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Lady Blue Devils defeat Mo Valley on last-second heroics

The Bellwood-Antis Lady Blue Devils knew they ‘d be in a dogfight on Monday night in Houtzdale. And true to form, the Moshannon Valley Lady Damsels didn’t disappoint. In a sloppy game that featured poor shooting, missed opportunities and countless turnovers, Bellwood-Antis slipped by the Moshannon Valley girls by a score of 31-30.
The Lady Blue Devils of Bellwood came out of the gate strong, using a full-court man-to-man press to force the Lady Damsels into eight first-quarter turnovers. When Mo Valley did beat the press, they couldn’t seem to put the ball in the hoop especially from either black, where they missed countless layups.
The first quarter ended 8-5 in favor of Bellwood-Antis as they limited Mo Valley to just one field goal in the quarter. Trista Sprankle scored four of BA’s eight first-quarter points.
The second quarter saw more poor shooting by both teams, but it was the Lady Damsels that held the upper hand. Moshannon Valley used six free throws and three layups to outscore Bellwood-Antis 16-8 in the quarter and fashion a 21-16 halftime lead.
“At halftime, we talked about shooting the ball with confidence,” said Blue Devil coach Nick Lovrich. “I was pleased with our defensive effort and rebounding, especially in the second half.”
The Blue Devils came out of the locker room to start the third quarter with a purpose. They fought back to outscore the Lady Damsels 9-2 to close the gap to 25-23 in favor of Moshannon Valley after three. Bellwood-Antis used superb hustle and even better rebounding on both ends of the floor to subdue a much taller, but slower Mo Valley squad.
The all-important fourth quarter was a struggle both clubs. Rachel Meredith scored the first field goal of the quarter with only 1:27 to play to cut the Mo Valley lead to three, 28-25. The Lady Damsels answered right back with a layup off the press, taking the lead back to five. Meredith came back and canned a three-pointer from the corner to make it 30-28 with 32 seconds to pay. After a Bellwood turnover, Trista Sprankle got a steal with less than 10 seconds remaining and took it coast to coast for a layup and was fouled on the play as well. The foul shot rimmed in and Bellwood-Antis pulled out a miraculous 31-30 victory.
Rachel Meredith led the Lady Blue Devils with 11 points and Trista Sprankle added seven for the Bellwood-Antis girls, who are still without the services of twin towers Stephanie Hatch and Katie Gardner.
Bellwood-Antis returns to action on Dec. 28, when they host the Lady Blue Devils Classic, featuring Westmont, Northern Cambria and Cambria Heights. First night action will put Westmont versus Northern Cambria at 6 p.m. followed by the host Lady Blue Devils against Cambria Heights in the nightcap at 7:30.
With the win over the Lady Damsels, Bellwood-Antis improves to 5-2 overall, 5-1 in the Juniata Valley League.
Junior Varsity
The Bellwood-Antis junior varsity squad picked up a 27-19 triumph over Mo Valley on Monday night. Lauren Carter ld all scorers for the Lady Blue Devil Jayvees with 18 points on the night.
Bellwood-Antis 31 Moshannon Valley 30
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Edevane 1 0-4=2, Worthing 1 0-0 2, A. Smith 1 0-0 3, Meredith 5 0-0 11, Ridgeway 2 0-0 4, Sprankle 2 2-4 7, Swanson 0 0-0 0, Carter 0 2-2 2. TOTALS 12 4-10 31.
MOSHANNON VALLEY – Hayward 3 3-4 9, Washell 2 1-2 5, Martin 2 3-67, Gmerek 1 3-4 5, Nevling 0 0-0 0, Tomosko 0 0-1 0, Kitko 1 2-4 4. TOTALS 9 12-21 30.
Score by Quarters
Bellwood-Antis 8 8 7 8 – 31
Moshannon Valley 5 16 4 5 – 30
Three-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 3 (A Smith 1, Meredith 1, Sprankle 1); Moshannon Valley- none.