senior tossed in 9 in the first quarter and helped the Mountain Lions to a 15-13 lead. However, CD had seven different players score in the second and grabbed a 31-25 lead at the half.

The Rams extended their lead to 50-43 after three quarters, but Altoona refused to die. Charles was outstanding in the final session, scoring all 13 of the Lions’ points. A Charles layup cut the deficit to 54-52 with 1:44 left. Another Charles bucket cut it to 56-54 with 45 seconds to go and two Charles free throws made it 58-56 with 21 ticks left.

“P.J. played well tonight,” Klausman said. “He can effect the game in so many ways.”

However, it wasn’t enough as CD was able to answer each time and a pair of free throws by DaVon Haggans sealed it and set the final score with 19.9 seconds to go.

“We expected it to be really tough,” CD coach Wayne Fletcher said after his Rams improved to 9-1 in the league and 11-3 overall.

“Charles didn’t play the first game and, obviously, he’s a super talent,” Fletcher offered. “Coach (Klausman) is doing a phenomenal job with that team overall.

“They are always fighting. They have a never-give-up attitude and we were very fortunate to come out with a win.”

It was little consolation for Klausman, though.

“I’ve said it in almost every interview,” the first-year Altoona boss noted. “When you play in the Mid-Penn Commonwealth, you have to bring it every night.

“They came in here in first place in the section,” Klausman noted, “and we had it down to a one-possession game. We had two timeouts late and got baskets off both of them.

“There were a couple things here or there, but overall it was a good effort,” he added, “and I’m about as happy as you can be in a loss.”

Altoona used only six players and got 10 points from K.J. Futrell.

Central Dauphin is one of the deepest teams in the Mid-Penn and had nine different players score. Ryan Smith led the way with 15 and Rance Russo added 13.

“We’re very excited about our depth,” coach Fletcher said. “We can go 10 deep any night. We have guys with length coming off the bench and we have guys who can defend coming off the bench.”

Klausman agreed.

“They’re so long in every position,” Klausman said. “Even their guards are 6-3 and 6-4, but we played pretty well.”

Altoona travels to Mifflin County on Friday for a Mid-Penn Conference rematch.

CENTRAL DAUPHIN (60): Haggans 3 2-2 8, Renaldi 1 0-0 3, Smith 6 2-3 15, Russo 5 2-4 13, Hills 1 0-0 2, Dockens 4 1-2 9, Fuller 1 1-1 3, Berrio 1 0-0 2, Roberts 2 0-0 5. Totals — 24 8-12 60.

ALTOONA (56): Charles 9 11-13 30, Becker 2 0-0 5, Futrell 5 0-0 10, Crockett 3 0-1 7, Lawson 2 0-2 4, Pheasant 0 0-0 0. Totals — 21 11-16 56.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Central Dauphin 13 18 19 10 — 60

Altoona 15 10 18 13 — 56

3-point goals: Central Dauphin 4 (Renaldi Roberts, Smith, Russo); Altoona 3 (Charles, Becker, Crockett).

Officials: Randy Burkett, Mike Andrews, Dave Heim.

Records: Central Dauphin (9-1 Mid-Penn, 11-3 overall); Altoona 5-5 Mid-Penn, 7-7 overall).

JV: Central Dauphin, 60-47.

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