BA boys collects County Seat title

Good teams run in cycles in most small schools-two or usually at most three in a row and then it’s back to rebuiding, which really means mediocre at best for several seasons. An exception to that rule of thumb has been the Bellwood-Antis boys basketball team. The Blue Devils seem to be peaking in 2002-03 currently running their undefeatede mark to a sterling 10-0 on Friday night by winning their fourth straight County Seat Tournament, sponored by Central Cambria and played at the Red Dragons high school in Ebensburg.
It hasn’t always been easy. Bellwood-Antis has had all they care to handle thrown at them in several games this season, strating with overcoming a 12-point lead against backyard rival Tyrone in the season opener. In Thursday night’s tournament opener, B-A had to handle a front line averaging over six-foot-six to defeat Bishop Carroll 58-53. In Friday’s championship finals, Central Cambria took a dozen-point lead midway through the second quarter and some of the Red Devil players seemed to feel the game was already over.
But ask Bellwood-Antis coach Tim Keech about quiting. “There is no quit in these guys,” said coach Keech. “From the first game against Tyrone, when we came back to win, and again tonight, There just simply is no quit in these kids makeup. They refuse to accept anything except victory.”
In a battle of the Blue Devils against the Red Devils, Central Cambria came out and baffled B-A for the first quarter and a half until Bellwood-Antis was able to adjust.
“We had a shootaround before the ame trying to simulate the things Central Cambria does,” explained Keech, “but we didn;t do very well, because they came out at the beginning and gave us all kinds of trouble.”
Down by a dozen markers, the Blue Devils began to put things together. Finally with the clock running down, Steve Crider drove the middle and fired the ball out to Danny Smith, who never hesitated in firing up a three-point shot that hit nothing but net to cut the Central Cambria lead to just two points after trailing earlier by 12.
“That play and basket was a tremendous emotional lift for us,” said Keech. “We just couldn’t mimic them in our practice, but after we adjusted, we started to come back. That three-pointer at the end of the first half was a tremnedous uplift just when we needed it most.”
The final two quarters were all Blue Devils at both ends of the court. The B-A defense held Central Cambria to just 15 second half points, after the Red Devils had scored more than that total in BOTH the first and second quarters.
“We talked at halftime about wanting to come out and dominate the first four minutes of the third quarter,” said Keech, “and then see what happened. At times in the second quarter, it looked like some of ther Central cambria players thought with their big lead that the game was over. We outscored them 15-7 and really turned the tide of the game in the third quarter.”
After B-A took the lead in the third quarter, the Blue Devils keep the pressure on outscoring Central Cambria 20-8 in the fourth quarter to make sure there was no doubt of the outcome.
The foul line was also the Blue Devils best friend with Bellwood-Antis sinking 20 of 24 tries from the charity stripe along with outscoring Central Cambria from the field canning 24 field goals to 22 for the Red Devils.
Ryan Myers and Steve Crider led the Blue Devils in scoring with 20 points each and Nate Carlson added 16.
Sinclaire fronted the Central Cambria attack with 18 points.
Three Blue Devils were named to the County Seat All-Tournament Team. Ricky Shannon and Dan Smith joined Ryan Myers, who was selected as the Tournament MVP for the second straight year.
Bellwood-Antis 71, Central Cambria 53
Score by quarters
Bellwood-Antis – 14 22 15 20 – 71
Central Cambria – 22 16 7 8 – 53
Individual scoring
Bellwood-Antis: Shannon 0 4-4 4, Smith 3 2-2 11, Mattern 0 0-0 0, Crider 9 2-3 20, Carlson 6 4-4 16, Greiner 0 0-0 0, Hughes 0 0-0 0, Rogers 0 0-0 0, Myers 6 8-11 20. Totals: 24 20-24 71.
Central Cambria: Sinclaire 8 0-1 18, Piper 0 0-0 0, Brolley 1-0-0 2, Sheehan 1 4-4 6, Pierce 2 0-0 5, Wolford 5 0-0 10, Rager 2 1-1 6, Reichard 1 0-0 2, Mazzarella 1 0-0 2, Mesarus 0 0-0 0, Miller 1 0-0 2, Klezek 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 5-6 53.
Three-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 3 (Smith 3); Central Cambria 4 (Sinclaire 2, Pierce 1, Rager 1)