Seniors shine for Bellwood
Haralson reaches 1,000; Leidig makes nine 3s
BELLWOOD — Bellwood-Antis’ celebrated group of seniors, which has collected its share of championships in the Inter-County Conference, District 6 and PIAA state playoffs, was playing its final home game of the season — and high school careers — Wednesday night.
Emilie Leidig and Sakeria Haralson made sure it was a memorable one for the Lady Blue Devils and their fans.
Leidig drained nine 3-pointers on her way to setting the school’s single-game record, and Haralson, the team’s center, knocked down an uncharacteristic 3-pointer of her own to surpass the 1,000-point mark for her career as the top-seeded Lady Blue Devils raced past No. 8 Glendale, 72-33, in a District 6 Class 2A girls quarterfinal matchup at the Bellwood-Antis High School Gym.
“They’re an outstanding group,” Bellwood coach Jim Swaney said of his seniors. “Varsity-wise, we’re a senior-dominated team and it’s nice when you know it’s your last game on this floor that you can come out and play that way.”
Bellwood (22-1) earned a spot in the district semifinals Monday night opposite No. 4 Bishop Guilfoyle at a site and time to be determined. BG was a 74-51 winner over No. 5 Homer-Center.
“They’ve played together for an awfully long time,” Swaney added about the group of seniors. “They’re fun to watch. I just hope we get to watch them for another month.”
Bellwood seniors Leidig, Haralson, Alli Campbell, Jaydyn Shuke, Macy Decker, Olivia Musselman and Brenin Abbott, and the rest of the Lady Blue Devils will have at least three more games. They will play two more games in the district playoffs and at least one in the PIAA playoffs as one of four District 6 qualifiers.
B-A senior Campbell, who finished the game with 20 points and five rebounds, put things into perspective after the final home game for this group of seniors.
“It’s an emotional night,” she said. “I’m happy with all the memories we’ve made here but you realize it has come to an end. We still have a lot of work to do, we still have a lot of memories to make. We’re not done yet.”
Leidig did plenty of work from behind the arc in the team’s district playoff opener. She got hot early and often with four 3-pointers in the opening quarter. She added two more in the second quarter, one in the third and two more in the fourth. Leidig drilled her ninth and final 3-pointer at the 4:50 mark of the fourth quarter, breaking the previous record of eight held by Riley D’Angelo, who played on last year’s team.
“Since freshman year I’ve played alongside some of the best players to come through here,” said Leidig, who finished with a game-high 27 points. “We knew it was our last home game coming in and I just wanted to go out with a good game, and the 3s just fell. They weren’t falling when I was warming up so I was kinda nervous but in the game they fell, and I couldn’t have asked for a better night.”
Haralson, who flirted with a triple-double, reached the 1,000-point mark at 3:05 in the third quarter when she launched a 3-pointer from the top of the key that bounced off the rim, straight up in the air, and then fell through the hoop.
“It’s great,” said Haralson, who finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocked shots. “To do it in three years and having everyone here to support me, it’s great.”
The milestones reached by Leidig and Haralson just cemented an already memorable night for this team.
“Leidig came out on fire, made a lot of shots for us,” Swaney said. “She’s a streak shooter and when she’s on, she can make life miserable for a lot of people.”
And for Haralson.
“It’s a real accomplishment when you think of just three years,” Swaney said of Haralson, who started playing for Bellwood her sophomore year. “As a team, certainly the addition of her three years ago put us over the hump as far as a statewide power goes. It gave us the presence inside we needed to go with the outstanding guard play that we’ve always had.”
Bellwood jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game behind a pair of 3s by Leidig and two free throws from Haralson. The Lady Blue Devils hit six 3-pointers in the opening quarter and took a 29-11 lead. Bellwood added four more 3s in the second quarter, including one from Jaydyn Shuke at 3:40 to give Bellwood a 28-point lead (43-15). Glendale’s Riley Best took a pass from Kyla Campbell for a layup at the buzzer to make it 44-19 at the half.
“They’re a great team and we’re a young team,” said Glendale coach Beth Campbell, who starts two sophomores, two juniors and one senior. “I told them before the game our goal here is to put together moments of good basketball where you can look back and go ‘yeah, I did that against Bellwood.'”
The Lady Blue Devils, who totaled 16 3-pointers for the game, got triples from Leidig and Decker to fuel a 10-0 run to start the third quarter. Bellwood stretched the lead to 54-19 and would outscore Glendale 20-8 in the quarter for a 64-23 lead heading into the fourth.
Junior Olivia Reese scored 12 points and Kyla Campbell had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Glendale, which finished the season at 15-9.
Game notes: Bellwood recorded its third win over Glendale this season, topping the Lady Vikings 74-37 and 70-33 earlier this year.
GLENDALE (33): Lukehart 2 0-0 6, Reese 4 4-5 12, Vereshack 0 0-0 0, K. Campbell 3 4-4 11, Noel 0 0-0 0, C. Kuhn 0 0-0 0, Sinclair 0 0-2 0, Best 1 0-0 2, Downs 1 0-0 2, A. Richards 0 0-0 0, C. Richards 0 0-0 0, Williams 0 0-0 0, Wimberly 0 0-0 0, Taylor 0 0-0 0, B. Kuhn. Totals — 11 8-11 33.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (72): Decker 1 0-0 3, Jaydyn Shuke 2 0-0 6, Leidig 9 0-0 27, A. Campbell 6 5-9 20, Haralson 5 3-6 14, Musselman 0 0-0 0, McCaulsky 1 0-0 2, McCracken 0 0-0 0, Woomer 0 0-0 0, Abbott 0 0-0 0, Robison 0 0-0 0, Worthing 0 0-0 0, Jaylee Shuke 0 0-0 0. Totals — 24 8-15 72.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Glendale 11 8 4 10 — 33
Bellwood-Antis 29 15 20 8 — 72
3-point goals: Glendale 3 (Lukehart 2, K. Campbell); Bellwood-Antis 16 (Decker, Jaydyn Shuke 2, Leidig 9, A. Campbell 3, Haralson).
Records: Glendale (15-9); Bellwood-Antis (23-1).
Officials: Ed Hall, Steve Scharf, Derek Jones.