The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

High School Sports

February 22, 2014

Bellwood overcomes Bishop McCort girls in 6-AA

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The fifth-seeded Bellwood-Antis girls and fourth-seeded Bishop McCort approached Friday night’s Class AA quarterfinal round from different perspectives.

The Blue Devils were looking to shoot from the outside and the Crimson Crushers wanted to go inside at Hollidaysburg Junior High in game that had 68 free throws by each team.

Outside won, as Bellwood held off Bishop McCort 66-57 to move into next week’s semifinal round opposite the Blairsville/Penns Valley winner.

“We knew they were big, but that doesn’t change the way that we play,” Bellwood coach Jim Swaney said. “We are still going to get up and down the floor and the 3-ball is a big part of what we do. We think we have some pretty good shooters from the outside and we were able to capitalize on that.”

Junior Ana Hollen topped the Blue Devils scoring with 24 points with two treys.

Freshman Karson Swogger finished with 23 points, including three 3-pointers, and freshman Makayla Carles came off the bench to supply 12.

“We are young, but it’s also deceiving how young we are,” Swaney said. “Year-wise we are young, but in experience, we are a veteran team.”

From the inside, Morgan Instone topped Bishop McCort with 17 points and 13 rebounds while teammate Katie Wilson had 16 points and 20 rebounds. Mackenzie Barbin chipped in 11 points and Haly Thomas, eight, before both players fouled out, Thomas in the third quarter and Barbin in the fourth.

“It was a good game,” Bishop McCort coach John Hahn said. “I was proud of our bigs. Our game plan was to go into the bigs and we thought that’s where we had the advantage. It took us a little while to find them.

“I knew this was going to be a battle,” Hahn said. “The only team I did not want to play was Bellwood-Antis, but that’s who we got.”

The Crimson Crushers took a 5-0 lead to open the game, but Bellwood came back to tie the game at 7. Bishop McCort forged ahead again and led by as many as five before a Swogger 3-pointer and two Hollen free throws tied it at 12 with just under a minute to play in the first.

The Blue Devils (23-2) went ahead 15-14 to end the quarter and never trailed again. The Crushers were outscored 14-9 in the second and trailed 29-23 at the intermission.

Bellwood continued to increase its lead in the third quarter and had a 45-36 advantage headed into the fourth.

Bishop McCort kept pounding the ball inside and got to within four, 47-43 with 6:28 to go.

“I think at one point when we made a little bit of a run, he got a time out and it was the only time I saw them lose their composure,” Hahn said. “He called a time out and they came back out on the floor and kept their composure.”

The Crimson Crushers could get no closer the rest of the way.

Bishop McCort was 25 of 36 from the free-throw line and Bellwood was 24 of 32. Two players fouled out from each team.

“I really believe that we are two of the top two of the top four teams in the district and to play an elimination game like this, that’s dumb, because one of us was going to be home after tonight and I think that’s a shame,” Swaney said.

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