BUFFALO – What better way to celebrate Homecoming than to snap a four-game losing streak. The Altoona-Midway High School boys’ basketball team did just that Tuesday night, rolling to a 64-31 victory over the Southern Coffey County Titans before a delighted crowd at Milo Peterson Gymnasium.
Unfortunately, the girls were unable to make it a sweep of the Three Rivers League twinbill, as SCC captured a dominating 62-12 triumph in the early game.
Coronation ceremonies honored junior Karissa Cook as Queen and senior Brandon Johnson as King of the 2023 Winter Altoona-Midway Homecoming Court.
The Jets (3-13), with two of their six players nursing hand injuries, were no match for the tall and talented Southern Coffey County girls.
The Titans rushed to a 16-3 advantage after one period and increased that margin to 31-3 by halftime. SCC led 51-9 entering the final quarter and finished things off with a 62-12 victory.
“We had a hard time defending Southern Coffey County because of how much bigger they were than us,” Altoona girls head coach Jessica Porter said. “We did the best we could, but when they can turn and just shoot over us, there’s not a lot we can do.”
The Jets also had a hard time on offense.
“Our shots didn’t fall once we started running offense and taking them,” Porter noted. “Emmalynn’s (Pupanek) thumb is still hurt, so she had a hard time shooting and handling the ball with a brace on her hand. Eryn (Tiger) still has a finger that is very sore, so I think that played a factor in how the game turned out also.”
Ava Hufford did manage to ring up six points to pace the Jets. Summer Raymond finished with four points, and Chantal Morales chipped in two.
Raymond led the way with six rebounds, Hufford had four, and Morales and Pupanek grabbed three each. Pupanek notched three steals and Hufford added two.
Josie Weers poured in 24 points for SCC, with eight of them coming in the fourth quarter despite a running clock. Jalae True finished with 16 points for the Titans while Ross Snovelle added 11.
After an impressive 5-3 start to the season, Altoona (7-9) had dropped six of their last seven outings before earning the much-needed victory in their 64-31 win over SCC.
But things weren’t easy early, as the Jets trailed the Titans 15-14 after one quarter.
“Maybe it was the homecoming activities between the girls and boys games, but we forgot how to play defense in the first quarter,” Altoona boys head coach Dave Vance said. “But the boys settled down and we managed to turn up the heat for the remainder of the game.”
Much of that heat was generated from the Jets’ zone press in the second quarter, which created a few steals and some extra possessions, and a suffocating man-to-man press after halftime.
“We went with a full-court man-to-man defense in the third quarter, which created more steals and some layup opportunities for Jacob Meigs and William Stackhouse,” Vance said.
Those easy buckets enabled the Jets to shoot 60 percent from the field as a team for the game – a big plus since they only managed just 17 percent from 3-point distance and 44 percent from the free throw line.
“We also had 15 turnovers – which is about 15 too many,” Vance quipped.
The Jets’ pressure defense limited the Titans to just four points in each the second and third periods, which allowed Altoona to build leads of 30-19 and 54-23.
Stackhouse led Altoona with 15 points while Meigs fired in 14. Andy Tiger also reached double digits, scoring 11, while Brandon Johnson, Harley Lopeman and Joey Lamendola chipped in six points each. Blaine Collins and Chase Nalley rounded out the scoring with three points apiece.
Meigs and Stackhouse also topped the rebounding charts with 12 and 10. Stackhouse was credited with seven steals and Meigs swiped five. Johnson dished out four assists.
Thomas Nickel was a force inside for SCC and finished with 16 points.
“We have four very tough games to finish out the regular season, and we are hoping for a strong finish down the stretch,” Vance said.
Altoona-Midway also captured a 24-6 win in the junior varsity contest, which featured a half-court buzzer-beater by Lamendola.
Both Altoona squads are back in action Friday as they hit the road to Moran to take on the Marmaton Valley Wildcats.
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