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HS Basketball 1/16/19 - Pleasanton Tourney (second round)
Craig Null
Friday, January 18, 2019

            PLEASANTON – For three quarters, the Altoona-Midway High School boys’ basketball team looked well on their way to victory in a second-round consolation bracket game here Thursday at the Pleasanton Tournament.

            Unfortunately, basketball has four quarters.

            The Oswego Indians – with their backs to the wall facing a nine-point deficit entering the final period – poured in an amazing 32 points in the final eight minutes of the game to post a 72-61 come-from-behind win over the foul-plagued Jets.

            The same two schools also squared off Thursday in a consolation bracket game on the girls’ side of the tournament bracket as well. Oswego also came out on top in that contest, defeating the Lady Jets 61-31.

            The pair of losses dropped the AMHS squads into seventh-place games Friday in their respective brackets. Both squads will face Marmaton Valley.

            In the boys’ matchup, Altoona-Midway held a 22-17 advantage after a high-scoring first quarter. The Jets continued to lead 37-28 at intermission, and held the upper hand at 49-40 entering the final period.

            Then the wheels fell off, as Oswego outscored AMHS 32-12 in the final period to post the turnaround triumph.

            “We came out and started a game like we are capable of playing.  Our press gave them fits.  But we got into foul trouble and had to get out of it,” said Altoona-Midway head coach Jeff Almond.   “I was proud of the effort put forth by the guys the first half.  It is the way that we are capable of playing.  We just have to put a complete game together.

            “Once again foul trouble was a big factor for us,” he added. “ We need to be more disciplined and just buckle down and play good tough defense.  The rest will take care of its self.”

            Freshman Jackson Ashmore poured in 18 points to pace the Jet attack, while junior Caden Carter and senior Clement Huffman also reached double figures with 13 and 11, respectively. Junior Dawson Ashmore contributed nine points, junior Dayton Marsh chipped in eight and freshman Conner Houghton added two.

            Oswego enjoyed an impressive one-two punch from Elliott, who scorched the nets for 26 points while Kite finished the game with 22. Wilson also reached double digits for the Indians with 12.

            “Give Oswego credit.  They came out after half and took control of the game and we couldn't regain our composure,” Almond said. “We have to be able to finish a team off.  We'll get there with hard work. 

            “I take full responsibility for this loss. I will do a better job getting the kids ready for whatever situation presents itself.  I will get the kids to move their feet more and quit reaching and getting silly fouls,” Almond vowed.

            There was not as much drama in the girls’ matchup. Oswego only led 10-7 at the quarter, but the Lady Indians moved ahead 28-16 by halftime and outscored the Lady Jets 33-15 after the break.

            The game also featured a tremendous individual scoring duel between McNickle of Oswego and Altoona-Midway senior Michala Kinzle. McNickle ended the night as the game’s top scorer with 25 points, while Kinzle scorched the nets for 22 points for the Lady Jets.

            “We struggled with fouls throughout the game,” noted AMHS girls’ head coach Ron Rice. “Mariah (Stackhouse) and Natalie (Davis) both got into foul trouble early in the game and we struggled to cope a little bit.  Having our two starting posts on the bench hampered what we wanted to do on the both sides of the court, but Caitlin (Maxwell) , Sophia (Willard), and Vonna (O’Brien) all stepped up for us.”

            Other than Kinzle, the Lady Jets got five points from Davis, two from Stackhouse, and one apiece from Bailey Graham and Jasmine Splechter. Despite the foul trouble, AMHS did a good job on the boards, as Kinzle hauled down 15, Davis and Stackhouse grabbed eight each, and Splechter pulled down seven.

            “Oswego did a great job of getting the ball into McNickle and she kept making shots,” Rice noted. “Offensively, we continue to struggle hitting shots, but we did get to the free throw line more tonight.  We're going to continue shooting and one of these nights our shots will fall for us.”