Bellwood-Antis season ended by Farrell in PIAA first round

The Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils found out the hard way about the old adage “Speed kills” when the WPIAL’s seventh place team Farrell bounced the Blue Devils out of the playoffs 62-49.
It was bound to happen sooner or later. The Bellwood-Antis boys basketball team all season long, had been a notoriously slow starter. The second half had then belonged to the Blue Devils as they would come blitzing back to win. The formula can only work when the Blue Devils get control of the basketball.
On Saturday afternoon at the DeGol Arena in the Maurice Stokes Fieldhouse on the St. Francis campus in Loretto, the inevitable happened. Bellwood-Antis ran into Farrell in a first round playoff contest. The opponents built up a 33-21 lead at halftime and when it came time for the B-A charge, Farrell wouldn’t allow the Blue Devils back into the ballgame.
Offensive rebounds figured huge for Farrell with Greg Smith leading the Steelers with 24 points, most of them coming on putbacks or after his quick-footed teammates, created space in the Bellwood-Antis defensive alignment.
Farrell pulled down 20 offensive boards along the way to a 43-15 domination in rebounding that meant the Blue Devils had to be almost perfect in shot selection and execution. Knowing they had to play zone to try to counter Farrell’s quickness. Coach Tim Keech felt that worked pretty well. Except that his Blue Devils weren’t able to rebound out of it very well.
Bellwood-Antis was able to pull as close as 48-41 on Ryan Myer’s drive and reverse layup with 5:16 left in the third quarter. Farrell called time out and then answered with two baskets and was able to hold off the Blue Devils from there on out.
Ricky Shannon led Bellwood-Antis with 15 points and Ryan Myers added 14. Steve Crider, who canned three third-quarter buckets to keep the Blue Devils close, added eight points and Nate Carlson, who had the Blue Devils’ only three-pointer, contributed seven points.
“We battled,” said Crider. “There were times we didn’t box out too well and there were times we did. They jumped higher than us.”
Farrell took scoring advantages in all but the third period, when Bellwood-Antis edged the Steelers 15-14. Farrell, who competes at the Class AA level, actually is a Single-A school by enrollment, after competing in Quad-A until about 10 years ago, despite their enrollment.
Bellwood-Antis closes the book on a 23-5 campaign that featured only it’s third District VI title in school history.
“Only one team is going to win their last game at Hershey,” said coach Keech. “You can’t take away the effort our kids put into the preseason and just the journey we had this year. From beginning to end, this was such a great fun group to coach. Our underclassmen are going to have big shoes to fill. These kids did a heckuva job for Bellwood and I was happy just to be part of it.”
Farrell 62 Bellwood-Antis 49
FARRELL – Dungee 3 0-0 7, Stinson 3 2-2 8, Smith 12 0-1 24, Clay 3 2-4 8, Phillips 3 0-0 6, Blackwell 1 1-2 3, Newby 2 2-2 6, Dunlap 0 0-0 0, Dinkins 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 22 7-11 62.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS Myers 4 6-8 14, Crider 4 0-0 8, Shannon 5 5-6 15, Carlson 3 0-0 7, Smith 2 1-4 5, Weiand 0 0-0 0, Hughes 0 0-0 0, Mattern 0 0-0 0, Rogers 0 0-0 0, Bell 0 0-0 0, Greiner 0 0-0 0, Plummer 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18 12-18 49.
Score By Quarters
Farrell 13 19 14 16 – 62
Bellwood-Antis 9 12 16 13 – 49
Three-point goals: Farrell 1 (Dungee 1); Bellwood-Antis 1 (Carlson)