Sophomore complements Benzel in BG’s title victory

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Anna Audley’s role on the Wolford Gearhart’s Moving & Storage girls basketball team is just to mix it up underneath.

“Basically, it’s to get rebounds and play defense,” Audley said.

Audley, though, showed she can do more than that if needed.

The sophomore forward scored nine points in the second half to complement Lili Benzel’s 25-point outburst as the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School entry in the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA Women’s Summer Basketball League to post a 59-55 victory over DelGrosso’s – the Bellwood-Antis varsity – in the High School Division championship game on Sunday afternoon at the Reliance Bank Gymnasium.

Wolford Gearhart’s avenged a six-point regular-season setback to DelGrosso’s by coming back from an 11-point deficit late in the first half. The battle of a pair of reigning District 6 champions who will be favored to repeat in 2015 lived up to the hype and were tied with about 4 minutes to go before Wolford Gearhart scored seven of the contest’s final 10 points.

“Even though it’s summer league, it’s still a game, and you have to come out and play like you always do. Bellwood’s always good competition,” said Benzel, also a sophomore. “I knew it was going to be a good game. We could either win or lose. You had to come out and just play and give it your all.”

DelGrosso’s had a couple of opportunities to tie it at 58 in the 30 seconds, but Karson Swogger couldn’t convert a 3-pointer after an Ana Hollen steal in the backcourt, and Hollen was off the mark on a deep trey with 12.3 seconds to go. Karis Taddei then made the front end of a one-and-one at the other end to set the final.

Swogger led DelGrosso’s with 19 points, with Hollen and Kelly Leamer chipping in with 13 and 12, respectively.

“I think we gave a lot of effort,” Swogger said. “(The game) means a lot. Everyone wants to beat BG.”

DelGrosso’s might have pulled it off if not for Audley, who wasn’t available for the first meeting between the teams. The 5-foot-8 transfer from Penn Cambria, where she was a varsity reserve as a freshman, finished with 14 points off the bench.

Keeping her cool despite the atmosphere and being thrown into a rivalry with which she was unfamiliar, Audley scored eight points in the last 10 minutes – one more than Benzel – to help swing the game Wolford Gearhart’s way when the outcome was in doubt. It was her field goal inside that gave the Guilfoyle team the lead for good at 54-53, before Benzel made a 3-pointer from the top of the key and split a pair of free throws with 1:01 left.

“All (my teammates) are really encouraging, so it was easy to step up,” Audley said.

Audley also was a big reason Wolford Gearhart’s won the rebounding battle in the second half, 15-10, after getting outrebounded by four in the first half.

For much of the first half, it looked like DelGrosso’s was on the verge of running away with things. The Bellwood squad jumped out to a 12-6 lead on Swogger’s fastbreak layup, then pushed the advantage to 17-10 on an Anna Lynn bucket.

Back-to-back-to-back 3s by Leamer, Hollen and Swogger gave DelGrosso’s its largest lead at 30-19 with about 5 minutes left in the first half. Wolford Gearhart’s, though, stormed back from there and was only down a point at halftime after Benzel’s baseline jumper with 3.9 seconds to go.

“We all knew we had to pick it up and start playing the way we know how to play,” said Benzel, a second-team Class A all-state player last season.

DelGrosso’s struggled a bit to get going offensively in the second half, as Wolford Gearhart’s took the lead. Then the game went back and forth until the end.

“We just weren’t executing. Then we had to step it up on the defensive end, but we weren’t boxing out. I think that’s what we had to do, but it just didn’t come through for us,” Swogger said. “This is just a summer league game. We’ll be ready during the season.”

Guilfoyle won the District 6 Class A championship last year, while Bellwood-Antis prevailed in Class AA, both with few seniors on the roster. Sunday’s win, though, gave the Wolford Gearhart’s contingent a little added spring in its step.

“The summer league shows other teams how good we are,” Audley said. “I think (by the end of the season) I feel we were more used to playing together.”

DELGROSSSO’S (55): Hollen 6 0-0 13, Swogger 7 1-2 19, Carles 2 0-0 5, Leamer 4 1-1 12, Lynn 2 0-0 4, Damiano 1 0-0 2, Crider 0 0-0 0. Totals – 22 2-3 55.

WOLFORD GEARHART’S MOVING & STORAGE (59): Adams 2 3-4 7, Benzel 9 3-4 25, Scipioni 0 0-0 0, Taddei 1 1-2 3, B. Lewis 3 0-2 6, R. Lewis 0 4-4 4, Audley 6 2-3 14, Lee 0 0-0 0. Totals – 21 13-19 59.

Halftime-DelGrosso’s, 32-31. 3-point goals-DelGrosso’s 9 (Swogger 4, Leamer 3, Hollen, Carles); Wolford Gearhart’s Moving & Storage 4 (Benzel 4).

Records: DelGrosso’s (15-7); Wolford Gearhart’s Moving & Storage (12-10).

Officials: Vicki Markiewicz, Joe Bilka, Jack McDougal.