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Hot-shot rangers top Devils

Bellwood-Antis’ plan in the District 6 3A consolation game focused on containing the Forest Hills strong interior game.

When the Rangers’ trio of Jake Shope, Mitchell Chunta and Zach Myers combined to knock down their first four 3-point shots and went 6-of-10 from behind the arc in the first half, that plan quickly went awry.

Forest Hills jumped out to an early 10-2 lead, increased the advantage to 21 in the second quarter and went on to down the Blue Devils Thursday at the AAHS Fieldhouse, 66-40.

“I think they made their first seven shots of the game. That basically set the scene for what it was going to be like,” B-A coach Kevin Conlon said. “If they’re going to hit those outside shots, there’s really nothing we can do because their inside game is so strong.”

Shope accounted for five of Forest Hills’ first 10 points with a 3-pointer to open the game and bucket on the fast break. In between, Chunta hit a 3 and Quinn Spangler made a jump shot from the baseline.

“People are always doubling underneath so it opens up shots for the guards,” Chunta said. “If we start hitting them, we’re hard to stop because if they come out to cover us, we can kick the ball back inside.”

The Rangers extended the lead into double digits in the second quarter.

After Jack Luensmann hit a 3 for Bellwood to make it a 22-15 game, Forest Hills took command of the game with a 15-1 spurt.

The decisive run started when Bellwood big-man Nathan Wolfe went to the bench for a breather. Forest Hills immediately attacked inside for nine straight points, the final three coming on Josh Schrock’s 3-point play.

“We don’t substitute for Nate a lot, but he was tired going up and down the big court. On top of that, Tuesday night he battled the 6-8 kid from Ligonier Valley, and he battled 6-5 (Adam) Cecere in this game,” Conlon said. “Unfortunately, when he’s not in the game, we don’t any sort of presence in the middle.”

Forest Hills kept the run going even after Wolfe returned to the lineup when Chunta and Myers knocked down back-to-back treys late in the half for a 37-16 lead.

Each team scored 10 points in the third quarter before Forest Hills closed it out with 19 points in the fourth.

Chunta finished with a game-high 17 points, and Schrock had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Cecere scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Mason Yingling led Bellwood with 12 points. Wolfe finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

“Our defense was good. It was intense. We were able to run a couple different things at them, and they all seemed to be effective,” FH coach Dom Vescovi said. “Our post players usually make us go, but it turned out to be 3-point shooting. We came out pretty hot.”

Both teams already qualified for the PIAA playoffs when they reached district semifinals. Thursday’s result puts Forest Hills in the state tournament as the third-place team out of District 6 and Bellwood the fourth-place team.

Bellwood plays WPIAL champion Lincoln Park in the first round of the state playoffs Saturday, March 9 at a site and time to be determined. Forest Hills gets WPIAL runner-up North Catholic.

BELLWOOD-ANTIS (40): Yingling 4 1-2 12, Mallon 0 1-2 1, Wyland 3 0-0 6, Walker 1 0-0 3, Wolfe 3 2-2 8, Frederick 1 0-0 2, Luensmann 1 0-0 3, Miller 1 1-3 3, Moss 0 0-0 0, Pellegrino 0 0-0 0, Gibbons 0 2-2 2. Totals — 14 7-11 40.

FOREST HILLS (66): Shope 2 0-0 5, Chunta 6 2-3 17, Cecere 4 3-4 11, Spangler 3 1-2 7, Schrock 5 2-5 13, Myers 2 0-0 6, Spinos 2 0-0 4, Berkhimer 0 0-0 0, Kline 0 0-0 0, Pasquerilla 1 0-0 3, Rok 0 0-0 0, Plummer 0 0-0 0. Totals — 25 8-14 66.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Bellwood-Antis 10 9 10 11 — 40

Forest Hills 18 19 10 19 — 66

3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 5 (Yingling 3, Walker, Luensmann); Forest Hills 8 (Shope, Chunta 3, Schrock, Myers 2, Pasquerilla).

Records: Bellwood-Antis (16-9); Forest Hills (15-9).

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