CLAYSBURG - The Bellwood-Antis High School girls basketball team outscored Southern Fulton in the second, third and fourth quarters.
However, the Lady Indians led at the end of the first, second and third quarters and, ultimately, in overtime to capture the Inter-County Conference girls championship, 60-54, at the Claysburg-Kimmel High School gymnasium on Saturday.
"It's tough," Bellwood-Antis coach Jim Swaney said. "I'm 55 years old. I have been doing this for a long time, so it's not as tough for me. But you have to live in their moment, and that's what coaching is. They played with everything they had, and it didn't work out for them. They are sad, and I'm sad. I am sad for them, because we missed an opportunity, I think, to win a championship tonight, and you don't get those back."
The Lady Blue Devils were able to force the Indians to a tie in regulation after Katy Leamer hit a 3-pointer with 1 minute left.
"It is really hard, because this is what we have worked for all season," Leamer said. "It is just hard to lose. We don't like losing. We just don't like to lose."
Bellwood lost a five-point lead with 1:40 left in the fourth quarter when Kayla Wertz drilled two consecutive 3-pointers for Southern Fulton. Leamer, who finished with 17 points, followed with a 3-pointer.
"To her credit, [Wertz] had a six-point trip, and I don't know whether she did a whole lot before that point," Swaney said. "But she stepped up and made two huge 3s when she had to in regulation."
Then in overtime, Southern Fulton went 6-of-6 from the line, including four from Macey Hollenshead.
"[Free-throw shooting] was big," Southern Fulton coach Mark Mellott said. "If you hit your foul shots in the end of close games, you are going to win. If we miss those foul shots, we probably don't win."
The Lady Devils had gained a lead after trailing by four points and two points in the second and third quarters, respectively.
"We expected that from [Bellwood], because we had plenty of film on them, and we knew that they were going to make runs," Mellott said. "And they did. Part of their runs was we missed three or four layups in a stretch, and we had a couple turnovers. That hurt us. But we expected them to make that run."
Southern Fulton rallied from deficits in both the fourth quarter and overtime to win.
"They are a good team," Swaney said. "I think we had multiple opportunities to seize control of the game. We were up five with two minutes to go and at the foul line with two shots, and we missed them both."
Bellwood will now take on the winner between Central and Richland in the District 6 Class AA quarterfinals next week.
"Kids are resilient, and that is the great thing about kids,'' Swaney said. "We are going to be sad tonight, and we will take a day off tomorrow, and I'll be shocked if we don't come into the gym [next week] playing harder than we have all year."
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (54): Crook 4 2-2 12, Hollen 4 0-2 9, Damiano 1 0-4 2, Lynn 2 2-5 6, Ka. Leamer 6 3-3 17, Swogger 2 0-2 5, Ke. Leamer 1 0-0 3, Krepps 0 0-0 0, Mercer 0 0-0 0, Finn 0 0-0 0. Totals - 20 7-18 54 .
SOUTHERN FULTON (60): M. Hollenshead 5 6-6 17, Chilcote 3 0-1 6, C. Strait 2 1-2 5, Wertz 6 0-0 14, Roman 0 4-6 4, Morton 4 4-4 12, J. Hollenshead 1 0-2 2. Totals - 21 15-21 60.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis9 14 12 15 4 - 54
Southern Fulton15 12 10 13 10 - 60
3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 7 (Crook 2, Hollen, Swogger, Ka. Leamer 2, Ke. Leamer); Southern Fulton 3 (M. Hollenshead, Wertz 2).
Records: Bellwood-Antis (20-3); Southern Fulton (22-1).