DeAndre Kaough has clearly embodied the hustle that has become the signature of Williamsport's basketball team.
And in Thursday's contest, Kaough, after scoring the team's first four points of the quarter, air-balled a 10-foot jumper. And in a moment which displayed the kind of work Williamsport has put fourth this season, he hustled down the court, grabbed a rebound, ran back down the court and finished with a layup.
That is the kind of hustle which has defined Williamsport over its six-game winning streak. And that streak was bumped up to seven wins Thursday thanks to the effort of Kaough and company as Williamsport easily moved past Altoona, 62-31.
"My coach always tell me to worry about the next play," Kaough said. "And that's what I did. I'm just pushing hard every time I touch the ball. I work hard to impress my coach."
And his coach wasn't the only one impressed with Kaough's effort.
In a scene that has become commonplace at Williamsport's famed "Magic Dome", the Millionaire girls team filled the seats directly behind the team. And in a show of support, the girls cheered for every one of Kaough's baskets.
"The key to winning is family," Kaough said. "We believe in each other."
"DeAndre is one of the most athletic players we have," Willliamsport coach Allen Taylor said. "If we can get him to give maximum effort we are going to be very, very good. What he brings to the table not many players can do. When he shot that air-ball and hustled down to get that rebound is something we've been trying to get him to do."
Kaough then followed up his eight-point second with a dunk in the third. The basket, Kaough's only of the quarter, helped spark a quick 6-0 run by the Millionaires. Herb Stelly added four points in the quarter and Isaiah Washington, who finished with 13 points, had two key blocks.
"DeAndre is really starting to understand what the coaching staff expects of him," Taylor said. "He's trying to go out there and do what he can do, but we believe there is another level he can get to. We're just going to keep on coaching him."
In the contest's final quarter, one that Williamsport entered up 47-23, Kaough continued to display his ability to lead on the court. With all the starters out, Kaough directed fellow teammates to open looks while finishing the quarter with a team-high four-points. Kaough completed his season-defining performance with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists.
"You need that senior leadership," Taylor said. "I think Sharif (Coleman), Syd (Dowling), and DeAndre have been doing an excellent job in terms of leading by example."
With all the recent success for the Millionaires the one worry Taylor might have had prior to Thursday's contest was a complete letdown. In prior seasons, the team has struggled with playing down to its competition. But any worries about playing down to Altoona or a letdown were quickly dashed by an 11-2 run spearheaded by Washington and Jahad Thomas through the opening five minutes of the game.
"You're always concerned with your team, especially when you experience a little success," Taylor said. "I always tell them you can't get too high and too low. I'm always concerned when our guys read the paper and see a team has only five wins. That wasn't the case tonight. We came out and played with a ton of energy and executed."
Thomas and Washington combined to score 13 of Williamsport's 22 first-quarter points. And in a display of just how well the two work together Washington chucked up an alley-oop in the quarter's final second which Thomas quickly grabbed and laid in for two points. Thomas went on to finish with 12 points while pulling down six rebounds and adding two steals.
"The first quarter is always the most important for me. If I score early it helps me relax the rest of the game," Washington said. "Playing with Jahad is a pleasure. He's there when you need him. I know where he's at on screens and can dish it off to him. We're a good duo and I love playing with him."
It wasn't all great for Williamsport, though.
In the third quarter Washington attempts to jump up for a layup and was flipped by a charging Altoona player. Washington's back slammed down hard into the floor, but he was able to finish his two foul shots before being taken out of the game.
"I drove and saw the land and jumped. He got under me some how," Washington said. "It was how I landed on my hip that hurt. It's probably a bruise. I'll wake up sore, but that's it."
Altoona struggled all night to find any kind of consistency on the offensive end. Manny Span did the most damage finishing with a team-high ten points. DeShae Lee added six points to go with a block and steal, despite being over matched throughout the night.
Rafeeq Barnes 2 0-0 4; Danny Moyer 2 0-0 4; Gabe Skelly 1 0-0 2; Deshae Lee 3 0-0 6; Manny Span 5 0-0 10; Stefon Hall 0 0-0 0; Matt Dry 0 0-0 0; Brandon Lytle 2 0-0 5. Totals 15 0-0 31.
James Boggs 0 0-0 0; DeAndre Kaough 6 2-4 14; Jahad Thomas 5 2-4 12; Herb Stelly 3 1-2 7; Syd Dowling 2 0-0 4; Isaiah Washington 5 1-4 13; Achilles Watson 3 0-2 6; Sharif Coleman 2 1-2 5; Chris Kinley 0 1-2 1; Brice Harris 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 8-20 62
Altoona 6 6 11 8-31
Williamsport 22 14 15 11-62
3-point goals: Altoona 1 (Lytle). Williamsport 2 (Washington).
JV score: 64-62, Williamsport.
High scorers: Altoona-Austin Pope, 22. Williamsport-James Boggs, 16.
Records: Altoona (5-15). Williamsport (13-7).
Next: Penn Wood at Williamsport, Saturday, 7:30.