HOLLIDAYSBURG - Bishop McCort coach John Hahn knew Bellwood-Antis was much better than a normal No. 5 seed in the District 6 Class AA girls basketball playoffs.
He didn't know anything about Makayla Carles.
The 5-foot-7 freshman came off the bench for the Lady Blue Devils when forwards Selena Damiano and Anna Lynn got into foul trouble. She scored 12 momentum-shifting points, had three blocks and pulled down six rebounds against a pair of 6-footers for McCort in a 66-57 victory in the quarterfinals Friday at Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School.
"We were not accounting for [Carles]," Hahn said. "We even sagged off of her when she got the ball. She decided she was going to shoot the ball, and that was something that we took awhile to adjust to.
"[Carles] coming off the bench was huge for them and made some key baskets."
Carles has seen limited playing time this season but has been playing more minutes as the season has gone on.
"When we got into a foul situation with our two bigs, [Carles] was our next best option," Bellwood-Antis coach Jim Swaney said. "She's not tall, but she's a very athletic kid and doesn't play like a freshman. She hit some huge shots for us and was all over the floor.
"She's a kid who has been playing well for us. She was our leading scorer for the junior varsity team, and we know she's good. With the guards we have, she doesn't always get a lot of minutes, and that's a shame."
Bellwood-Antis (22-2) also got 24 points from Ana Hollen and 23 points from freshman Karson Swogger.
The Lady Blue Devils earned a trip to the semifinals and a rematch with Blairsville. Blairsville defeated Bellwood by two in the season opener and for the district championship last season.
"We have probably both gotten better since that first game," Swaney said. "They are very well coached and have very good players. I don't know where it will be played at, but I would think it would be one of the better Double-A games in the state."
Hollen, who played the final 4:07 with four fouls, said Bellwood is hitting its stride.
"We are going to win a district title this year," Hollen said. "They could have given us a 12-seed, and we're still going to come out No. 1. We're really motivated, and we have worked really hard for this."
Bishop McCort's Haley Thomas picked up her fourth foul with 5:20 to play in the third quarter and wasn't as disciplined as Hollen when it came to staying in the game. The 5-foot-10 freshman guard fouled out less than 2 minutes later with 3:45 left in the quarter.
In all, the game featured 68 fouls and the same number of foul shots. The game wasn't decided on the line, as Bellwood made 24 and McCort made 25, or on the boards - which McCort won 53-32.
According to Hahn, everything came down to one timeout.
Katie Wilson, a 6-foot-1 junior center for the Lady Crushers, pulled in one of her game-high 21 rebounds and made a layup to cut Bellwood's lead to 47-43 with 6:28 left before Swaney called a timeout.
"The one time we started to make a little bit of a run, [Swaney] called a timeout," Hahn said. "It was the only time I saw them lose their composure. After the timeout, they came back on the floor completely composed."
Along with her rebounds, Wilson scored 16 points, and 6-foot sophomore Morgan Instone added 17 points and 13 rebounds for McCort (17-6).
While Hollen provided leadership and both protected the ball against the press and forced turnovers on defense - Bellwood had 21 - she gave most of the credit to a pair of freshmen.
"We have the two best freshmen in the area," Hollen said. "Makayla and Karson really stepped up. The girls had 6 inches on Makayla inside, and she still killed it out there. I'm so proud of her."
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (66): K. Swogger 4 12-15 23, B. Swogger 1 1-2 3, Hollen 6 10-13 24, Leamer 1 0-0 3, Damiano 0 1-2 1, Lynn 0 0-0 0, Carles 5 0-0 12. Totals - 17 24-32 66.
BISHOP MCCORT (57): Wilson 6 4-7 16, Instone 3 11-14 17, Krouse 1 0-0 2, Thomas 3 1-2 8, Barbin 2 6-7 11, Miller 0 2-4 2, Gibbons 0 1-2 1, McGrath 0 0-0 0, Hajjar 0 0-0 0, Rhine 0 0-0 0. Totals - 15 25-36 57.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis15 14 16 21 - 66
Bishop McCort14 9 13 21 - 57
3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 8 (K. Swogger 3, Hollen 2, Carles 2, Leamer); Bishop McCort 2 (Thomas, Barbin).
Records: Bellwood-Antis (22-2); Bishop McCort (17-6).
Officials: Dave Pray, Tona Williams, Ray Hoppel.