Davis returns; Devils triumph
CLAYSBURG – Bellwood-Antis senior standout Noah Davis spent the last month on the sideline with a broken wrist.
His return to the Blue Devils’ lineup for Saturday night’s Inter-County Conference championship game was, in more ways than one, just what the doctor ordered.
Cleared to play Friday after sitting out 25 days and eight games, the 6-foot-6 Davis made his presence known with 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds, helping Bellwood win the ICC title with a 54-40 victory over Northern Bedford at the Claysburg-Kimmel High School gymnasium.
Davis played with his left wrist splinted and taped, and didn’t feel 100 percent, but he played well enough to make a big difference in the game and help Bellwood improve its overall record to 20-3.
“It was sore and weak, but I was able to play through the pain,” Davis said. “I can’t really dribble that well, and I could tell that I hadn’t played in awhile. But I was able to shake some of the rust off tonight, and help my team get a victory.”
Davis suffered the wrist injury Jan. 21 in the Blue Devils’ victory over Claysburg-Kimmel. Bellwood had a 13-1 record before his departure, but lost two games since then.
“I didn’t think I was going to come back,” Davis said. “It was the power of prayer, and the doctors who treated me.”
Bellwood coach Brent Gerwert and the Blue Devils – who open District 6-AA playoff competition against Blairsville Tuesday at Central Cambria High School – are happy to have Davis back.
“It’s a great boost,” Gerwert said. “He gave us that little jolt that we needed tonight. He kind of controlled the paint, and he opens things up for us offensively because he demands the opposition’s attention. It’s a good lift for us going into the playoffs. ”
Davis was by no means a one-man show Saturday for Bellwood, which also got a game-high 15 points from senior guard Dominic Sisto to go along with 11 points from Davis’ younger brother, Nathan, and 10 from senior Seth Worthing.
“We played real well both offensively and defensively,” Gerwert said. “We didn’t make a lot of turnovers, and we did a good job of limiting [Northern Bedford] to one shot.”
Northern Bedford coach Barry Crawford felt that was one of the keys to Saturday’s game.
“They played much better than us obviously, and the score indicated that,” Crawford said. “We spent way too much time on the defensive end, and we weren’t patient enough offensively.”
Bellwood – which held a 30-27 advantage in overall rebounds – opened up Saturday’s game in the third quarter, extending a three-point halftime lead to 12 points, 40-28 on Sisto’s jumper from the key that rolled off the rim and through the basket with 2:14 remaining in the period.
“Dominic Sisto played a great game,” said Gerwert, whose team went on an eight-point run at the outset of the third quarter that was highlighted by Noah Davis’ 3-pointer from the left corner and his steal that set up Sisto’s fast-break bucket. “[Sisto] can drive by almost anybody that defends him. We’ve been stressing at halftime of our games that we’ve got to be mentally tough for 16 more minutes. We were very patient offensively tonight, and when you’re patient, good things happen.”
The game was never in doubt after Bellwood’s third-quarter spurt.
Northern Bedford (18-5) got 11 points from junior Zane Snyder and 10 from senior Tayler Pressel, who also grabbed seven rebounds. Northern Bedford will open District 5-AA playoff action Feb. 27 by hosting a semifinal game against an opponent that has yet to be determined.
“We’ve got to play better than this, or it will be a short run for us in the playoffs,” Crawford said.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (54): K. Bartlett 0 0-0 0, Sisto 6 1-4 15, Wyland 3 1-2 7, C. Worthing 0 0-0 0, S. Worthing 4 1-2 10, Na. Davis 1 9-10 11, No. Davis 5 0-0 11, Burch 0 0-0 0, O. Worthing 0 0-0 0, Pearson 0 0-0 0, Burget 0 0-0 0. Totals – 19 12-18 54.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (40): Snyder 3 3-3 11, Diehl 3 0-0 6, Over 2 0-0 6, Z. Pressel 2 3-5 7, T. Pressel 4 1-3 10, England 0 0-0 0, Barnes 0 0-0 0, Litzenberger 0 0-0 0, Cronrath 0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 0 0-0 0. Totals – 14 7-14 40.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis14 14 12 14 – 54
Northern Bedford10 15 6 9 – 40
3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 4 (Sisto 2, S. Worthing, No. Davis); Northern Bedford 5 (Snyder 2, Over 2, T. Pressel).
Records: Bellwood-Antis (20-3); Northern Bedford (18-5).
Officials: Clark Adelman, Joe Bilka, Joe McDougal.