BELLWOOD - It appeared Tuesday's game between the Juniata Valley and Bellwood-Antis high school girls basketball teams should be a good game.
The teams were the class of the Inter-County Conference North Division, with Bellwood-Antis leading the division with a 9-0 mark, while Juniata Valley was right behind with a record of 6-2.
But appearances can be deceiving.
The teams combined for 65 turnovers, but the Lady Devils were able to commit fewer than their foe and overcome those miscues to win, 60-46, at Bellwood-Antis High School's gymnasium.
"It was just one of those nights," Bellwood-Antis coach Jim Swaney said. "You have those. We're all human, and some nights you have it and sometimes you don't."
It was ugly right from the get-go with the teams combining for just five points in the first three minutes, while combining to commit 11 turnovers. B-A's Bailey Swogger had a strong quarter, scoring five of her 13 points.
After Juniata Valley held a 9-4 lead, the Lady Devils finished the quarter on a 7-1 run, which allowed Bellwood to take a one-point advantage after one quarter (11-10).
It was much of the same in the second quarter, with the teams combining to commit 19 more turnovers, 14 by JV, many because of the full-court pressure it was forced to deal with. Ironically, Juniata Valley was able to outscore the Lady Devils in the quarter, 18-13.
With Bellwood-Antis leading 15-14 with 5:55 left in the second quarter, Abbie Zinobile's traditional three-point play quickly regained the lead for her squad. Bellwood-Antis was able to convert on another Juniata Valley turnover, as Katy Leamer scored a layup with 4:57 left, giving the Lady Devils a 20-16 lead. Juniata Valley went on an 11-2 run over the next two minutes with Ellie Keller starting that run with a 3-pointer. It allowed Juniata Valley to take a 28-24 halftime lead.
"The turnovers are something we focus on, but we turned the ball over 20 times in the first half," JV coach Rachelle Hopsicker said. "That's way too many turnovers. We tried to adjust, but their pressure got to us."
Although they still turned the ball over six times in the third quarter, the Lady Devils looked like a different team, finally able to make some shots. Leamer's second jumper tied the game at 30-30, and Ana Hollen followed with a trey that gave the Lady Devils their first lead since early in the second quarter. B-A went on a 6-0 run to end the quarter, turning a pair of late JV turnovers into easy fastbreak layups by Crook and Hollen.
Hollen began the fourth by making a pair of 3s, and all of a sudden, the Lady Devils led by 14 points. B-A grabbed its largest lead of the game, of 17 points when Leamer made a basket with 2:55 remaining.
"Crook's on-ball defensive pressure was the key to us turning around the game," Swaney said. "We hung around, and I am proud of the kids' effort in the second half. Ana made a few 3s, and Katy scored a few key buckets. When you're shooting 6-for-33 or whatever we were shooting at some point in the first half, it leads to problems."
Bellwood-Antis improved to 16-1. Juniata Valley fell to 11-5.
JUNIATA VALLEY (46): Zinoble 8 5-7 21, Ammerman 3 0-0 6, Myers 3 5-6 12, Keller 1 0-0 3, Smith 2 0-1 4, Varner 0 0-0 0, Lecrone 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Young 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 10-14 46.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (60): Crook 3 0-2 6, Hollen 4 5-6 16, Ka. Leamer 6 1-2 13, Swogger 4 5-6 13, Ke. Leamer 0 1-2 1, Mercer 1 4-6 6, Damiano 2 1-6 5, Showalter 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 17-30 60.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Juniata Valley10 18 7 11 - 46
Bellwood-Antis11 13 19 17 - 60
3-point field goals: Juniata Valley 2 (Myers, Keller). Bellwood-Antis 3 (Hollen 3).
Records: Juniata Valley (11-5); Bellwood-Antis (16-1).
JV: Bellwood-Antis, 56-25. High scorers-Miller, JV, 6; Showalter, BA, 17.