Campbell helps carry B-A to win
LEWISTOWN — When Bellwood-Antis is playing at its best, Alli Campbell is distributing the ball to open teammates for easy baskets and scoring when she sees the opportunity.
That didn’t happen in the first half of Friday’s PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal game against York Catholic at Mifflin County High School.
Other than Campbell, the Lady Blue Devils were ice cold. The star junior was forced to carry the load offensively and scored 12 of B-A’s 15 first-half points.
Campbell opened the second half with a pair of deep 3-pointers, and her teammates finally found their shot as Bellwood-Antis came away with a 53-47 victory to reach the PIAA semifinals for the third consecutive year.
“That’s not our first half,” Campbell said. “Fifteen points is not where we want to be. I was definitely trying to get us going and hit some shots, and when I got going, I felt like it opened some things up for my teammates as well.”
Just because her teammates started scoring didn’t mean Campbell stopped. She finished with a game-high 31 points and 10 rebounds, including two longer-than-NBA-range 3-pointers.
“You try to tell the kids they have to go pretty far out to contest,” York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos said. “Until you see it in person when (Campbell) is hitting 3s from that far out, you realize you have to get out even more.
“There’s a reason she’s going to Notre Dame. She’s really good. I’ll cheer for her even more when she gets there, because I’m a Notre Dame fan, but right now she gave me a headache.”
Bellwood-Antis will play District 11 champion Mahanoy Area, which defeated Old Forge 54-40, in the semifinals on Monday.
“I don’t know anything about them, but I’m sure by noon tomorrow, I’ll know a lot more about them,” Bellwood-Antis coach Jim Swaney said. “I know they have a decent point guard. I’m sure they are pretty good. Anybody playing right now is pretty good.”
York Catholic, which defeated Northern Cambria for a PIAA title in 2008 under Bankos, was certainly one of those good teams.
The Fighting Irish led 9-5 early, but Gabby Coley picked up her second foul with two seconds left in the first quarter. Coley had recorded nine rebounds in the first eight minutes alone.
Coley sat out the rest of the first half. When she returned to start the third quarter, she played the first four minutes without a foul before picking up two more in the span of 11 seconds.
“She’s definitely a big factor in this kind of a game,” Bankos said. “We were also missing Domenica Martello, which hurt us just as bad. She’s one of our starters, and she got sick last night. Between the two, we were down two starters.”
When Coley checked out, the game was tied at 21. York Catholic briefly took a lead on an Elena Kondrasuk 3-pointer, but Emilie Leidig answered that trey with one of her own.
About a minute later, Leidig and Campbell hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give Bellwood-Antis a six-point lead it maintained into the fourth quarter.
“I told the girls to keep shooting,” Swaney said. “If we’re going to lose, let’s go down playing the way we want to play. Riley (D’Angelo) and Emilie know they are great shooters, and they just had to keep firing.”
The Lady Blue Devils stretched the lead to 11, but Katy Rader, who led York Catholic with 11 points, made a 3-pointer to make it 41-33 with 5:11 left. Coley checked back into the game, and it looked as though things were about to tighten up.
That’s when D’Angelo broke out of a shooting slump with a 3-pointer with 3:38 left.
“It definitely felt good,” D’Angelo said. “I just want to contribute to the offense and help my team win. It’s been kind of frustrating that I’ve been off, so it was nice to get back into it.”
Despite being in foul trouble and missing some time in the second half, D’Angelo finished with six important points.
“We need Riley,” Swaney said. “The great thing about Riley is even when she’s missing shots, she’s so quick and athletic that she can still impact the game with her defense. It is definitely easier for us as a team, though, when she’s making shots.”
The Lady Blue Devils have now qualified for the PIAA semifinals in each of Campbell’s three years with the team. They lost to Bishop McCort in 2017 before topping Blairsville last year.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be going back to the Final Four,” Campbell said. “It’s great playing with these girls, and it’s just a fun time of the year.”
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (53): D’Angelo 2 1-2 6, Leidig 3 2-2 10, Jay. Shuke 0 0-1 0, Haralson 2 2-4 6, Campbell 9 9-11 31, Decker 0 0-0 0, Musselman 0 0-0 0. Totals — 16 14-20 53
YORK CATHOLIC (47): Kile 2 0-0 5, G. Citrone 2 2-2 6, Coley 2 2-2 7, Bulik 3 1-1 9, Rader 2 6-6 11, Kondrasuk 4 0-0 9, Tully 0 0-0 0, Jones 0 0-0 0, M. Citrone 0 0-0 0. Totals — 15 11-11 47
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis 5 10 19 19 — 53
York Catholic 9 6 13 19 — 47
3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 7 (Campbell 4, Leidig 2, D’Angelo); York Catholic 6 (Bulik 2, Kile, Coley, Rader, Kondrasuk)
Officials: Dwight Woodly, Keith Cramer, Jeffry Levan
Records: Bellwood-Antis (25-3); York Catholic (20-8)