INDIANA - Bellwood-Antis stood toe-to-toe with District 7 power Burrell in the first and third quarters of Tuesday night's PIAA Class AA second-round girls basketball playoff game.
Problems shooting from the field in the second and fourth quarters, however, knocked the Lady Devils out of the tournament.
Bellwood scored just two second-quarter points and four points in the fourth quarter, which Burrell carried, 14-4, en route to a 34-29 victory at the Indiana Senior High School gymnasium.
Bellwood-Antis closed the books on a 25-3 season. Burrell (27-1) moves on to face District 10 champion General McLane, a 45-39 second-round winner over Tussey Mountain Tuesday night, in a quarterfinal matchup Friday night.
"Our kids battled and battled, but we picked a real bad night to have a very poor second and fourth quarter shooting the ball,'' said Bellwood coach Jim Swaney. "We scored a total of 23 points in the first and third quarters, which isn't bad against a team like Burrell, but in the second and fourth quarters, we couldn't throw the ball in the ocean.''
Natalie Myers, a 5-foot-11 sophomore forward, scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter for Burrell.
After Bellwood had taken a 25-20 lead on freshman Karson Swogger's 3-pointer right before the third-quarter buzzer, a 3-point field goal by junior guard Sydney Bordonaro and Myers' pullup bucket early in the fourth period tied the score, 25-25.
With 4:44 left in the game, Myers converted a traditional 3-point play to give Burrell the lead for good, 28-25. Myers took senior forward Jessica Cercone's pass in the low block and dropped in a bucket, then added the free throw after she was fouled on the play.
"I felt like we really picked it up on defense in the fourth quarter,'' said Myers, who also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. "We played as a team tonight. Nobody wanted our season to end here.''
Myers did her part to make sure it didn't, making all seven of her fourth-quarter free throws to help Burrell stave off Bellwood down the stretch after the Lady Devils had drawn to within one point, 30-29 on junior Anna Lynn's inside bucket at the 2:25 mark.
"Natalie shot great from the foul line,'' Burrell coach Meghan Ziemianski said. "She made them when it mattered. I've been telling our players all along that layups and foul shots win games.''
Led by sharpshooting guard Ana Hollen's 13 points, Bellwood forged leads of 12-9 after one quarter and the 25-20 advantage after three periods.
The Lady Devils were outscored, 9-2 in the second quarter and Burrell won the game in the fourth quarter.
"It's heartbreaking,'' said Hollen, who led Bellwood rebounders with eight. "We had the Elite Eight [playoff position] right in front of us. They were in a matchup zone in the fourth quarter, and it was hard for our offense to find gaps and penetrate. We just went cold.''
Bellwood didn't get very many good looks at the basket in the fourth quarter, Swaney said.
"We became very perimeter-oriented, settling for outside shots, and they weren't falling,'' he said.
Bellwood graduates senior Bailey Swogger, a career 1,000-point scorer, but has an excellent nucleus returning next season, led by Hollen.
"Bailey is a great player and we will miss her dearly,'' Swaney said. "But on the bright side, this is one of the better teams in the history of Bellwood-Antis High School, and next year, our goal will be to get even further. I have the utmost respect for these kids, and I know that these players will work their tails off to get back to this point.''
BURRELL (34): Bordonaro 3 0-0 7, Manga 0 0-0 0, Oddis 1 1-2 3, Myers 4 8-9 16, Cercone 4 0-0 8, Finn 0 0-0 0, Oswalt 0 0-0 0, Kristof 0 0-0 0. Totals - 12 9-11 34.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (29): Hollen 4 2-2 13, B. Swogger 0 0-1 0, K. Swogger 4 0-2 9, Leamer 0 0-0 0, Damiano 1 0-0 2, Lynn 2 1-2 5, Carles 0 0-0 0, Showalter 0 0-0 0. Totals - 11 3-7 29.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Burrell9 9 2 14 - 34
Bellwood-Antis12 2 11 4 - 29
3-point goals: Burrell 1 (Bordonaro); Bellwood-Antis 4 (Hollen 3, K. Swogger).
Records: Bellwood-Antis (25-3); Burrell (27-1).
Officials: Bryan Harlan, Colin Caiser, Bob Boyer.