Lady Blue Devils lose their slipper in fourth quarter against BG girls

For three quarters and a little bit more, the Bellwood-Antis girls basketball team played Cinderella in their first round District VI-AA playoff game against Bishop Guilfoyle. It was almost poetic that the near-upset was played on Valentine’s Day at Hollidaysburg Senior High School. The BG girls refused in the end to allow the Lady Blue Devils to slip away with the win. Bishop Guilfoyle (21-4) was the second seed, while the Lady Blue Devils (9-15) were one of just two of a total of 15 girls AA teams to enter the playoffs with a losing record.
Although Bellwood-Antis still stubbornly held onto a 29-26 lead at the end of three quarters, the Lady Marauders went on a rampage to outscore the B-A girls 19-5 to carve out a 45-34 win to dodge the upset bid of the Lady Blue Devils with “W.”
In the first half, Bellwood-Antis made few mistakes, worked to take good shots, limited BG to one shot on most occasions and employed a tough defense that forced a cold-shooting Lady Marauder squad to go off to their locker room at halftime down by 10 points, 18-8.
Steph Hatch, playing the final high school game with her Lady Blue Devil teammates scored all of her 12 points in the first half to personally outscore the Lady Marauders, while teammates Lauren Carter, Lindsey Claar, Jenna Ralston, Jamie Smith and Allison Sinisi slashed and cut and guarded and never let Bishop Guilfoyle get their offensive game in gear.
Neither team came out hot at the beginning of the contest. By the time 6-foot sophomore Mary Foor put Bishop Guilfoyle on the board with a foul shot, for a 1-0 lead, 2:35 had run off the clock. Hatch answered with two baskets and a free throw and Carter added a bucket to give Bellwood-Antis a 7-1 advantage. Foor converted a basket, but Hatch pumped in a trey to give B-A a 10-3 advantage at the end of one quarter.
Stephanie opened the second quarter with a short jumper and after Brittany Kitt popped in a trey for the Lady Marauders, Allison Sinisi, Hatch and Carter each came back with a bucket to stretch the B-A margin to 18-6. Tera Geishauser’s basket cut the Blue Devils’ lead to 10 at the half 18-8.
“We played a really smart game, all the way through, but especially in the first half,” explained Bellwood-Antis coach Nick Lovrich. “We didn’t turn the ball over very many times, we limited them to one shot. Our game plan was to let them shoot from the outside and take our chances. We wanted to stop Mary Foor and in the first half we did. For us to do that to a team like BG, really shows a lot of heart.”
Foor opened the third quarter with a basket and after Carter matched that, Foor tossed in another and Lindsey Sissler added a basket that cut the B-A lead to 20-14.
After a Bellwood-Antis timeout, Jenna Ralston threw in a basket, but Sissler grabbed an offensive board and put it back into the hoop. An Amanda DeAntonio free throw narrowed the BG deficit still further to 22-17, but with 3:54 to play in the quarter, Jamie Smith drove for a layup and was fouled. The B-A junior point guard made the basket and added the free throw to push the lead back to 25-17.
Sinisi and Carter each scored a basket, but that was all for the Lady Blue Devils, while BG ripped off nine points to close out the period back in the game, trailing by only three 29-26.
With the Blue Devils looking like they had lost a step, the Lady Marauders rolled to a 41-33 advantage with 14-2 run. Sissler nailed a short jumper from the middle to give Bishop Guilfoyle their first lead of the ballgame with 5:22 to play in the contest and with the exception of a basket by Carter that temporarily broke up a BG nine-point streak, a Ralston jumper and Smith free throw, the Bishop Guilfoyle girls kept right on adding to the score.
“We matched them basket for basket in the third quarter,” said Lovrich. “In the fourth quarter, I think we ran out of gas a little bit. Those rebounds that we were getting, we weren’t getting anymore. I think we were a little tired. The court’s a little longer than what we are used to. Our legs got dead after awhile.”
Junior post player Lauren Carter led the Lady Blue Devils with 13 points and 11 rebounds and Steph Hatch scored an even dozen points and added six rebounds as well as teaming with Jamie Smith to bring the ball down court to break BG’s press for much of the game.
Foor led the Marauders with 18 points and Sissler added 10.
“We ask Steph to do a lot of things,” explained Lovrich. “She may not have scored much in the second half, but her breaking the press, pulling some rebounds for us was just as big as her scoring points. I thought she did really well tonight. Lauren did a good job denying Foor the ball in the first half. In the second half whenever we need some buckets, we went down and got her the ball and she scored for us.”
Blue Devil notes: The duo of Foor and Sissler combined for just three points in the first half (Foor-3, Sissler -0)….Lindsey Sissler lives in Hollidaysburg and her parents both graduated from Bellwood-Antis….Hollidaysburg Athletic Director Dean Rossi graduated from Bellwood-Antis and was a back on the Blue Devils undefeated 1953 football team (10-0)….The Bishop Guilfoyle student section stood up in the bleachers in front of Bellwood-Antis fans who were there first and refused to sit down when asked repeatedly, which was for some unknown reason allowed by the game manager. They did have their plastic swords confiscated however.
Bishop Guilfoyle 45 Bellwood-Antis 34
Bellwood-Antis – Claar 0 0-0 0, Hatch 5 1-2 12, Ralston 2 0-0 4, Sinisi 2 0-1 4, Carter 6 1-1 13, Smith 0 1-3 1. TOTALS 15 3-7 34.
Bishop Guilfoyle – Foor 8 2-3 18, Sissler 5 0-0 10, Geishauser 2 0-0 4, DeAntonio 2 3-5 7, Helsel 0 0-0 0, Kitt 2 0-0 6. TOTALS 19 5-8 45.
Score by Quarters
Bellwood-Antis 10 8 11 5 – 34
Bishop Guilfoyle 3 5 18 19 – 45
Three point goals: Bellwood-Antis 1 (Hatch).
Bishop Guilfoyle 2 (Kitt 2).