LOYSBURG - Northern Bedford has been a good 3-point shooting team all year, but if the Lady Panthers shoot like they did in Thursday's playoff opener, they'll be a very tough out.
Four different players combined on 5-of-6 from behind the arc in the first quarter and a total of nine 3-pointers for the game as Northern Bedford topped Bedford, 65-40, in the first round of the District 5 Class AA playoffs.
Leah Hershberger knocked down four treys on her way to a game-high 18 points, and Briana Beach, the lone Northern starter not to a make a 3-pointer, scored 17 points. The 6-foot-2 center also pulled in 17 rebounds for a double-double and blocked four shots.
"The girls were ready to play. They were anxious to come out on fire and did just that," Northern coach Todd Eckenroad said.
With the win, the third-seeded Lady Panthers advance to the semifinals for a matchup with second-seed Tussey Mountain 7 p.m. Tuesday at Tussey Mountain High School.
Two of Northern's five losses this season have been to the Lady Titans.
"Going there to play them on their floor is going to be tough. We know each other really well. It'll come down to who wants it more," Eckenroad said.
Cierra Cottle set the tone from the get-go against Bedford, draining a 3 from the left wing off the opening tip.
Alyssa Smith followed with a 3-pointer of her own, and Cottle drained another one that put Northern up, 9-1, less than two minutes into the game.
Ashley McGhee and Hershberger then hit back-to-back 3-pointers later in the quarter for an 18-5 lead.
The Lady Panthers continued piling up the points in the second quarter. Beach scored eight points on the inside, while Smith and Hershberger added two more 3-pointers, helping Northern to a 43-17 halftime lead.
By halftime, Beach already had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Bedford played Northern evenly in the second half, but by that time, the outcome was already decided.
"I was afraid that was going to happen. We prepared and talked all week about not getting frazzled when they hit a couple of 3s," Bedford coach Theresa Montgomery said. "This was our first time in the postseason. We were a bundle of nerves at the start. There were tons of butterflies on the bus ride over."
Summer Hartung led the Lady Bisons with 11 points. Lauren Fedorchak and Maggi Secrest scored seven points apiece. The twosome also led Bedford in rebounds with 17 and 12, respectively.
Bedford's season ended at 5-18, which doesn't sound very impressive, but for a program that entered the season without a single win since 2007-08, it's a major step forward.
"We're a little disappointed, but we're very proud. We won our first games and made the postseason," Montgomery said. "The girls worked tremendously hard throughout the summer and the season. I hate to see it end. It's been a lot of fun and an honor to coach this team."
BEDFORD (40): Secrest 1 5-7 7, Arnold 0 4-4 4, Blevins 1 1-2 3, Hartung 4 2-4 11, Fedorchak 3 1-2 7, Grimes 1 3-5 5, 0 3-4 3, Mueller 0 0-0 0. Totals - 10 19-28 40.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (65): McGhee 1 5-6 8, Cottle 4 0-0 10, Hershberger 5 4-6 18, Smith 3 0-0 8, Beach 7 3-5 17, Potter 2 0-0 4, Clark 0 0-0 0. Totals - 22 12-17 65.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bedford9 8 8 15 - 40
Northern Bedford19 24 6 16 - 65
3-point goals: Bedford 1 (Hartung); Northern Bedford 9 (Hershberger 4, Cottle 2, Smith 2, McGhee).
Records: Bedford (5-18); Northern Bedford (18-5).
Officials: Sarah Fye, Don Donaldson, Darius Deshong.