Northern Bedford opens Classic with win over Lady Blue Devils

Host Bellwood-Antis battled Northern Bedford in the feature game of the first round of the Lady Blue Devil Classic at the B-A Senior High gym on Thursday evening. In a low-scoring contest, in which Northern Bedford didn’t score a single point in the third quarter, the Lady Panthers finally shook off a cold-shooting night to post 17 fourth-quarter points for a 35-33 win over the host Lady Blue Devils.
In a game in which neither squad was able to scrape up much offense, the two teams changed leads throughout the game, but Northern Bedford was able to put together probably the two most important point swings and carry off the victory.
First, Northern Bedford was able to come back to turn a 14-11 deficit into an 18-14 halftime lead.
Liz Erickson hit two foul shots and Ashley Lechner stole the ball and drove the length of the court for a bucket to put Bellwood-Antis up 14-11.
Brittany Beach then put the Lady Panthers on her back from the remainder of the second quarter, pouring in the final seven points, including a basket and free throw with just four seconds to play in the half to put her team on top by four at the half.
Erickson scored first for the Lady Blue Devils and that early lead held for the next three minutes, until Kelsey Barton popped in a three-pointer for Northern. A foul shot by Victoria Lombardo tied the game at 3-3, the first of five occasions the score would be knotted throughout the contest.
Northern Bedford scored four straight points to build a 7-3 lead, but Shalee Hunter hit a conventional three-pointer-a basket and foul shot when fouled in the act of shooting, to slice the score back to 7-6 at the end of one quarter.
In a low-scoring third quarter, the Bellwood-Antis defense shut out Northern Bedford, while Erickson hit three straight baskets to give the Lady Blue Devils a 20-18 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Northern Bedford began the final eight minutes with a foul shot and bucket to retake the lead 21-20. The Lady Blue Devils’ Ashley Lechner and Northern’s Danis Kilgore traded treys and then Karlee Beck hit the back end of two free throws for a 26-23 NB lead.
Amanda Ingram buried a three for the B-A girls to tie the score again with 5:36 to play. Northern Bedford responded with a two baskets and two foul shots, for their second big offensive spurt, to give Northern Bedford a 32-27 lead. Kim Ritchey counted a basket and two foul shots, and Kelsey Barton added a bucket in a 6-1 spree with Erickson connecting on one of two free throws for the only point by the Lady Blue Devils.
With 26 seconds left, Erickson hit a pair of throws from the charity stripe and Hunter scored on a putback to draw the Lady Blue Devils to within one, 32-31. Kilgore pushed the deficit to 33-31 with one of two from the free throw line.
Bellwood-Antis took a time out and Erickson tied the game when the game resumed, with the seconds ticking away.
Northern Bedford, with time for one more try got, a shot from the right side by Kim Ritchey to fall. With just three seconds on the clock, the Lady Blue Devils came up short on a long attempt by Erickson as the buzzer sounded the end.
“Foul shooting has been a thorn in our side all year,” recounted Bellwood-Antis coach Ali Stodart, after the Lady Blue Devils hit just nine of 18 free throws. “We have been working on them a lot at practice. Now, we have to start making them in the game. It cost us the Williamsburg game and it cost us again tonight. We can’t shoot 50 percent from the free throw line and expect to beat too many people.”
Erickson led the Lady Blue Devils with a double-double, scoring 16 points and pulling down 10 rebounds and also had three blocks. Hunter led B-A with 13 rebounds to go with seven points. Ashley Lechner had four steals.
Brittany Beach led Northern Bedford with 10 points, and Kilgore added nine points for the Lady Panthers, who will play Northern Cambria tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the championship game.
“Northern Bedford capitalized very well on the mistakes we made. I believe Northern Bedford didn’t score in the third quarter, that’s a tribute to our defense,” said Stodart. “However, in the fourth quarter, our lack of good decision-making turned into points for them. That’s why they ended up scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter. They were capitalizing on the mistakes we made offensively. We’ll just have to try it again tomorrow night.”
Bellwood-Antis (1-7) will play Maniteau at 6 p.m. in the consolation final. Northern Cambria bashed Maniteau 74-38 in the opeing round last night.
Northern Bedford 35 Bellwood-Antis 33
Northern Bedford – Hite 0 0-0 0, Beck 0 1-2 1, Barton 2 0-2 5, B. Beach 3 4-5 10, Kilgore 3 2-2 9, L. Beach 0 0-0 0, Gilbert 2 0-0 4, Ritchey 2 2-4 6, Miller 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 12 9-16 35.
Bellwood-Antis – Ingram 1 0-0 3, Webb 0 0-0 0, Young 0 0-0 0, Lombardo 0 2-4 2, Lechner 2 0-0 5, Lender 0 0-0 0, Hunter 3 1-1 7, Erickson 5 6-11 16, Jones 0 0-0 0, Hippo 0 0-2 0. TOTALS 11 9-18 33.
Score by Quarter
Northern Bedford 7 11 0 17 – 35
Bellwood-Antis 6 8 6 13 – 33
Three-point goals: Northern Bedford 2 (Barton, Kilgore).
Bellwood-Antis 2 (Ingram, Lechner).