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Bald Eagles puts damper on Senior Night celebration for Blue Devils with upset win

Senior night at Bellwood-Antis was held last evening as the Blue Devils played tribute to the senior cheerleaders, statisticians and basketball players. These are always nice affairs for players, students and fans, but for coaches that is a different story. As a coach, I know our staff always worries that this change in game-day preparation and pre-game festivities can be a big distraction and at times reduce the focus on the game at hand. But to say that this was the reason that the Bald Eagle Area team would beat the Blue Devils 73–62, would be taking too much away from a great effort that the Bald Eagles displayed last night.
Bellwood-Antis was taken out of their game by a pressure defense and a bad night of ball handling. The Blue Devils would turn the ball over twenty-seven times on the evening. That was one of the big keys in the Bellwood loss. Another key was that the paint was owned all night by Bald Eagle as they put up many lay- ups from inside the paint. Finally, Bald Eagle would outscore the Blue Devils 20–8 from the foul line. Put all these together and it is going to be a big problem for a team.
The first quarter saw Bellwood again live off the three–point play. Every time Bald Eagle scored a lay–up Bellwood-Antis would answer with a three. When Bald Eagle Area went up 14–11, then Tyler Elvey drained another three, his fourth of the first period, and the score was tied at 14– 4 with less than a minute to play in the first quarter.
Bellwood-Antis and Bald Eagle would trade baskets, as both teams were up and down the floor.
Bellwood-Antis forced a turn over and with :05 left on the clock Blaze Winterstein would hit a jumper to put the Blue Devils up 18–16 at the end of one quarter of play.
As the second quarter played out, Bellwood had maintained a one point lead at 25–24 until the 3:55 mark when Bald Eagle’s Joe Pillot put in a lay-up to put Bald Eagle up 26–25. The teams would then trade baskets as the half ended with Bald Eagle Area up 33 – 32 at the half.
Bald Eagle Area shot fifty-five percent from the floor for the first half. Bellwood-Antis would shot forty percent. Many of Bald Eagle’s shots were close inside the paint.
The third quarter would find the teams trading baskets again, then with the score Bald Eagle 37, Bellwood 36 the Blue Devils would go on a three point run to go up 41–37.
Bald Eagle Area refused to fold and then went on a four- point run of their own to tie the game 41–41 at the 2:27 mark of the third. Normally it is the Blue Devils who are bringing the pressure defense that causes the other team to turn the ball over. Bald Eagle Area would bring their pressure defense and cause the Blue Devils to turn the ball over three straight times and allow Bald Eagle Area to go on an eight point run as the horn sounded. Bellwood-Antis would be down 49–42 at the end of three.
The fourth quarter started out badly for the Blue Devils. With just 0 :29 seconds gone in the fourth Alan Wertz was whistled for a technical foul during a battle for a rebound and Drew Wetzel was called upon by Bald Eagle to shoot the two foul shots. He would make them both and the Bald Eagle lead had grown to nine at 51–42.
Ben Hatch would come down and drill a three point shot to bring Bellwood-Antis back to within six. Blaze Winterstein took a charge call, and when Paul Christner came down and hit another three pointer, the Blue Devils were on a six point run and were down 51–48 with 6:18 left.
Bellwood-Antis would then commit four straight turnovers and Bald Eagle was back up by seven at 55–48 with 4:51 left. Bellwood-Antis head coach Tim Keech was calling a time out trying to settle the Blue Devils down.
Bellwood-Antis would try as they may, but Bald Eagle Area would not allow the Blue Devils to get closer than five points. With 1:41 left in the game Bald Eagle was hanging on to a 61–56 lead.
The Blue Devils would be forced to foul and Bald Eagle went to the line to continue to hold the Blue Devils away. Bald Eagle Area made twelve out of there last thirteen foul shots and as the horn sounded handed the Blue Devils their fourth loss of the season.
During post game comments Bellwood coach Tim Keech would say, “Twenty-seven turnovers. You cannot win with twenty-seven turnovers. If we do not hustle, box out and play good solid defense we are just an average team. We did not do those things well tonight,” said Keech. “We are going to go to Penns Valley on Saturday and give it our all,” continued Keech. “I think we need to be a little upset and come out strong on Saturday,” added Keech. “If we were going to play a bad game, then tonight was the night to do it in a non-league game,” concluded Keech.
Game notes: Ben Hatch again led Bellwood with fifteen points. Tyler Elvey hit for thirteen and Alan Wertz scored twelve for Bellwood. Blaze Winterstein pulled down a game-high ten rebounds for Bellwood-Antis. Bellwood slips to 19–4 (16–1 Juniata Valley League). Drew Wetzel scored a game-high 21 points for Bald Eagle Area. Trevor Schall put down twenty. Brock Fisher led Bald Eagle Area in rebounds with seven. Bald Eagle Area moves to 5–18 (1– 3 Mountain Athletic Conference). The Bellwood-Antis Junior Varsity won the J.V. game 59–36. Nate Gray was game high with 24 points for Bellwood. Bellwood-Antis’ J.V. record moves to 11–8 on the year.
Bald Eagle 73 Bellwood-Antis 62
Bald Eagle: Kader 2 0–0 4, Schall 6 8–10 20, Wetzel 6 9–10 21, Foust 2 0–0 4, Fisher 2 1–2 5, Fayman 4 0–0 8, Moyer 2 0–0 5, Pillot 2 2–4 6. Totals: 26 20–26 73.
Bellwood-Antis: Christner 3 0–0 8, Winterstein 2 0–0 5, Hatch 4 5–6 15, Wertz 5 2–2 12, Elvey 4 1–2 13, B. DeGol 3 0–0 7, Hughes 1 0–0 2. Totals: 22 8–10 62.
Bald Eagle Area 16 17 16 24 – 73
Bellwood-Antis 18 14 10 20 – 62
Three-point shots: Bald Eagle 1 (Moyer)
Bellwood-Antis: 10 (Christner 2, Winterstein, Hatch 2, Elvey 4, B. DeGol)