Blue Devil boys prevail over Hornets in Juniata Valley action

In basketball, it is common knowledge that teams that live by the 3-pointers, also die by the 3-pointer. On Wednesday night in Alexandria, Juniata Valley suffered from the latter and Bellwood-Antis clearly benefitted. The Green Hornets attempted 39 shots from outside the arch, but only managed to sink 9. The Blue Devils, led by Ricky Shannon and Ryan Myers, were able to constantly capitalize on their opponents misfortunes from 3-point range, as they took control late in the third quarter, and cruised to a 69-53 victory and upped their undefeated record to 7-0.
Early on, Juniata Valley’s offensive scheme for the night was very appparent. As always, relying on the three point shot would be crutial in order for the Hornets to be successful. Off the tip, the onslaught of three points attempts began. However, on this night, nothing seemed to fall for the home team. Valley guard Chris Lawler gave his team some hope early, sinking 3 of his first 4 attempts from outside, but even he would turn ice-cold as the game progressed.
Adding insult to injury, the Blue Devils, who also struggled shooting the ball, turned up their defensive pressure. This was especially apparent at the end of the first quarter when Ricky Shannon picked off a pass and took it coast-to-coast for an easy lay-up. This was followed by another steal, this time by B-A’s senior guard Steve Crider, which turned into another Blue Devil bucket. On the very next Hornet possession, Shannon intercepted another pass, and took it to the hole for 2 more points.
Althought being dominated by the B-A defense in the first stanza, the scrappy Juniata Valley squad kept its cool. The Hornets were able to get back into the game with some defense of their own, limiting the Blue Devils to only 12 points in the second quarter. Of course, the 3-pointer had something to do with it too. The streaky Hornets got their shooting back on track as Chris Lawler and Bill McGinnis hit back-to-back threes that helped to give Valley a 32-31 halftime advantage.
“At halftime, we talked about what we had to do,” said Blue Devil coach Tim Keech. “We knew it would be a dogfight, and I was proud of how our guys came out and took control in the second half.”
For as hot as the Juniata Valley shooters were in the first half, they went ice cold after halftime. Bellwood got its offense and defense together in the second half and led 46-40 on a Ricky Shannon 3 pointer with 22 seconds left in the third quarter. The Blue Devils continued the 8-0 spurt with a Crider basket and a bucket and free throw by Senior forward Matt Rogers.
Bellwood-Antis never looked back from there as they kept the comfortable cushion until the final buzzer.
Ryan Myers led the Blue Devil attack with 19 points, Shannon netted 14, Crider chipped in 11, Brent Hughes added 9, and Senior Nathan Carlson scored 8. The Blue Devils, who were playing without starter Danny Smith (ankle) and key reserve Shawn Weiand, who had his appendix out, got a big lift from the shorter than usual bench. Rogers, Senior Jake Mattern, and sophomore Paul Greiner all came in to give the Blue Devils a nice lift.
Chris Lawler led the Hornets with 14 points, 9 of which came in the first half. Lawler and the rest of his team just couldn’t find the range, especially in the second half when Bellwood picked up the defensive intensity.
“We talked about not reacting when they make a three,” said Keech. “With as many threes as they shoot, they are going to make some. We just had to get a hand in their faces when they shoot and not get rattled if they make a couple.”
The 7-0 Blue Devils return to action on Friday when Mount Union comes to town for a showdown of two undefeated teams atop the Juniata Valley League.
JV Action starts at 6 with Varsity following at 7:30.
Junior Varsity
The Bellwood Antis JV team came up just short against the Hornets of Juniata Valley, losing a close 51-48 decision. Paul Greiner fronted the Blue Devils with a game high 20 points. The junior varsity squad fell to 3-4 on the season.
Bellwood-Antis 69 Juniata Valley 53
BELLWOOD ANTIS: (69) Crider 5 0-3 11, Shannon 5 3-6 14, Carlson 4 0-0 8, Myers 8 3-4 19, Hughes 2 4-4 9, Matter 1 0-0 3, Rogers 2 1-2 5 TOTALS 27 11-19 69.
JUNIATA VALLEY: (53) Noel 1 0-0 2, Lawler 4 2-3 14, Price 2 0-0 5, McDowell 4 0-0 9, McGinnis 2 0-0 6, Teeters 3 0-2 6, Allison 0 1-2 1, Corbin 2 0-0 4, Lightner 1 0-0 3, Grissinger 0 3-4 3 TOTALS 19 6-11 53.
Score By Quarters
Bellwood-Antis 19 12 15 23 – 69
Juniata Valley 15 17 8 13 – 53
Three-point goals Bellwood-Antis 4 (Crider 1, Shannon 1, Huighes 1, Mattern 1); Juniata Valley 9 (Lawler 4, McGinnis 2, McDowell 1, Lightner 1)