Girl’s basketball team suffers loss in State playoff game


Madalyn Miller

Freshman Sam Harpster looks for someone to catch her pass. The girl’s basketball team advanced to the State playoffs.

The girls played Erie McDowell on Saturday, March 5 as the final game they had to win to advance to the State playoffs. The game was sent into overtime with a score of 37 to 37. 

“I was nervous because it was a big game that we needed to win, but I was also excited because I knew our team could execute and pull through with a win,” Lanie Wilt said. 

Overtime ended with Altoona winning 41 to 39. Melana Eyer scored with 40 seconds left, putting Altoona ahead. 

“Hitting the game-winning shot in the game against McDowell gave me confidence going forward into the state playoff game the following week,” Eyer said. 

State playoff game against Mount Lebanon

After winning in Erie, the girls advanced and played the State playoff game at home on March 10. The girls played Mount Lebanon at 6 p.m.

Some of the concerns we had heading into the Mount Lebo game was their constant pressure they apply on the defensive end.  Mount Lebo also has many different scorers, so we wanted to limit their best player to as few points as possible,” head coach Chris Fleegle said.

The Altoona starters were freshman Zaelinh Nguyen-Moore, sophomores Melana Eyer, Lanie Wilt and seniors Brooklyn Barron and Harley McGirk.

“To get to this point in the season, it was a team effort.  We went into practice everyday and put in 100 percent,” Eyer said

Altoona got the possession from the jump-ball. Eyer ran down the court and scored a three point shot, starting the game. 

“I knew it was a big game. We had a big crowd, and I wanted to get the adrenaline going in the gym early in the game. I think it really sparked our first quarter,” Eyer said. 

Altoona continued to score and held Mount Lebanon from scoring as much as they could. By the end of the first quarter, Altoona was up by two with a score of 13 to 11.

“It definitely helped having Brooklyn [Barron] back, especially late in the season when we needed another scoring threat on the floor,” Eyer said

Mount Lebanon scored more in the second quarter and took the lead with a halftime score of 29 to 19.

“We talked about what we were struggling with at halftime, and from there we just worked together to try to make up for the lack of talking from the first half,” Wilt said.  

Two minutes and 50 seconds into the third quarter, and neither team had scored another point. Altoona needed more points to catch up, however this also meant they were playing a defense that prevented Mount Lebanon from scoring.

“I believe the beginning of the third [quarter] when we had a run where we didn’t score, really changed the momentum of the game. It was a bit frustrating, because we have really good offensive players, but we just couldn’t put the ball in the basket. I think that had a major role in us losing the game,” Eyer said

The Lady Lions did not give up and continued to score, attempting to close the gap little by little. The Lions were down by six points at the end of the third quarter with a score of 37-31. 

“The girls on this team have a never give up fighting attitude. They have confidence in themselves, and I think once they got a couple of stops on the defensive end and converted those into baskets they started to feel like they had a chance,” Fleegle said. 

The game ended with Barron making a layup as the buzzer went off giving Altoona two more points. However, the two points were not enough, and the final score was 58 to 50. Altoona had lost. 

“The season is officially over. We will collect uniforms and have the seniors decide where they want their final team dinner.  The coaching staff will evaluate the season and put a plan together to come back even stronger next year,” Fleegle said.