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Mount Union edges Bellwood-Antis boys in Juniata Valley League First Cycle playoff

If the first meeting between the Bellwood Antis Blue Devils and the Mount Union Trojans was any indication of how this game would be played, then hold onto your hats and buckle up. B-A defeated Mount Union over a month ago on a last second shot by senior Ryan Myers to remain undefeated in league play.
However, Penns Valley knocked off B-A and forced Saturday night’s playoff with the Trojans for JVL First Cycle bragging rights.
The two squads are so similar in nature that it’s almost scary. Both have excellent centers in B-A’s Ryan Myers and the Trojan’s Earl Hollis. Both squads have quick, elusive point guards in Bellwood’s Ricky Shannon and Mount Union’s Jared House. Pure shooters were also plentiful in the game as Bellwood-Antis featured Seniors Steve Crider and Danny Smith and Mount Union countered with Justin Price. It would be Mount Union’s shooting guard that did the Blue Devils in as Justin Price hit for 26 points to help the Trojans squeak out the 58-57 win.
Both teams came out a bit jittery at Huntingdon High School in front of a packed gymnasium. Bellwood-Antis scored the first four points of the quarter, however they couldn’t find an answer for Earl Hollis in the first quarter.
Mount Union found themselves having a comfortable 19-12 lead after one quarter.
Bellwood-Antis fought back and outscored Mount Union 18-16 in the second quarter. However, Mount Union guard Justin Price found his touch in the last minute of the half. Price hit two threes before the final buzzer of the quarter and Mt. Union took a 35-30 lead into the locker room.
Myers had 16 of his team high 24 points in the first half for Bellwood-Antis and Price hit 17 of his game high 26 in the first two quarters for the Trojans.
“He was unconscience,” said B-A coach Tim Keech of Price’s shooting spree. “We had guys in his face all night long, and he still was hitting shots. They are tough to beat when he is hitting like that.”
The second half has been the Blue Devil’s half all year long, and the Blue Devils were looking to erase the five point deficite. Mount Union switched guard Isiah Helton on Myers and moved center Earl Hollis to cover BA’s Nate Carlson. The move paid off as Myers was limited to eight second half points.
The third quarter was a see-saw battle back and forth. After numerous lead changes in the quarter, Mount Union built a six point lead before B-A’s Ricky Shannon drained a three pointer to beat the buzzer and narrow the gap to three heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was one of the great quarters in high school basketball as it featured a back and forth battle between two Class AA area powerhouses. B-A had the lead by one point until Isiah Helton got a pass of a Trojan steal and took it coast to coast before he was fouled. He calmly drained two free throws giving the Trojans a one point advantage. The Blue Devils called two timeouts before setting up their final play with 14 seconds left in the game. The play was disrupted, and BA guard Danny Smith launched a desperation three pointer that came up short as Mount Union celebrated the victory.
“The shot just didn’t fall,” said Keech after the game. “But I’m proud of the way my kids played. They left everything they had on the floor tonight, and I couldn’t have asked for more from them.”
Price led Mount Union with 26 points, and big man Earl Hollis had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Hollis accumulated his 1000th career rebound early in the third quarter, and play was stopped while Hollis received a brief standing ovation and congratulations.
The Bellwood-Antis offense revolved around Myers, who netted 24 points, and guard Steve Crider, who netted 10 of his 15 points in the second half. Ricky Shannon and Nate Carlson each had seven for Bellwood.
Bellwood-Antis takes on the Hornets of Juniata Valley tonight in Bellwood. JV tip is at 6 with Varsity following at 7:30. On Friday, the Blue Devils travel to Mount Union for their second cycle shootout with Mount Union’s Trojans.
Mount Union 58 Bellwood-Antis 57
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Myers 9 5-6 24, Shannon 3 0-0 7, Smith 1 0-0 2, Crider 7 1-3 15, Carlson 1 2-2 5, Rogers 2 0-0 4, Hughes 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 23 8-11 57.
MOUNT UNION – House 1 2-2 5, Price 11 0-0 24, Helton 1 2-2 4, Puchalla 1 2-2 4, Hollis 9 1-2 19, Sroke 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 23 7-8 58.
Score By Quarters
Bellwood-Antis 12 18 17 10 – 57
Mount Union 19 16 15 8 – 58
Three-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 3 (Carlson 1, Myers 1, Shannon 1); Mount Union 5 (Price 4, House 1).