LOYSBURG - The Northern Bedford High School girls basketball team finished its regular season with four consecutive wins, including a 12-point finale victory over a strong Claysburg-Kimmel squad.
It began the District 5 Class A playoffs Saturday night by beating Meyersdale, 57-37, in the quarterfinal round at Northern Bedford High School gymnasium.
"I thought our girls really played well tonight," Northern Bedford coach Todd Eckenroad said. "They stepped up and made some shots early in the game."
The Lady Panthers played extraordinarily well in the first quarter, outscoring the Red Raiders 13-5 in the frame. The trio of Cierra Cottle, Leah Hershberger and Alyssa Smith was responsible for all of the Panthers points, highlighted by a 3-pointer by Hershberger to complete the scoring for the quarter.
After Cottle commenced the second quarter by scoring on a fast-break layup, Kyley Dunmeyer of the Lady Raiders and Cottle traded treys in consecutive possessions. Dunmeyer, who finished with a team-high 14 points, answered back with a basket on the Lady Raiders, but Northern Bedford went on an 11-2 run over the next three minutes. The big shot during the run was a long ball by Hershberger.
That run was largely responsible for the Panthers taking a 31-18 advantage at the half.
The third quarter was a lot like the first quarter, with the Lady Panthers outscoring the Red Raiders 13-6 in the period. Hershberger was responsible for five in the quarter, including a trey with 4:10 left that took the Lady Panthers' lead to 19. A layup by Briana Beach and a pair of free throws by Hershberger preceeded another trey by Dunmeyer at the buzzer. Through three quarters of play, the Panthers led, 44-24.
The Lady Raiders began the fourth with a 6-0 run for the first minute, cutting their deficit to 44-30, but they never got any closer. After a 13-3 run by Northern Bedford - with a traditional three-point play by Smith highlighting it - it extended the Panthers' lead all the way to a game-high 24 points.
"They had better intensity than us in the first quarter," Meyersdale coach Eric McCool said. "I think the long bus ride was a factor. We had to play catch-up the rest of the game. But I'm proud of how my girls battled until the end."
One of the biggest stories of the game was Northern Bedford's great foul shooting - the Lady Panthers were 17-of-18 at the line.
"We've really been working on that [foul shooting] hard, and it paid off," Eckenroad said.
The Lady Panthers improved to 17-6 and will play the top-seeded Southern Fulton team Wednesday in the tournament's semifinals round.
Meyersale wrapped up its campaign at 15-8.
MEYERSDALE (37): Day 0 2-6 2, Bolden 1 1-1 3, Dunmeyer 5 0-0 14, Petenbrink 2 3-3 7, Walker 0 0-2 0, Stahl 4 3-4 11, Edwards 0 0-0 0, Ritchey 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 9-16 37.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (57): Cottle 5 6-6 17, Hershberger 6 4-4 19, Gochnour 1 2-2 4, Clark 0 0-0 0, Smith 4 3-3 11, Drenning 0 2-3 2, Beach 2 0-0 4, Leidy 0 0-0 0, Cronrath 0 0-0 0, Fink 0 0-0 0, Veach 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 17-18 57.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Meyersdale5 13 6 13-37
Northern Bedford13 18 13 13-57
3-point field goals: Meyersdale 4 (Dunmeyer 4). Northern Bedford 4 (Hershberger 3, Cottle).
Team records: Meyersdale (15-8); Northern Bedford (17-6).