Seidel part of Bellwood-Antis win over Warriors on senior night

L.J. Seidel, the lone senior on the Bellwood-Antis roster, played his final game on his home court the way he has played each game this season. He contributed a few points, made some key rebounds and hustled the entire game, but more importantly, he served in his role as a leader during a Bellwood-Antis win.
\”I made a big mistake at the beginning of the year when I said leadership would be a big concern,\” Bellwood-Antis Head Coach Tim Keech said. \”I couldn\’t have been more wrong; I should have known the type of young man that L.J. is. He just provided great leadership for these young kids, plays hard, comes to practice every day to get better, and he is a great role model for these kids to watch and to learn how to play the game.\”
Seidel scored seven points Monday, five of those coming on baskets he made while being fouled that helped swing momentum in the Blue Devils\’ favor.
However, Seidel\’s biggest impact may have come in the rebounding department where he, along with standout sophomore Alan Wertz, limited West Branch to only one shot on almost every possession and gave the Blue Devils plenty of second chance points.
Many of those points came from Wertz himself, who led Bellwood-Antis with 16.
“Alan and L.J. did a great job pounding the boards which was able to ignite our break, and when we can do that and get the ball to Ben (Hatch) quickly, Alan runs the floor well, but none of that can be done if we don\’t rebound, and I thought we really went to the boards hard tonight,” Keech said.
Despite their dominance on the boards, Bellwood-Antis could not pull away from the Warriors of West Branch thanks in large part to one of their four starting seniors, Mike Bloom, who led all scorers with 18 points.
Bloom hit a jumper on each of West Branch\’s first three possessions to keep the Warriors in the game while Paul Christner and Blaze Winterstein got hot from beyond the arc on the Blue Devils\’ side of the court.
Bellwood-Antis made four 3-pointers in the first quarter alone, with the final one coming from Justin Miller to give the Blue Devils a 19-11 lead after one quarter.
Miller\’s 3-pointer helped accumulate the total of seven points Bellwood-Antis got from their bench, and many of the points came in key situations.
“Our bench has come a long way,” Keech said. “Juan Cook came in and played well, Justin hit that big three, Bruno DeGol had a nice rebound and plays a heady game, and Tyler Elvey and Eric McCrum have done a great job at spelling our starters.”
McCrum hit an outside jumper in the second quarter that stretched the Blue Devil lead to 10, and Winterstein made two free throws to make the score 30-18, but West Branch ended the quarter on a 6-0 run to cut the lead in half.
Trailing 36-30 with 4:24 left in the third quarter, West Branch got a boost from Alan Crowell who hit two of his three 3-pointers in the game in a span of less than a minute. Ben Hatch, who scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, made a layup in between the treys to keep the Blue Devils ahead by two.
The balanced Bellwood-Antis offense then received a spark from Christner, who nailed a 3-pointer and turned a West Branch bad pass into a Blue Devils basket. West Branch pulled back within four before the end of the quarter, but the final eight minutes would belong solely to the Blue Devils.
Christner continued his hot shooting by making a 3-pointer to begin the fourth quarter that stretched the Bellwood-Antis lead to 47-40.
“Not only was that shot big for us, but it was a detriment to the opposition,” Keech said. “I mean they are looking at a four point deficit, and then all of a sudden they look back up after that 3-pointer and they are down seven, so I think it did as much for us as it may have taken away from them.”
The 3-pointer spurred a 15-3 Bellwood-Antis run that sealed the victory for the Blue Devils. Eight of the Blue Devils points during the final run came from Wertz.
Down the stretch the Blue Devils showed amazing precision from the free throw line and made 19 of 25 (76 percent) free throws on the night. Meanwhile, the Warriors attempted only five from the charity stripe and made just two.
Elvey made the final two free throws of the night to close out the scoring and give Bellwood-Antis a 68-52 win in their final Juniata Valley League game of the season.
“We were young, and we knew there would be some up and down with a young team, but overall to finish the Juniata Valley League with another strong win like this is great,” Keech said.
The Bishop Guilfoyle game will begin Friday at 7:30 p.m. There will be no junior varsity game.
Bellwood-Antis 68 West Branch 52
WEST BRANCH – Bloom 8 1-2 18, Dotts 4 0-0 10, Luzier 1 1-2 3, Wilkinson 3 0-0 6, McCartney 0 0-1 0, Reitz 2 0-0 6, Crowell 3 0-0 9, Ferguson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 21 2-5 52.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Hatch 3 4-4 11, Winterstein 3 6-9 14, Christner 5 0-0 13, Seidel 3 1-2 7, Wertz 5 6-8 16, McCrum 1 0-0 2, Elvey 0 2-2 2, Miller 1 0-0 3, DeGol 0 0-0 0, Cook 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 21 19-25 68.
Score by Quarters
West Branch 11 13 16 12 – 52
Bellwood-Antis 19 11 14 24 – 68
Three-point goals: West Branch 8 (Crowell 3, Dotts 2, Reitz 2, Bloom).
Bellwood-Antis 7 (Christner 3, Winterstein 2, Hatch, Miller).