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Altoona learning, earns B-II crown

Girls basketball

When you’re struggling to score from the 3-point line, sometimes you just need to get better ball movement to get the offense going.

“That’s what the timeout was all about,” Altoona coach Kenny Macklin said. “We were settling for 3. Not only were we settling for 3, we were settling for one, two passes and a 3 without attacking at all. Our philosophy is no 3s until there has been some penetration.”

Following that early break Wednesday night, the Lady Lions found their shooters’ touch in what was a back-and-forth affair before grabbing the Building II High School Girls Junior Varsity championship, 47-39, over Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic.

“We’ve been talking about this all summer since the season ended,” Macklin said. “How do we want to approach offensive possessions? We want to catch, we want to attack. Everyone is expected to handle the basketball and attack the basket off the drive.”

Once Altoona’s offense got on track, it was strong with the 3-pointer in the first half as Raylin Eyer drained three shots from beyond the arc as she went on to lead all scorers with 19 points. Altoona led 22-20 at the half.

The Lady Marauder youth, though, kept the game tight for much of the night as Morgan Ruggery cashed in on all seven free-throw attempts en route to depositing 15 points to lead her team.

“These kids are 13 years old going against these older kids,” BG coach Sam Conrad said. “I think it’s definitely a learning experience this whole summer in this league.

“They’re a young team, too. Defensively, though, maybe we could’ve stopped them better in spurts.”

Maurie Querry chipped in 11 in the defeat for BG.

The Lady Lions’ offense picked up where it left off, and they were powered by Zaelinh Nguyen-Moore, who scored 13 of her 18 points in the second half alone.

“BG’s got a future,” Macklin said. “They seem to have a really bright future with the girls they got on that team. They’ve got some shot makers. No question.”

Conrad was impressed with how her squad continues to grow.

“This is a good group, they work hard, they’ve been together,” she said. “That’s the benefit of being at BG. These girls have been together since fourth grade. I think by next summer, you’re going to see a grown team, and a mature team.”

“One of our biggest growth points is the fact that we’re buying into not looking at the coach, asking the coach, ‘what should we run?'” Macklin said of Altoona.

“When we first started, we told them it’s going to look discombobulated, but as they gain confidence in what we’re doing with good spacing, good fundamental skills and attacking the offensive end, then confidence grows.”

ALTOONA (47): Petucci 0 0-0 0, Eyer 6 3-4 19, Alexander 0 0-0 0, Hartman 0 0-0 0, Logan 1 0-1 2, Noel 0 0-0 0, Harpster 2 0-0 6, Cuspert 0 2-8 2, Nguyen-Moore 6 4-6 18. Totals: 15 9-19 47.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (39): Hite 1 0-0 2, Steward 2 0-0 5, Querry 4 0-1 9, Homan 0 0-0 0, Marasco 0 0-0 0, Ruggery 4 7-7 15, Petreca 3 0-0 8, Sapp 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 7-8 39.

SCORE BY HALVES

Altoona 22 25 – 47

Bishop Guilfoyle 20 19 – 39

3-point field goals: Altoona 8 (Eyer 4, Harpster 2, Nguyen-Moore 2), Bishop Guilfoyle 4 (Steward, Querry, Petreca 2).

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