EBENSBURG - For a guy who was supposed to be out of commission until at least early March, Noah Davis is pretty effective.
Just ask the Blairsville Area High School boys basketball team. Or his coach, Brent Gerwert.
"If Noah doesn't play," Gerwert said, "I don't know if we win this game tonight."
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Noah Davis puts up a shot against a Blairsville defender.
Probably not. In just his second game back after shattering his left wrist in mid-January, Davis came up with a performance befitting of his all-state status, collecting 27 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots. Third-seeded Bellwood-Antis needed every bit of it to deny Blairsville's bid for a huge upset, 49-44, in the first round of the District 6 Class AA playoffs on Tuesday night at Central Cambria High School.
"I definitely felt pretty good," said Davis, a 6-foot-6 forward and two-time Altoona Mirror first-team all-star. "I was glad I took some extra shots and went in the other day to take some extra shots after practice. I was still a little sore with the wrist, but I'm happy we were able to come out with the win."
Seth Worthing chipped in with 10 points. The Blue Devils improved to 21-3 and set up a rematch of last year's district championship game with Bishop McCort in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Davis made 4-of-5 shots - including a 3-pointer - on his way to a 10-point first quarter. The 6-foot-6 Seton Hill-bound senior finished strong, too, scoring seven in the fourth quarter and going 5-for-6 at the foul line down the stretch as the Blue Devils held off Blairsville's late charge.
Afterward, Davis sounded like he was playing with something to prove.
"I was coming in looking to impact the game the way I can. I'm the same player I was before the injury. I just had a few little setbacks," said Davis, a two-time Altoona Mirror first-team all-star who was 9-for-20 from the field and played all but 17.5 seconds.
Davis won't get any arguments from Blairsville coach Todd McGee.
"Davis was ultimately what separated our two teams," McGee said. "He stepped out and hit 3s. He was able to get buckets on the inside. You don't see many players like him."
The 14th seed which entered the tournament with a 9-13 record and a very young nucleus, Blairsville surged back from 11 points down in the third quarter and had a chance to tie it at 47 with 16.8 seconds left, but Colton McMillian's 3-pointer was off the mark. Davis then made two free throws to ice it.
Six-three sophomore Troy Williams topped the Bobcats with 14 points, and McMillian finished with 11.
"The guys played with tremendous heart," McGee said. "We just kept hanging in there, and we gave ourselves opportunities."
While the Blue Devils didn't get a lot of points from players other than Davis, those it did loomed large. Kyle Bartlett's only bucket of the game was a 3-pointer with 5:16 left that put Bellwood up seven and helped stem the tide of an 11-4 Bobcat run. Worthing made two 3-pointers and scored nine in the second quarter, enabling B-A to open up what had been a back-and-forth game in the first period and take a seven-point lead into the half.
"I've been sick the past couple of days. I was having trouble moving around at first. It made me think, 'What can I do to conserve some energy?,'" Worthing said. "I started getting smarter with my cuts. It really helped. It made it more difficult for them to cover me."
The feeling after the game was more one of relief than anything else for the Blue Devils. A couple of them admitted they might have gotten caught looking ahead to the potential rematch with McCort coming off their Inter-County Conference championship game win over Northern Bedford on Saturday.
"A win's a win, and this was not one of our best games," Gerwert said. "Defensively, we let them do what they wanted to. Offensively, we let them dictate what we did. A lot of turnovers . A lot of plays we just don't [typically] make. The good thing is, we get to come back Friday. But we're going to have to play better.
"I thought I had two guys mentally ready. But that's not enough. You need five or six."
Davis, though, appears ready, and that's a good place to start.
"We knew they were good, but we didn't expect to come out and play that bad," Davis said. "We've got to come in ready and make sure we give McCort a good game."
BLAIRSVILLE (44): A. Horchar 2 1-1 5, McMillian 4 2-3 11, Sisitki 1 0-0 2, Helm 3 0-0 6, Williams 6 2-2 14, Henderson 2 2-2 6, R. Horchar 2 1-1 5, Rydbom 0 0-0 0. Totals - 18 7-8 44.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (49): Sisto 0 0-1 0, K. Bartlett 1 0-0 3, S. Worthing 3 2-6 10, Wyland 2 1-1 5, No. Davis 9 8-10 27, Na. Davis, 1 2-3 4, C. Worthing 0 0-0 0, Burget 0 0-0 0. Totals - 16 13-21 49.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Blairsville13 8 12 11-44
Bellwood-Antis12 16 10 11-49
3-point goals: Blairsville 1 (McMillian), Bellwood-Antis 4 (No. Davis, S. Worthing 2, K. Bartlett).
Officials: Bill Zamboni, Mike Felus, Mike McDermott.
Team records: Bellwood-Antis (21-3); Blairsville (9-14).