EVERETT - Jim Swaney spent three years retired from coaching basketball before returning to the bench at the helm of the Bellwood-Antis Lady Blue Devils, but he didn't lose his touch.
The coaching veteran of 20 years inspired his team at halftime and then helped B-A hold off Everett in the final seconds of a 68-67 victory at Everett Area High School on Monday night.
Bellwood trailed the Lady Warriors, 31-22, through two quarters.
"[Swaney] yelled at us in the locker room, and he threw his clipboard," Lady Blue Devil Katy Leamer said. "I don't like being yelled at, and neither does my team, so we played pretty well in the second half after he yelled at us."
B-A (13-2) outscored Everett, 29-9, in the third quarter and forced 15 Lady Warrior turnovers to take control of the game. Leamer scored 17 of her game-high 33 points in the quarter.
"I was a little disappointed with Katy at halftime," Swaney said. "I didn't think she played real well in the first half, and she's been sick. In the third quarter, though, she came out and did a great job. She really lit up the scoreboard."
Leamer scored eight more points in the first half of the fourth quarter, and Bellwood-Antis led by 15 points with 4:23 left, but Everett did not go quietly.
The Lady Warriors closed the game on a 21-7 run that was aided by five missed free throws by the Lady Blue Devils.
Aubrea Phipps, who led Everett with 28 points, hit a 3-pointer with 9.6 seconds to play that made it a one-possession game at 67-64, but B-A's Ellen Crook was fouled and made her first free throw with 7.7 seconds remaining.
During the timeout between free throws, Swaney told his team that if Everett made a basket, whoever inbounded the ball after the shot should simply hold on to it out of bounds until the clock ran out.
Everett's Bailey Morral hit a 3-pointer to pull the Lady Warriors within one with about 4 seconds left, but Leamer just held on to the ball out of bounds, and Everett never got a chance to foul or get a steal.
"They were out of timeouts," Swaney said. "So as long as they took 2.5 seconds to bring the ball up the court and make a shot, we were in good shape. The big shot for us was Ellen making that first foul shot."
For Everett, which dipped to 6-7, the game was yet another close loss in a frustrating season for coach Keith Moyer.
"We've struggled with turnovers all year," Moyer said. "When we turn the ball over, we don't play well. It's a shame, because our kids shot the ball well and rebounded the ball well. If we don't turn the ball over 34 times, it's a different outcome.
"To turn the ball over that many times against Bellwood and still only lose by one is a testament to these kids' efforts."
The Lady Blue Devils used a one-three-one press to create havoc for Everett. Despite winning the rebounding battle, 45-25, the Lady Warriors could not overcome their 34 turnovers, many of which came before getting the ball past halfcourt.
"Anna Lynn does a great job at the top of our zone," Leamer said. "Ana Hollen and Bailey Swogger do a good job at putting pressure on the ball, and that's tough for teams to deal with."
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (68): Ka. Leamer 12 3-3 33, Swogger 1 4-4 6, Crook 0 1-2 1, Hollen 3 4-4 10, Krepps 0 1-2 1, Mercer 0 0-0 0, Ke. Leamer 4 1-2 10, Lynn 3 1-6 7, Finn 0 0-0 0. Totals - 23 15-23 68.
EVERETT (67): Au. Phipps 9 8-12 28, Morral 4 5-6 15, Beegle 3 2-2 8, Clark 3 0-1 6, Duvall 2 2-2 6, T. Hillenbrand 1 2-2 4, Brallier 0 0-0 0. Totals - 22 19-25 67.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis16 6 29 17 - 68
Everett14 17 9 27 - 67
3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 7 (Ka. Leamer 6, Ke. Leamer 1); Everett 4 (Au. Phipps 2, Morral 2).
Officials Sarah Fye, Don Donaldson, Frank Goshorn.
Records: Bellwood-Antis (13-2); Everett (6-7).
JV: Bellwood-Antis, 55-15. High scorers-Kelly Leamer, BA, 13; Aarika Price/Olivia Hillenbrand, E, 4 each.