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A-M Boys win, girls improving
Jeff Almond
Friday, February 01, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                               Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019



                  MIDWAY – Winning is a wonderful feeling … and Altoona-Midway High School would like nothing better for it to become a habit.

                  The Jets enjoyed that winning experience here again Tuesday night, posting a convincing, long-awaited 58-43 home victory over the Marmaton Valley Wildcats.

                  It was the first appearance for the AMHS cagers in front of their home crowd for nearly six weeks, and they made the most of it. And while the Lady Jets were unable to duplicate the victory, they enjoyed their most productive offensive output of the season while falling by a 62-39 count to the Lady Wildcats.

                  AMHS boys 58, M. Valley 43

                  After snapping a six-year, 100-plus game losing streak earlier in the season, the Altoona-Midway boys have now won twice in the month of January – and were very close to doubling that win total, as they also led in the fourth quarter of two other games during that time.

                  “This was a great win for our program.  We are excited for great things to come at Altoona-Midway,” said Jets head coach Jeff Almond. “Coach (Lane) Huffman and I talked with the team before the game and stressed that we needed to get off to a good start.  The guys did that tonight.  We led from start to finish and that hasn't happened here in quite some time.”

                  Indeed, it was an impressive performance by the Jets, who jumped out to a 4-0 lead, increased the margin to 9-2, and never looked back. Altoona-Midway led 11-4 at the quarter, 31-15 at halftime, and 39-24 entering the final period.

                  The Jets only hiccup occurred early in the final period. A seven-point run by the Wildcats cut the margin to just nine, 46-37, with 5:08 still remaining. But over the next three minutes plus, the Jets responded with an 8-0 run of their own – getting two buckets each from Caden Carter and Clement Huffman – to push the advantage back out to 54-37 and salt the game away.

                  Carter finished with a game-high 20 points, while Dayton Marsh tossed in 16 and Huffman added 14. Rounding out the AMHS scoring were Jackson and Dawson Ashmore, with six and two points, respectively.

                  “Caden has really stepped up the last few games for us,” Almond said. “He is scoring like we knew he was capable of scoring and is doing a great job.”

                  Marmaton Valley got 13 points from Gage Griffith and 10 points from Isaac Heskett.

                  The Jets are now 2-13 overall, 2-5 in the Three Rivers League.

                  “I am proud of the effort the guys put forth tonight,” Almond added. “We finally put a whole game together and if paid off for us tonight.”

                  In a two-quarter junior varsity tilt, the Wildcats came out on top 21-16.

                  M. Valley 62, AMHS girls 39

                  It wasn’t a victory, but the Lady Jets (0-15, 0-7) displayed a lot of energy and enjoyed their highest offensive output of the year before going down to defeat.

                  “This was a great ball game.  Our only glaring issue was giving up too many second chances on the offensive glass,” said AMHS girls’ head coach Ron Rice. “If we limited them to one shot, this would have been a very close game.  Some positive things that I saw tonight was our aggression was there all night long.  We also spread the ball around more and got everyone involved.”

                  Indeed, the Lady Jets tried to stay within striking distance the entire night. Marmaton Valley led by five at the quarter, 31-20 at halftime, and 46-33 entering the final period. The Lady Wildcats then ripped off the first seven points of the fourth quarter to put the game on ice.

                  Marmaton Valley got a 30-point performance from Bailey Griffith, while Kaylee Becker chipped in with 16 points.

                  “They provided an inside-outside 1-2 punch that caused us problems, especially in the first half,” Rice said. “We made some changes at half and slowed Becker down some, but defensively, we didn’t box out well and that provided them a lot of easy put backs.”

                  Michala Kinzle once again led the Lady Jets with a 17-point performance, while Natalie Davis fired in eight points and Mariah Stackhouse netted seven. AMHS also got three points from Summer Tarlton and two apiece from Bailey Graham and Caitlin Maxwell.     

                  “Even with tonight being our highest points of the year, we still only shot 24 percent from the floor,” Rice noted. “We have the potential for a blowout, if we all get hot on the same night.

                  “We took a step forward tonight and have some things to be proud of. We played hard all night long. We’ll continue working on limiting second chances and come out hungry on Friday,” he added.

                  Both Altoona-Midway squads will hit the road Friday, traveling to Pleasanton.