ALTOONA-MIDWAY HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
HARTFORD – The Altoona-Midway High School basketball teams opened their respective 2019-20 seasons Friday night, falling in a pair of games against the host Hartford Jaguars.
Hartford opened the evening with an easy 55-15 victory in the girls’ contest, and the Jaguars completed the sweep for the evening with a 56-39 triumph in the boys’ game.
The first quarter gave no indication of what the final tally would be, as the Lady Jets battled Hartford toe to toe and trailed just 9-8 after the first eight minutes.
Unfortunately, the Lady Jags outscored AMHS 43-7 over the next two periods and coasted to the 55-15 victory.
“Our girls came out very aggressive and pressured them well. There were many times that we did everything right, but they were able to shoot over us,” said Lady Jets head coach Ron Rice.
Summer Tarlton led Altoona-Midway with five points, while Natalie Davis and Mariah Stackhouse finished with four apiece. Bailey Graham also had two points for AMHS. “We’ve been practicing on making good shots and not being afraid to take the shot. Summer has come a long way since last year in this regard, Rice said. “Offensively, we need to get more comfortable with pressure and thinking about where openings may be when a play breaks down.
“Defensively, we struggled with our help defense. Most of our team is trying to learn multiple positions and we had lapses in our judgment due to it. We also gave them too many second chance opportunities at the basket.”
B. Darbyshire led the Lady Jaguars with 21 points while Finnerty added 13.
“Overall, we played hard the entire game, but let the second and third quarters get away from us, Rice said. “We will continue working to improve on our weaknesses next week as we begin our tournament (against Maranatha Academy on Monday).”
Foul trouble plagued Altoona-Midway the entire night, and allowed Hartford to expand a 13-10 first-quarter lead to 29-12 at intermission. Each team scored 27 points in the second half, but the damage was done as Hartford posted the 56-39 victory.
“We have to learn how to be aggressive, yet smart. We got into early foul trouble and were never really able to recover from that,” said AMHS head coach Jeff Almond. “We made a valiant effort to come back and got within nine, but with all the energy it took to come back, it was simply too much.
“Still, I never questioned our effort tonight. The kids really played their hearts out,” Almond noted. “We were very proud of the effort put forth tonight. Coach Huffman and I will have them ready for next week's tournament.”
Thomas from Hartford poured in 27 points to lead all scorers.
AMHS was led by Caden Carter with 15 points, Jackson Ashmore tallied eight and Joshua Meigs tossed in seven.
Carter, Meigs and Dayton Marsh each pulled down four rebounds to give the gets a six-carom margin in the team totals. The Jets grabbed nine steals, but committed 18 turnovers.
Altoona-Midway gets right back into action this week in The Valley Tip Off Classic beginning Monday in Quenemo.
“We face Maranatha Academy on Monday, on Tuesday we will play Marias de Cygne and Thursday we take on Southern Coffey County,” Almond noted. “We are on a stretch where we have seven games in 14 days and they are all away from home.”