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Penns Valley girls pull away late against Lady Blue Devils

Almost every time the Bellwood-Antis Lady Blue Devils were able to penetrate Penns Valley\’s man-to-man defense and get the ball inside to Lauren Carter and Liz Erickson they put points on the scoreboard. Unfortunately for Bellwood-Antis, it didn\’t happen enough to keep them close late in the game.
Carter scored 18 points while notching many beautiful passes for assists to Erickson, who added 10 points of her own, but the Lady Blue Devils could not overcome an aggressive defense that finally got the best of Bellwood-Antis\’ guards midway through the third quarter.
Early in the game, Carter was having her way, scoring Bellwood-Antis\’ first five points on the way to a 5-2 lead that had the home crowd on its feet, but when a basket by Jamie Smith was nullified by a five second call, the momentum shifted in Penns Valley\’s favor.
Five points from the Lady Rams\’ leading scorer Kara Myers pulled Penns Valley within two points at 9-7, and Ella Myer, one of three starting sophomores for the visiting team, knocked in a jump shot to tie the game moments later.
Penns Valley pulled ahead by as much as three before Smith tied the game at 14 with a baseline jumper, but Kristen Henry posted her only points of the night, a 3-pointer, on the Lady Rams\’ next possession that Penns Valley would hold the rest of the half.
Once again, the Lady Rams got five straight points from a player, this time Julie Stover, to extend the lead to 22-14. Brittany LeVan\’s layup stretched to 10 before Bellwood-Antis began to work their way back into the game.
Erickson made two hook shots that hit nothing but net, and Carter added three free throws during a 7-2 Bellwood-Antis run to cut the lead to five. Stover scored the final two of her nine points in the game to move the lead back to seven before Victoria Lombardo made two free throws, and Carter added a jump shot before halftime to cut the deficit to 28-25.
In the third quarter, every Penns Valley shooter except Myers went cold, but Myers offensive outburst kept the Lady Rams in control.
Her layup to start the second half was answered by an Erickson jumper, which was assisted by Carter, who had fallen to the court and made the pass while sitting down. Myers responded with a jump shot of her own and made one of two free throws to make the score 33-27.
Carter followed by backing her defender down, and hitting a turning jump shot, then assisting an Erickson basket again on the next possession.
With little over three minutes remaining in the quarter, Bellwood-Antis\’ defense forced a turnover on a backcourt violation, and Carter made two free throws to tie the game at 33.
Once again, Myers stepped up with two straight baskets to return the lead to Penns Valley. With 30 seconds left in the quarter, Myer made a jump shot, the first point scored by a Lady Ram not named Kara Myers in the third quarter, and LeVan added a layup to deflate the Lady Blue Devils and stretch the lead back to eight.
Brittany Webb began the fourth quarter with an underhand toss that slipped right through the net to cut the lead to six, but consecutive Penns Valley baskets expanded the lead to 10, and the Lady Blue Devils never got the game back within single digits.
Penns Valley made their free throws down the stretch and won 58-44.
“Their tough man-to-man defense made the pace of the game faster than what we wanted. It forced us into a speedy game and we got away from our bread and butter of working the ball down to Lauren,” Bellwood-Antis Head Coach Nick Lovrich said.
Carter, who finished with a game-high 18 points, played all but nine seconds in the game.
“She has shown so much heart in our first two games, and we really rely on her a lot to do a lot of different things,” Lovrich said.
The 0-2 Lady Blue Devils will continue to search for their first victory Thursday at Mount Union.
Junior Varsity
The junior varsity Lady Blue Devils struggled much worse than their varsity team against Penns Valley\’s aggressive defense and fell 56-19 in a game that was never close. Amanda Ingram scored nine points in a losing effort to lead Bellwood-Antis. Chelsea Young and Lombardo added three points each.
Penns Valley 58 Bellwood-Antis 44
PENNS VALLEY – Myers 7 2-6 16, Tyson 0 0-0 0, LeVan 6 1-2 13, Myer 4 2-2 10, McCaffrey 1 5-6 7, Stover 4 1-1 9, Henry 1 0-0 3, Darr 0 0-1 0, Ash 0 0-0 0.
TOTALS 23 11-18 58.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Smith 2 3-6 7, Webb 2 1-3 5, Lechner 0 0-0 0, Erickson 5 0-0 10, Carter 6 6-7 18, Parson 1 0-0 2, Lombardo 0 2-2 2, Ingram 0 0-0 0, Hunter 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 16 12-18 44.
Score by Quarter
Penns Valley 12 16 13 17 58
Bellwood-Antis 11 14 8 11 44
Three-point goals: Penns Valley 1 (Henry 1). Bellwood-Antis: None.