Victory over Northern Bedford sends Lady Blue Devils to tourney finals

Last year Bellwood-Antis needed a miracle four-point play at the buzzer and a strong overtime performance in their consolation game to avoid a last place finish in their home holiday tournament, the Lady Blue Devil Classic.
This year, the Lady Blue Devils will be competing for the championship after a strong defensive effort and solid offensive performance from Lauren Carter led Bellwood-Antis to a 35-28 victory over Northern Bedford in the first round.
The Lady Blue Devils won despite putting the Lady Panthers on the foul line 26 times. In Bellwood-Antis\’ previous game, they sent Williamsburg to the foul line 34 times in a three-point loss.
“Our hands are a bit quicker than our feet right now, but hopefully that\’s something we can improve on soon,” Bellwood-Antis Head Coach Nick Lovrich said.
Before the fouls began to pile up, the Lady Blue Devils built a 7-0 lead using an Ashley Lechner 3-pointer and four points inside from Carter.
The fast paced start Bellwood-Antis used to take the early advantage soon slowed as the fouls began to pile up.
Four of Bellwood-Antis\’ fouls came from Liz Erickson, who was forced to sit out large portions of the second and fourth quarters while in foul trouble.
With Erickson, the Lady Blue Devils\’ most physical inside presence, off the court, Northern Bedford pounded the ball inside, picking up foul after foul.
“Teams from southern Pennsylvania are very physical, and Northern Bedford is no exception,” Lovrich said.
Danis Kilgore, who led the Lady Panthers with 12 points and scored three of their six baskets from the field, scored nine of her points in the first half to keep Northern Bedford within two at halftime, 19-17.
Lady Blue Devil sophomore Victoria Lombardo saw her first extended playing time on the varsity level this season, filling in for Erickson.
“Victoria is a great athlete and has been progressing in the junior varsity games along with starting to contribute in the varsity. She had a lot of big rebounds for us tonight,” Lovrich said.
With the momentum up for grabs heading into the second half, Northern Bedford opened the third quarter with four consecutive missed free throws before Jamie Smith stretched Bellwood-Antis\’ lead back to two possessions with a driving layup.
Laura Beach brought the Lady Panthers back within two with a layup of her own, but the Lady Blue Devils answered with a 7-0 run featuring a Smith 3-pointer and four more points from Carter to end the quarter with a 28-19 lead.
Northern Bedford made seven of their 10 fourth-quarter free throws, but baskets from Carter and Amanda Ingram had Bellwood-Antis in front 32-26 with 1:07 to play.
A Bellwood-Antis turnover gave the Lady Panthers a chance to creep closer, but Kilgore missed a 3-pointer, and the Lady Blue Devils made three free throws in four attempts in the final seconds before Beach made a layup at the buzzer to make the final score 35-28.
With the victory, Bellwood-Antis moves on to the championship game where they will take on Northern Cambria tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Northern Cambria Vs. Moniteau
Despite three late 3-pointers from Alyssa Deal, the Moniteau Lady Warriors fell to the Northern Cambria Lady Colts 67-63 in the other first round game in the Lady Blue Devil Classic. Leading 63-60 with 47 seconds remaining, senior Jess Valeria, who scored 38 points, made the first two of her four free throws in the final seconds to secure a trip to the championship game for the Lady Colts. Moniteau will take on Northern Bedford in the consolation game today at 6 p.m.
Northern Bedford 28 Bellwood-Antis 35
NORTHERN BEDFORD – Kilgore 3 6-8 12, B. Beach 0 5-8 5, L. Beach 2 0-0 4, Gilbert 0 2-4 2, Amick 0 1-4 1, Over 1 0-0 2, Barton 0 2-2 2, Beck 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 6 16-26 28.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Smith 2 2-3 7, Webb 0 0-0 0, Lechner 1 0-0 3, Erickson 1 2-4 4, Carter 7 4-4 18, Ingram 1 0-0 2, Hunter 0 0-0 0, Lombardo 0 1-2 1, Riley 0 0-0 0, Parson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 12 9-13 35.
Score by Quarter
Northern Bedford 7 10 2 9 – 28
Bellwood-Antis 11 8 9 7 – 35
Three-point goals: Northern Bedford: None.
Bellwood-Antis 2 (Smith, Lechner).