MARTINSBURG- It wasn't easy, but the Bellwood-Antis Lady Blue Devils kept their unbeaten record intact Monday with a comeback win over Central in the Maxwell Transportation Lady Dragon Holiday Tournament.
The championship game originally was scheduled for last Saturday, but was delayed because of the weather.
"It was a little tough,'' B-A coach Jim Swaney said, smiling.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Bellwood-Antis’ Katy Leamer pulls up for a jump shot over Central’s Marissa Snyder.
The Lady Blue Devils scored the last nine points in the final 75 seconds to pull out a 66-60 win over the scrappy Lady Scarlet Dragons.
"Out here, Central always comes to play," Swaney said. "You know what you're going to get from them. They're going to work. It's their tournament and they think they're going to win it every year, and they have a right to think that way.
"And, Shelley [Central coach Shelley McCune] does a great job," he said. "Her kids are always prepared and ready to go."
Central was certainly ready to go Monday. Thanks to the first-half play of Brayley Lewis and Taylor McKnight, the Dragons trailed by only one [12-11] after one quarter and by only one [33-32] at the half. Lewis and Ashley Smith kept the hosts in the game until the closing moments of the fourth quarter.
Lewis, a freshman who scored 23 points, scored on a putback to give Central a 60-57 lead with 1:39 to play. That, however, was the Dragons' final points of the game.
Katy Leamer, who paced B-A with 24 points, started the Lady Devils' comeback with a short jumper. After Ana Hollen scored from the key, Katy Leamer, following a Central turnover, scored on a fastbreak to give the visitors a 63-60 lead with 34 seconds left.
Bailey Swogger hit 1-of-2 free throws and Katy Leamer converted a pair to set the final tally.
"The kids sucked it up when we had to," Swaney said of his team's strong finish. "It was nice to see Bailey make that foul shot because she's had a rough week," he said, noting the player's grandfather, former Altoona coach John Swogger, passed away Christmas day. "She's a gamer."
Swaney also praised the play of the Leamer sisters.
"Katy is a finisher and her sister [Kelly] really bailed us out on more than one occasion," he said. "And, Ana Hollen is a shooter. She didn't have a great game, but when we needed it, she stepped up, made some steals and hit a couple big shots."
Kelly Leamer, a sophomore, was named the tournament's most valuable player. Katy Leamer, a senior, and Lindsey Mercer represented B-A on the all-tourney team. Other picks were Tyrone's Nicole Gripp and Central Cambria's Taylor King-Brothers.
Bellwood-Antis finished 2012 with a 7-0 record, causing Swaney to note: "It's better than 0-7. We've got a lot of work to do, and we know that."
Although Central fell to 4-5, McCune saw some bright spots.
"The kids came out and played hard," McCune said. "We took care of the ball and made good decisions. We're improving.
"We've got to start believing we can compete against better teams like Bellwood."
Tyrone won the consolation game, 54-39, over Central Cambria.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (66): Hollen 6 4-8 16, Swogger 3 1-2 8, Ka. Leamer 9 6-8 24, Ke. Leamer 3 3-4 12, Damiano 1 0-0 2, Finn 0 0-0 0, Mercer 2 0-2 4. Totals - 24 14-24 66.
CENTRAL (60): McGraw 1 2-2 4, Smith 5 8-9 18, Myers 1 3-4 5, Lewis 10 3-3 23, McKnight 3 3-3 10, Snyder 0 0-0 0, Ritchey 0 0-0 0, Boyles 0 0-0 0. Totals - 20 19-21 60.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis12 21 12 21 - 66
Central11 21 17 11 - 60
3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 4 (Ke. Leamer 3, Swogger); Central 1 (McKnight).
Records: Bellwood-Antis (7-0); Central (4-5).