HOLLIDAYSBURG - After cruising to two lopsided victories over Mount Union in its regular season, the Bellwood-Antis girls basketball team wanted to establish itself early in Wednesday's District 6 Class AA first round playoff game.
It did just that, using a suffocating man-to-man defense and full court press to jump out to an early 17-2 lead and rout the Lady Trojans, 72-21, at Hollidaysburg Junior High School.
Bellwood advances to face fourth-seeded Bishop McCort in the quarterfinals on Friday.
"[Defense] was a big part of our game plan," Bellwood-Antis coach Jim Swaney said. "We wanted to get our transition game going, run early and get some distance between us right off the bat and we were able to do that.
On Mount Union's first possession, Ana Hollen stole the ball from a Lady Trojan guard and raced in to give Bellwood a 2-0 lead.
That was a sign of things to come, as the Lady Blue Devils forced 21 Mount Union turnovers in the first half and jumped out to a 49-14 lead at the break.
"[Bellwood] is very good all around," Mount Union coach Jenny Cunningham said. "Their defense speaks for itself and their offense does as well. They have a tremendous defense that scared our girls. To be a contender [against Bellwood], we had to play our best game and we didn't."
Hollen scored 22 first-half points to finish with 24 total, 18 of which came from turnovers, while Karson Swogger added 14 points and Makayla Carles chipped in 13.
After Mount Union made two shots to start the second quarter, Bellwood benefited from an 18-0 run, with Hollen scoring the last 10 of it herself.
"We're quick out front," Swaney said. "We produce turnovers and our guards get after the ball well. We're not overly big, so that's a good thing for us to have."
Kelly Leamer scored Bellwood's first six points of the second half, and put the Lady Blue Devils up 55-15 to force the mercy rule for the remainder of the game with a layup with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Mount Union failed to register a field goal for more than 10 minutes, from a minute left in the first half until Tynita White scored with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
White led Mount Union with 12 points.
"We think we're pretty good," Swaney said. "In [class] AA in District 6 if you're in the quarterfinals, you're pretty good."
MOUNT UNION (21): White 3 6-8 12, Gilbert-Walker 2 1-2 5, Morder 2 0-0 4, Foor 0 0-0 0, Knable 0 0-0 0, Miner 0 0-0 0, McCaulley 0 0-0 0, Stewart 0 0-0 0. Totals - 7 7-10 21.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (72): K. Swogger 6 0-0 14, B. Swogger 1 1-2 3, Hollen 10 4-4 24, Leamer 4 0-1 8, Damiano 1 0-0 2, Lynn 3 0-0 6, Carles 6 0-0 13, Crider 0 0-0 0, Stevens 0 0-0 0, LIedig 0 0-0 0, Whaley 1 0-2 2. Totals - 32 5-8 72.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mount Union5 9 3 4 - 21
Bellwood-Antis25 24 15 8 - 72
3-point goals: Mount Union 0 (None); Bellwood-Antis 3 (K. Swogger 2, Carles).
Records: Mount Union (12-11); Bellwood-Antis (21-2).