Road ends for Northern seniors

JOHNSTOWN – The Northern Bedford County High School girls basketball team entered the District 5 Class A playoffs as the No. 4 seed. That proved to be the appropriate slot for the Lady Panthers.

After falling to Southern Fulton in the semifinals Wednesday, Northern Bedford’s season ended Saturday with a 52-45 loss to Berlin Brothersvalley in the consolation game at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown Sports Center.

Leading 15-14 through one quarter of play, Northern Bedford went scoreless over the final five minutes of the second quarter to fall behind by 10 at halftime, and pulled no closer than seven points the rest of game.

“The second quarter is where it fell apart,” Northern Bedford coach Todd Eckenroad said. “They trapped us, and we were not keeping our heads up. Turnovers killed us again.”

Northern Bedford had twice as many turnovers as points in the second quarter, 6-3, and finished with 21 turnovers in all.

Cierra Cottle’s 3-pointer high off the glass put the Lady Panthers up 18-16 with five minutes left in the first half. It was their lone points of the quarter.

Berlin went on a 12-0 run for a 28-18 lead at the break.

“The second quarter was a matter of focusing on playing defense, boxing out and being patient on offense,” Berlin coach Rachel Prosser said.

Northern tried to mount a comeback in the third quarter but committed 10 fouls in the first six minutes of the period, putting Berlin in the double bonus for the final two minutes of the third and the entire fourth quarter.

Berlin spent the rest of the game primarily running clock and shooting free throws. The Lady Mountaineers scored 18 of their 24 second-half points from the foul line.

Berlin advanced to the PIAA playoffs for a first-round matchup Saturday against Portage at a site and time to be determined. Northern Bedford’s season ended at 17-8.

For six seniors, it was their final game.

“Losing six seniors is tough. It’s tough to say goodbye. They’re all good students, good athletes. It’s hard to see them go,” Eckenroad said.

“We’ve played together nine years,” senior captain Leah Hershberger added. “We’ve been a big part of each other’s lives. It’s tough to lose the last game, but we’ve had a lot great times, good memories and good wins. Once a team, always a team.”

Hershberger finished with a team-high 13 points, and fellow senior Briana Beach scored 12 points, 10 of which came in the second half. Sophomore Hannah Drenning added 11 points off the bench.

“We didn’t get any points out of Alyssa Smith. She usually scores eight to 10 points a game. That hurt us,” Eckenroad said. “Briana did well. She stepped up in the second half. I wish she would have been that kind of force for us all year.”

Berlin’s Aleesa Fieg led all scorers with 16 points, and Marah Riley scored 13. Shelby Coughenour turned in a strong first half with nine points and eight rebounds for the 22-4 Lady Mountaineers.

NORTHERN BEDFORD (45): Cottle 2 1-2 7, Hershberger 3 5-6 13, Clark 1 0-0 2, Smith 0 0-0 0, Beach 6 0-0 12, Drenning 4 2-2 11, Gochnour 0 0-0 0. Totals – 16 8-10 45.

BERLIN (52): Trulick 1 7-8 9, Craig 1 1-4 3, Riley 3 7-10 13, Coughenour 3 3-4 9, Fieg 5 3-4 16, McClucas 1 0-0 2, Luprek 0 0-0 0. Totals – 14 21-30 52.


Northern Bedford15 3 12 15 – 45

Berlin14 14 14 10 – 52

3-point goals: Northern Bedford 5 (Cottle 2, Hershberger 2, Drenning); Berlin 3 (Fieg 3).

Records: Northern Bedford (17-8); Berlin (22-4).