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Lady Blue Devils post first victory for new coach Alison Stodart

Down by three points at the beginning of the final eight minutes at home on Friday night, it looked like the Bellwood-Antis Lady Blue Devils were going down the tube again against Moshannon Valley. In a pair of earlier games, the Lady Blue Devils had been close at one time or another, but had managed to lose the ball numerous times and missed shots they needed to make and before you knew it the game was out of reach.
On Friday night, the Bellwood-Antis girls became a team for the first time in the 2006-07 season in that fourth quarter, pulling out a 40-36 victory to get new coach Ali Stodart her first varsity win.
“Actually tonight, we played as a team, and it showed,” was how junior Victoria Lombardo described the fourth quarter.
Liz Erickson opened the final quarter with a basket to cut the score to 27-26, the first time all evening that Bellwood-Antis made the first score of a quarter. But then Moshannon Valley scored a pair of buckets to zoom the B-A deficit back out to five points, 31-26.
At that point Lombardo took over. First, she grabbed an offensive rebound under the Bellwood-Antis basket and scored on a putback. Then on the Blue Devils next possession down the floor, Victoria drained a three-point shot from the corner to tie the game 31-31. Catching the spirit, Ashley Lechner stole the ball and dished the ball off to senior Shalee Hunter who hit a soft jumper. Lechner then hit Erickson with a pass inside and her sophomore classmate put in a left-handed layup and added a foul shot to complete a conventional three-point play to give Bellwood-Antis a 36-31 lead with 2:52 to play.
Moshannon Valley, which held the lead for all but a few minutes of the first three quarters tried to rally in the final minutes, but clutch shooting at the foul line secured the victory. First Brittany Webb, then Lechner each buried two free throws to maintain the lead.
“The girls didn’t play particularly well over the first three quarters, but they stuck close,” said Stodart. “We made a couple chances in the fourth quarter and we executed them today. We played very well as a team, were very unselfish, made the right passes at the right time. We hit our foul shots down the stretch, something we have struggling with. I am definitely proud of the girls, of the way they maintained their composure and kept playing hard to the end.”
The Lady Damsels began the game by scoring the first five points, before a free throw from Erickson, who led all scorers with 19 points, put the B-A girls on the scoreboard. Hunter and Erickson added baskets, but Mo Valley led 8-5 at the end of one quarter.
Bellwood-Antis made a run for the lead in the second quarter, actually taking a slim 15-14 advantage when Lombardo hit a free throw and Erickson canned a basket with 1:20 remaining, but Moshannon went back into a 16-15 lead at the half.
Moshannon Valley scored the first five points of the third quarter to jump back out to a 21-15 lead, with Erickson keeping the Lady Blue Devils close with three buckets and a foul shot to set up the fourth-quarter heroics.
Erickson added 12 rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots, Lombardo also had double figures in rebounds with 10 and Lechner added three steals. Hunter had eight boards.
Jordan Cook, Shannon Greslick and Vanessa Rowley each had eight points for the Lady Damsels and Staci Godin, the only senior in Moshannon Valley’s lineup had seven points.
Bellwood-Antis (1-4) will travel to Southern Huntingdon on Tuesday.
Bellwood-Antis 40 Moshannon Valley 36
Moshannon Valley – Godin 3 1-2 7, Cook 2 4-7 8, Greslick 4 0-0 8, Rowley 3 0-3 8, Murarik 3-6 3, Charney 0 0-0 0, Elder 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 13 8-18 36.
Bellwood-Antis – Webb 0 2-3 2, Young 0 0-0 0, Lombardo 2 1-2 6, Lechner 1 2-2 4, Lender 1 0-0 3, Hunter 3 0-0 6, Erickson 8 3-6 19, Jones 0 0-0 0, Hippo 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 15 8-15 40.
Moshannon Valley 8 8 11 9 – 36
Bellwood-Antis 5 10 9 16 – 40
Three-point goals: Moshannon Valley 2 (Rowley 2).
Bellwood-Antis 2 (Lombardo, Lender).