LOYSBURG - If the first two games are any indication, slowing down the Bellwood-Antis girls basketball team will be no easy chore.
After scoring 69 points against Tyrone in their season opener, the Lady Blue Devils put even more on the scoreboard versus a Northern Bedford team that returned four starters from a team that went 18-6 a year ago.
Bellwood overcame a slow start for an 80-59 win Monday over the Lady Panthers.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Bellwood-Antis’ Ana Hollen tries to shoot over Northern?Bedford’s Briana Beach.
"We can score. There's no doubt about that," Bellwood coach Jim Swaney said. "Both teams played at a high level. Northern Bedford has a good team. They'll win a lot of games."
The game was much closer than the final score. When Leah Hershberger scored two of her team-high 25 points on a driving layup late in the third quarter, Northern trailed by just two, 53-51.
Bellwood went on a 14-3 run over the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter to pull away from the Lady Panthers. The Lady Devils then converted 8-of-10 free throws later in the quarter to seal the win.
Ana Hollen led Bellwood with a game-high 27 points, Katy Leamer scored 26 points and Bailey Swogger finished with 18. Leamer grabbed 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double.
Northern Bedford, playing its first game of the season, started strong. When Lana Gochnour hit 3-pointer late in the first quarter, the Lady Panthers held a 22-13 lead.
"We came out ready to play. We've been working hard for three weeks," Northern coach Todd Eckenroad said. "BA right off the bat is quite a test. We game them a good game. They're a quality team. We had a good many turnovers that hurt us."
Turnovers helped Bellwood get back in the game and take the lead in the second quarter. Switching to a 1-3-1 zone defense keyed a 15-2 run to open the second quarter for a 30-24 lead.
"The 1-3-1 zone was good to us," Swaney said. "Katy Leamer at the top of that zone is tough. She's 5-foot-9, long and athletic."
Leamer carried the offense in the first half, scoring half of Bellwood's 34 points.
A Hershberger 3-pointer and a reverse layup by Hannah Drenning pulled Northern to within one later in the quarter.
After Bellwood scored the next four points, Northern's Alyssa Smith drained a 3-pointer to make it a 34-32 game at the half. Smith had a double-double for the Lady Panthers with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Swaney credited Kelly Leamer and Jacqueline Finn with keeping Smith from doing even more damage.
"They did a great job on Smith. She's in the 5-foot-8 range as a guard. They did a real nice job contesting her shot," he said.
Bellwood opened up a 12-point lead early in the third quarter, but once again the Lady Panthers clawed back. Hershberger drained a pair of 3-pointers and scored on a driving layup to trim the Bellwood lead to two with 1:49 left in the third, but that was as close as Northern would get.
For Northern, Monday's game was the first of three games in four days to open the season. The Lady Panthers play Southern Huntingdon at home Wednesday and at Southern Fulton Thursday.
"We'll come back ready to play. It'll be a good early season test for us," Eckenroad said.
Bellwood takes on Claysburg-Kimmel at home Thursday.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (80): Hollen 6 12-16 27, Ka. Leamer 8 7-8 26, Swogger 6 4-7 18, Ke. Leamer 1 2-4 5, Damiano 0 0-1 1, Mercer 1 0-0 2, Finn 0 0-0 0, Showalter 0 1-4 1. Totals - 22 26-40 80.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (59): Cottle 4 0-2 8, Hershberger 7 8-9 25, Clark 0 0-1 0, Smith 4 5-7 14, Beach 1 0-2 2, Drenning 3 0-2 6, Gochnour 1 1-2 4, Leidy 0 0-0 0, Cronrath 0 0-0 0, Fink 0 0-0 0. Totals - 20 14-25 59.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis15 19 24 22 - 80
Northern Bedford22 10 20 7 - 59
3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 9 (Hollen 3, Ka. Leamer 3, Swogger 2, Ke. Leamer); Northern Bedford 5 (Hershberger 3, Smith, Gochnour).
Records: Bellwood-Antis (2-0); Northern Bedford (0-1).
Officials: Dave Mattas, Dan Amerhein, Brad Eckroth.
JV: 30-28, Bellwood-Antis. High scorers-Leidy (BA) 13; Crider (NB) 8.