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Bellwood-Antis star maintains humility

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CLAYSBURG — When Tuesday’s game at Claysburg-Kimmel was briefly stopped to honor Alli Campbell’s Blair County scoring record-breaking basket, it may have been the only moment Campbell felt out of place during the game.

She was trying to get back on defense.

Suddenly, teammates were mobbing her, Campbell’s family was on the court and even Claysburg-Kimmel’s players were presenting her with balloons and flowers.

“It kind of snuck up on me, and I’m just taking it all in,” Campbell said. “It wasn’t really one of my top goals or focuses in the first place. This is just one milestone along the way, and we have a lot of team goals that we want to accomplish by the end of the season.”

Campbell, who now has scored more points (2,551) than any boy or girl in Blair County history, is much more comfortable talking about her team or working on her game.

“I’m so proud,” said an emotional Travis Campbell, Alli’s father. “Nobody sees the work that she puts in. She’s up early working when she should be sleeping, and she’s up late when she should be in bed or studying. She works constantly, and she doesn’t want a lot of the accolades that come with it, but we’re so very proud of her.”

A lot of players, especially at the high school level, will deflect praise to teammates or coaches, but Campbell takes it to another level.

“I think this milestone is a reflection of our team’s success,” Campbell said. “I truly mean it when I say this wouldn’t be possible without them. Every day they make me better.”

Campbell may finish her career with more than 3,000 points, but whatever the number is, it certainly could be much higher. She often chooses to pass to an open teammate or run the offense when it’s clear she could drive to the basket and score at will. It’s very rare to see her attempt a 3-pointer unless she’s wide open, though she has as pretty of a shot as anyone playing the game.

“She’s the best player in the state in any classification,” Bellwood-Antis coach Jim Swaney said. “I think she’s a very humble kid. She’s very confident, and she’s certainly worked her tail off to deserve any accolades that come her way.”

Though Campbell is proud of the work she’s put in to become a better player, she’s just as happy at helping her teammates excel.

“I’ve matured a lot and gotten a lot stronger,” Campbell said. “I’m better at finishing inside, and I’ve tried to develop a leadership role and motivate the girls and get them to play their best.”

That attitude, though it may mean someone someday may break her scoring record, has led to back-to-back PIAA Class 2A state championships. If Campbell can add a third this March, Bellwood-Antis will become the first District 6 basketball team to win three consecutive state titles.

“We’ve put hours into travel, our entire family,” Travis Campbell said. “My youngest daughter has spent birthdays in hotel rooms over the years, but it’s absolutely worth it. The people you meet in this process, the kids you play against, the competition, everything is worth it.”

And as spectacular as Tuesday’s accomplishment was, winning that record-breaking third straight PIAA title would be worth even more to Campbell.

Michael Boytim can be reached at mboytim@altoonamirror.com or 946-7521

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