Sweep gives Bellwood-Antis ICC North title
WILLIAMSBURG — Last summer, Bellwood-Antis graduated its entire starting five from last year’s PIAA Class 2A quarterfinalist team that had won the previous two state championships.
Chelsea McCaulsky was the first player off the bench from that squad and was determined to keep up the standard once her more well-known teammates were gone.
The Lady Blue Devils knocked off Williamsburg, 55-40, to complete a season sweep of the Lady Pirates and remain unbeaten in the Inter-County Conference’s North Division. B-A wrapped the the regular season division title with the win and plays Glendale on Friday.
“This has been a great experience,” McCaulsky said. “We’re such a young team, and we have a lot going for us. People didn’t see us being this good as a team. We learned from some really good leaders. Alli (Campbell) and everyone else taught us a lot in their last year in practice and through their leadership.”
The ICC is planning to play a semifinal and championship round for official ICC titles, but those games will likely occur the week between the district and state playoffs, depending on the status of the teams that qualify.
“We only had two returning letterwinners, and we haven’t had a regular preseason or season, and that was part of the problem,” Bellwood-Antis coach Jim Swaney said. “Even now, we’re learning on the go without practices. But we’re 9-3, and we’re undefeated in the ICC North. I don’t think a lot of people would have thought that, but we think we’re going to put another year on that (ICC) banner.”
Those two returning letterwinners, McCaulsky and Jaidyn McCracken, had big games against Williamsburg.
McCracken led all scorers with 18 points and had 10 rebounds while McCaulsky had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Though the Lady Blue Devils won the battle of the boards by the end of the night, it was actually a problem in the first quarter, which ended with the Lady Pirates ahead, 18-14.
“In between quarters, I told them we were allowing them to play harder than we were willing to play,” Swaney said. “Once we corrected that by getting some help from Jaylee Shuke on the glass and Lydia Worthing in that second half along with Chelsea getting 11 rebounds, we took over. I keep telling people I think (McCaulsky) is the best player in the ICC. I know there are a lot of great players, but she’s such a tough kid.”
Williamsburg, which had won six in a row after losing to Bellwood-Antis 51-48 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Chloe Hammond on Feb. 8, was held to just 11 points over the second and third quarters.
“We started to get out-hustled,” Williamsburg coach Amy Hileman said. “They were beating us to every ball. They started to get every rebound, and they started to make their outside shots.”
Megan Palmer led the Lady Pirates with 16 points, and Kendel Norris also reached double figures with 12 points.
Bellwood-Antis will start the District 6 Class 2A playoffs on the road next week while Williamsburg will likely host a quarterfinal game in Class 1A.
“We definitely have work to do to prepare for Monday’s playoff game,” Hileman said. “If we can get by that, the next one up is most likely Bishop Guilfoyle. We have some high times where the kids step out on the floor and really contribute, but there’s also times where you notice the inexperience. Tonight especially, that inexperience showed. Overall, we are young, and we play team basketball. I’m just not sure we did that tonight.”
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (55): McCaulsky 5 5-6 17, McCracken 7 0-0 18, Worthing 4 1-3 9, Partner 2 1-2 7, Hammond 1 0-1 2, Robison 0 0-0 0, Shuke 1 0-0 2, Woomer 0 0-0 0. Totals — 20 7-12 55.
WILLIAMSBURG (40): Hileman 1 0-0 3, Woodruff 1 0-0 2, Norris 6 0-0 12, Palmer 6 2-4 16, Simpson 0 0-0 0, Carper 1 0-0 3, Ward 1 2-3 4, Prough 0 0-0 0, Stewart 0 0-0 0. Totals — 16 4-7 40.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis 14 17 12 12 — 55
Williamsburg 18 6 5 11 — 40
3-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 8 (McCracken 4, McCaulsky 2, Partner 2); Williamsburg 2 (Palmer, Carper).
Records: Bellwood-Antis (9-3); Williamsburg (8-3).
Officials: Dan Solomon, Rick Dillon, Jim Cushion.
JV: No game.