Hornets knock off Blue Devils
BELLWOOD — As the final seconds of Juniata Valley’s 70-54 victory over Bellwood-Antis ticked off the clock, the Green Hornets’ Cameron Collins put a couple moves on Blue Devils defender Tanner Worthing.
It earned Collins some oohs and ahhs from the crowd and a big smile from Worthing.
After the final buzzer, Worthing and Collins embraced and wished each other luck.
“When you get two good teams in the same league, there’s going to be high-intensity games,” Bellwood-Antis coach Kevin Conlon said. “It’s going to create a rivalry, but the nice thing is it’s a good rivalry. It’s not a bunch of extra curricular stuff. It’s two good teams going at it, and unfortunately tonight we came up short.”
Juniata Valley wrapped up the Inter-County Conference’s North Division with the win. The Green Hornets stand at 13-0 in the league, and Bellwood-Antis slipped to 10-2.
“It’s been amazing from where we were two years ago to where we are now,” Juniata Valley coach T.J. Anderson said. “My first year, we won three games. Now we’re undefeated in the ICC and have lost just five games. We lost those games early, and we’d love to play those teams now. Where we are, and also where we’re heading, it’s scary to me.”
Collins led Juniata Valley with 22 points, but he had plenty of help. Quinn Zinobile finished with 20 points, capped off by a thunderous break-away dunk that served as the final nail in Bellwood’s coffin. Jaxson Rand added 11 points and nine rebounds.
“We knew we had to come in here and win to get the ICC championship,” Collins said. “That was our only goal. Ever since we started our ICC schedule, we’ve played harder and harder each game. As long as we keep up the pace we’re playing now, we’ll be good.”
Three years ago, a Juniata Valley boys basketball victory at Bellwood would be a huge upset. Tuesday, it was simply the next game on the schedule.
“I don’t know if there’s much to us coming into Bellwood and winning a game,” Anderson said. “It’s two great teams, and we came in here and did what we had to do. Our kids are playing well, and their kids are playing well. We just went on a run, and I felt like we capitalized when we needed to, and now we move forward.”
With a game left against West Branch, Juniata Valley has a chance to finish its conference slate unblemished.
“It means a whole lot of hard work,” Anderson said. “It means a lot of toughness, and it means that our kids are buying into our program.”
Bellwood-Antis got a game-high 26 points from Trent Walker, who kept the Blue Devils in it early with his outside shooting. Bellwood trailed by nine when Walker made a free throw with 1:03 to play in the third quarter, but Grant Musser’s 3-pointer with 10 seconds left put the Hornets up double digits the rest of the way.
“We lost to the better team tonight,” Conlon said. “We took it on the chin, and now we move forward and try to finish the season the right way.”
Juniata Valley will play either Southern Fulton or Everett in the ICC Championship game, but Anderson has his eyes on much more.
“Honestly with this group, the sky’s the limit,” Anderson said. “It would not surprise me if these guys were going to take this to the state championship game. It would not surprise me.”
Bellwood-Antis has a pair of games left before it begins a playoff run that Conlon said has every chance to be a successful one.
“We need consistent scoring from other options,” Conlon said. “Trent is always going to do what he does. He’s going to get you double figures, most of the time 20 or more, but we need our other our guys to consistently step up in big games.
“Throughout the year, when we play good teams like Tyrone or Juniata Valley, we haven’t got the second scorer to really step up for us. In the playoffs, we need another guy to consistently do it night in and night out.”
It appears the days of Bellwood-Antis dominating the series between the teams is over and a rivalry has been born.
“Two good programs,” Conlon said. “Coach Anderson does a great job. He’s a friend of mine, and I respect how he coaches. He’s building from the elementary up through the high school and doing it the right way. Brent (Gerwert) before me and I am trying to build ours the right way by coaching the kids all the way up.”
JUNIATA VALLEY (70): Collins 8 3-6 22, Zinobile 7 2-2 20, Hensor 4 1-1 9, Leri 1 0-0 2, Rand 3 4-4 11, Musser 2 0-0 6, Deihl 0 0-0 0, Reihart 0 0-0 0, Rupert 0 0-0 0, Henderson 0 0-0 0, Beck 0 0-0 0, Giles 0 0-0 0. Totals — 25 10-13 70.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (54): Worthing 4 0-0 8, Tre. Walker 10 2-5 26, Engle 2 2-3 6, Wyland 0 0-0 0, Wolfe 5 0-0 10, Yingling 1 0-0 2, Showalter 1 0-0 2, McCaulley 0 0-0 0, Pellegrino 0 0-0 0, DeArmitt 0 0-0 0, Tro. Walker 0 0-0 0. Totals — 23 4-8 54.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Juniata Valley 18 20 13 19 — 70
Bellwood-Antis 8 18 13 15 — 54
3-point goals: Juniata Valley 10 (Zinobile 4, Collins 3, Musser 2, Rand); Bellwood-Antis 4 (Tre. Walker 4).
Records: Juniata Valley (15-5, 13-0 in ICC North); Bellwood-Antis (15-5, 10-2 in ICC North).
Officials: Mike Andrews, Chris Rickens, Dan Sullivan.
JV: Juniata Valley, 38-32. High scorers–Mason Yingling, BA, 14; Grant Musser, JV, 14.