Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Lauren Carter closed out her high school basketball career Tuesday by picking up 17 rebounds and scoring 31 points. Carter\’s dominant performance is something Bellwood-Antis Head Coach Nick Lovrich has come to expect from his star senior.
“Lauren has done a great job all season,” Lovrich said. “Night in and night out she\’s faced double and triple teams, and she still manages to score points and pull down rebounds, and she\’s just had great effort all season; she\’s been a good leader for us, and she\’s going to be sorely missed.”
Carter and fellow senior starter Jamie Smith made free throws in the final 14 seconds to help Bellwood-Antis secure a 53-50 win over Bald Eagle Area on the Lady Blue Devils\’ senior night.
“Our biggest goal was to send our seniors off on a positive note, and for our younger kids this is something positive heading into the off season,” Lovrich said.
For the first time this season, Bellwood-Antis started all four of their seniors. Jessica Parson and Danielle Riley joined Smith and Carter in the starting lineup, and helped contribute to a defense that held the Lady Eagles to a single point for over half of the first quarter.
Trailing 1-0, the Lady Blue Devils scored their first basket when Smith passed to Carter for a layup, something Lady Blue Devil fans have seen constantly over the past two seasons.
Parson contributed two steals in the first quarter to help hold Bald Eagle Area to six points, and during a Bald Eagle Area run in the second quarter which saw them close to within 19-16 of the Lady Blue Devils, Riley pulled down a critical rebound on a missed Lady Eagles\’ free throw which led to a Carter basket.
“Jessica Parson and Dani Riley may not have scored a lot for us or had big stats, but they played a big role on our team,” Lovrich said. “They came in to a situation where they could have not wanted to play, because of certain things, but they stuck it out all season, and that shows that they have a lot of heart. They were good role models for our younger kids, and they worked hard at practice, and I talk about how every person on this team brings something to the team, and they brought us hard work and determination that will carry on to the younger girls.”
Eleven first-half points from Courtney Gardner helped keep Bald Eagle Area close at halftime, 22-18.
Gardner, who led the Lady Eagles with 21 points, made one of two from the free throw line early in the third quarter to cut the Lady Blue Devils\’ lead to two before Carter scored three straight baskets to stretch the Bellwood-Antis lead to 31-23.
However, the theme of the night continued to be that Bellwood-Antis would build a sizable lead only to have the Lady Eagles go on a run to get right back into the game.
A 9-2 surge left Bald Eagle Area down by one before Smith made her lone 3-pointer of the night to get Bellwood-Antis\’ lead back to four.
“Jamie is going to be sorely missed, because she has done so many things for us the last two years as a starter, not only as a player, but as a person,” Lovrich said. “She has a great attitude about everything, and she\’s worked hard to overcome adversity throughout her career, and she\’s going to be missed.”
Bald Eagle Area scored the next four points to tie the game at 36 before Victoria Lombardo made her only basket of the game to give the Lady Blue Devils a two-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Once again Bellwood-Antis jumped ahead with a 3-pointer from Ashley Lechner and a layup by Carter, but the Lady Eagles stormed back, and with 1:02 remaining in the game Gardner had a chance to tie things up, but only made one of two free throws to make the score 49-48.
Smith, Lechner and Brittany Webb then demonstrated excellent ball control as Bellwood-Antis milked the clock down to 16 seconds before Lechner was fouled.
The freshman showed the poise of a senior on a night meant to honor them as she made both her free throws to give Bellwood-Antis a three-point lead, but two seconds later, Lechner became a bit too overzealous on defense and fouled Kylie Masters who made both free throws to bring it back to a one-point game.
On the inbounds play, Carter used her experience to her advantage by baiting a Bald Eagle Area defender to come across the out of bounds line to deflect a pass, resulting in a technical foul.
Cater made one of two, and Smith, who received the inbounds pass after the technical, made one of two as well to make it a three-point game with eight seconds left.s
Gardner\’s last ditch effort to tie came up short, and Webb pulled down the rebound as time expired to clinch the 53-50 victory.
“We had an up and down season, but with the inexperience we had, a lot of people would have thought I was crazy if I said we\’d have 11 wins before the season,” Lovrich said. “The girls really stepped up, we had a lot of young kids step up, and next year we\’ll have eight returning letter winners, so hopefully our future is bright.”
Carter\’s 17 rebounds makes her record breaking total for the season 348. The Lady Blue Devils finished the year 11-13.
Junior Varsity
The junior varsity Lady Blue Devils also ended their season with a victory Tuesday night. Amanda Ingram led all scorers with 16 points, including four 3-pointers. Bald Eagle Area used a 10-3 run to begin the fourth quarter to close Bellwood-Antis\’ lead to 36-33, but Jannell Wilt came off the bench to score four straight points and swing momentum back in the Lady Blue Devils\’ favor in the 42-35 victory. Carly Kristofik led the Lady Eagles with seven points.
Bellwood-Antis 53 Bald Eagle Area 50
BALD EAGLE AREA – Reese 5 2-5 12, Weaver 1 0-0 2, Gardner 6 7-13 21, Masters 2 3-4 7, Kilmer 1 2-2 4, Duran 2 0-1 4, Kristofik 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 17 14-25 50.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Smith 1 1-4 4, Webb 0 0-0 0, Parson 0 0-0 0, Riley 0 0-0 0, Carter 13 5-10 31, Lechner 2 2-3 7, Erickson 2 5-8 9, Lombardo 1 0-0 2, Hunter 0 0-0 0, Ingram 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 19 13-25 53.
Score by Quarters
Bald Eagle Area 6 12 18 14- 50
Bellwood-Antis 7 15 16 15 – 53
Three-point goals: Bald Eagle Area 2 (Gardner 2).
Bellwood-Antis 2 (Smith, Lechner).
Junior Varsity
Bellwood-Antis 42 Bald Eagle Area 35
BALD EAGLE AREA – D. Reese 1 4-6 6, Hoover 0 5-8 5, Kristofik 3 0-0 7. Wozniak 2 0-0 4, Granite 1 0-0 2, Simpson 2 0-0 5, Rougeux 0 1-2 1, Sprankle 2 0-0 5. TOTALS 11 10-18 35.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Ingram 5 2-10 16, Lender 2 4-6 8, Young 1 0-0 2, Lombardo 3 2-4 8, Hunter 2 0-0 4, Wilt 1 2-2 4, Shultz 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 14 10-22 42.
Score by Quarters
Bald Eagle Area 6 3 14 12 – 35
Bellwood-Antis 12 10 11 9 – 42
Three-point goals: Bald Eagle Area 2 (Simpson, Sprankle).
Bellwood-Antis 4 (Ingram 4).

By Rick