Bellwood-Antis, Westmont in finals of Lady Blue Devil Classic

Monday’s championship final in the Third Annual Lady Blue Devil Classic will feature the winners of the first two Classics.
Host Bellwood-Antis won the inaugural tournament in 2001 and Westmont-Hilltop was the champion last year.
On Monday night, the two schools will meet for the title of the 2003 edition of the Classic in the B-A Senior High School gym at 7:30 p.m.
In Saturday night’s first round, Westmont cruised past Northern Cambria 72-26 behind 21 points from Kaitlin Urban, while Bellwood-Antis held off a pesky Cambria Heights squad 55-52 with a lot of team work and four three-pointers from B-A junior Stephanie Hatch.
The lead see-sawed back and forth in the early going of the Saturday evening nightcap between the Lady Blue Devils and Cambria Heights. Hatch banked in a long three-pointer to give B-A their first lead 3-2. Ashley Edevane put in a basket to give the Lady Blue Devils a 4-3 lead and a Hatch rebound and Katie Gardner layup gave B-A a 7-5 advantage. After Cambria Heights took an 11-9 lead, Rachel Meredith tied the game 11-11, Gardner scored off an assist from Hatch and Stephanie added a trey of her own to give the Lady Blue Devils a five-point advantage 16-11. The teams traded three-pointers to end the opening quarter with Bellwood-Antis ahead 19-14. Samantha Erickson gunned in the B-A trey from deep in the corner.
Edevane hit a bucket on a give-and-go to build the lead to 21-14, to open the second quarter, but Cambria Heights came back to cut the B-A advantage to 21-19, before Edevane sliced through to put in a layup to stop the Lady Highlanders momentum.
Gardner added two buckets, the second on a perfect pass from Edevane to up the B-A lead to 27-21 and Trista Sprankle popped in a bucket to give the Lady Blue Devils a 29-21 lead with two minutes to play in the first half. Each team added one basket before heading into the locker rooms with Hatch bombing in a long-range three-point missile that just beat the buzzer to give her teammates a 32-23 lead at halftime.
“That was just like I drew it up,” joked Bellwood-Antis coach Nick Lovrich, when talking about Hatch’s last-second three-pointer. “Steph is good at those shots. She can shoot from the outside. She’s almost 50 percent from out there. It was worth giving it a try and she put it in. That’s a playground shot and she’s always over at the playground shooting.”
Cambria Heights came out of the locker room and stormed their way back into the ballgame. The Lady Highlanders outscored Bellwood-Antis 22-14, and temporarily took a 45-44 lead near the end of the quarter, before the Lady Blue Devils’ Gardner hit a bucket at the end of the quarter to get the Lady Blue Devils out of the quarter with a 46-45 lead at the end of three periods.
B-A attempted to stay with Cambria Heights, getting a Rachel Meredith basket at the beginning of the third quarter, but Heights took a slim one-point lead with just 0:45 left in the period, before Gardner’s bucket put Bellwood-Antis into the lead for good.
With the tempo slowed down for the final quarter (Neither team scored in double figures), the Blue Devils relied on defense to take a 9-7 advantage and kept Cambria Heights from scoring despite the Lady Highlanders holding the ball for almost all of the last 45 seconds trailing by three.
“We decided there at the end, we wanted to win this game on the defensive end,” said Lovrich, “ and the kids stepped up big. They had the ball most of the last 45 seconds. They have great three-point shooters and they have the good young girl inside, who is only a freshman. Our kids stepped up and played tough defense, pulled some defensive rebounds and that was very big.”
Meredith put in a bucket and Hatch canned her fourth trey of the contest to open a 51-45 lead to give Bellwood-Antis a little breathing room. Cambria Heights made a move to close to 51-48, but Trista Sprankle hit a short jumper. After the Lady Highlanders scored, Sprankle was fouled. In a one-and-one situation, Trista missed the first shot, but Hatch grabbed the rebound and put up a deuce all in the same motion. Cambria Heights was able to add a bucket to close to 55-52, but the B-A defense made sure that was all.
“We have tried to keep everything well balanced,” said Lovrich. “We have kids who can score, kids who can make passes and get rebounds. It’s not just one or two. We can have five people who can get those double digits in rebounds. It makes it very nice when you have people out there who can do everything.”
Stephanie Hatch who was the leading scorer for the Lady Blue Devils with 18 points, also handed out five assists, blocked four shots and pulled down five rebounds, Ashley Edevane added 12 points and five assists, Katie Gardner led the team with nine rebounds, blocked three shots and was the third Blue Devil in double figures with 10 points. Rachel Meredith handed out five assists and added eight points in addition to playing tenacious defense.
Freshman Amber Dubyak led Cambria Heights with 26 points and Lindsey McMurray added 19 points.
Northern Cambria will meet Cambria Heights in the consolation game at 6 p.m. tonight, while Bellwood-Antis and Westmont Hilltop will square off in the championship game at 7:30.
Bellwood-Antis 55 Cambria Heights 52
CAMBRIA HEIGHTS – Nagle 0 0-0 0, McMurray 7 2-3 19, Bender 1 0-0 2, Vescovi 1 0-0 3, Barrett 0 2-5 2, Dubyak 13 0-2 26. TOTALS 22 4-10 52.
BELLWOOD-ANTIS – Edevane 6 0-0 12, Hatch 7 0-0 18, Gardner 5 0-1 10, Meredith 4 0-0 8, Sprankle 2 0-1 4, Erickson 1 0-0 3, Swanson 0 0-0 0, Ridgeway 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 25 0-2 55.
Score by Quarters
Cambria Heights 14 9 22 7 – 52
Bellwood-Antis 19 13 14 9 – 55
Three point goals: Cambria Heights 4 (McMurray 3, Vescovi 1)
Bellwood-Antis 5 (Hatch 4, Erickson 1).