BUFFALO – After a pair of heart-breaking losses earlier in the season, the Altoona-Midway Middle School boys finally broke into the win column with an impressive 28-22 victory over Marais des Cygnes here Thursday afternoon.
Marais des Cygnes Middle School made it a split on the day, however, as they posted a 28-7 win over the Lady Jets in the opening contest.
In the boys’ contest, Altoona-Midway overcame an early eight-point deficit to provide a crowd-pleasing triumph in front of the home crowd.
“What a great night. The boys were bound and determined to get a win – and they did,” said AMMS coach Marci Henderson. “Our offense looked great all night long, even though we had a lot of shots go in and out of the rim, especially in the first half. They worked as a team and didn’t take selfish shots.”
The Trojans led 10-2 at the quarter and 13-8 at halftime. Altoona-Midway roared back to take a 20-17 lead after three period and went on to post the exciting win. Brandon Johnson poured in 17 points to pace the Jets attack. He also snatched five steals and grabbed nine rebounds.
William Stackhouse finished with five points, all in the vital third quarter, while Jacob Meigs and Chase Nalley added four and two points, respectively. Andy Tiger had five important boards before fouling out early in the final period.
“At halftime I told the boys to just keep shooting with confidence; the shots will fall. And they did,” Henderson noted. “Brandon’s energy led us all night long. William hit an exciting three followed by a steal and layup in our big third quarter. Brandon, William and Jacob worked together to force turnovers and really worked together as a team.
“After Andy fouled out, Lane (Poeverlein) stepped up and played really good defense for us,” Henderson added. “I am so excited for the boys. They really deserved this victory. I’m just really, really proud of them.”
The boys also played a two-quarter “B” game, with Marais des Cygnes winning 11-7. Stackhouse had six points.
In the girls’ “A” game, the Lady Jets fought valiantly but came up short, 28-7. MDCV led 14-5 at half as Altoona-Midway had to fight its way through foul trouble. “The girls played hard,” said AMMS coach Kate Walker. “Even when we got into foul trouble, everyone else stepped up and did a great job being aggressive and wanting the ball. We fought until the end. A great example of that – in the last few seconds of the game, Emma (Pupanek) stole the ball twice and then hit a buzzer shot to get our last two points on the board.”
Besides Pupanek’s buzzer-beater, the Lady Jets got three points from Summer Raymond and two from Emma Martin. Raymond and Pupanek collected six and five rebounds, respectively.
“We still have fundamentals to work on, but I’m very proud of how the girls are gaining as the season continues,” Walker added. “It’s amazing to see the girls come into the locker room after a tough game and want to know what they can fix and work on. They want to do better each game.” AMMS begins a four-game road trip on Monday when they travel to Thayer for a doubleheader.