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Bald Eagle holds on to win despite late run by Bellefonte

By Kenny Varner

BELLEFONTE – This is what all rivalries should be like!!

Wednesday, the Bellefonte girls basketball team hosted rivals Bald Eagle.

The game was a back-and-forth thriller which had each teams taking turns at the lead until the very last second of the game.

In the end, the Lady Eagles were able to pull ahead despite a valiant effort by the Red Raiders, winning 45-43.

“It was a phenomenal game. Like I told the kids in the lockeroom. With games like this you throw the records out the door, your crosstown rival. Nobody wants to get beat by their neighbor. And it was a phenomenal game played by each team ,” said Bald Eagle coach Shawn Thompson. “Coach Toomer does a great job with his players. Our girls rose to the occasion tonight. We did what we had to do on their court. I’m so proud of them.”

Leading the way for the Eagles was Maddy Perry with a 15-point effort. Perry was clutch under pressure as she hit 12-of-15 from the charity stripe to help guide her team to the win.

Following closely on the scorebook was teammate Abby Hoover who finished with 13.

Maria Cotter had the hot hand for the Lady Raiders as she finished with a solid 14 points. Nine of those points came from beyond the 3-point line.

Keira Whitman was a strong force late in the contest as she pulled down crucial rebounds and hit timely buckets to help Bellefonte go on a scoring run late in the game that allowed the team to pull within three right before the final buzzer.

“They (Bellefonte) fought hard. Bald Eagle got up by six or eight points and we got it all the way back down and got it down to two,” said Bellefonte coach Marcus Toomer. “That’s a great effort by us. This team continues to improve and continue to get better. They understand how to play. I’m very proud of them.

After trailing for the two and a half quarters, the Eagles were able to battle back and take a very close 29-27 advantage as the two teams went into the final stanza.

Perry got the scoring start as she hit on a strong drive to the key, upping it to a 4-point advantage.

Bellefonte battled back by hitting consecutive shots by Neff and Rados, tying it at 31.

Rados finished the contest with 10 rebounds.

But the tie would be temporary as the Eagles would score on its next possession. Kierra Serb found herself heading to the line after being hacked in the act of shooting. She was perfect on that visit, giving her team the lead.

By this time the Eagles went into a full court which proved to be successful as they were able to force turnovers on the next four possessions, extending their lead to 39-31 with three minutes left in the contest.

The run would force the Raiders to call a time out.

After the time out Bellefonte started to make one final attempt for a comeback.

Whitman started to heat up on both ends of the court, she was sent to the foul line  and hit a clutch shot underneath in consecutive trips downcourt and hit 1-of-2, cutting it to a 39-34 game.

Bellefonte was forced to foul Bald Eagle and send them to the line to keep the clock from running down on them. The Eagles were successful hitting 3-of-4, upping it to a 42-34 contest with 1:56 left.

Back rallied Bellefonte as 4-0 run, all from the line, putting the team within striking distance with at 42-38 with 39.4 showing on the clock.

In the run, Bellefonte forced numerous turnovers off its successful full court press.

However, Bald Eagle Area’s Perry had ice water in her veins as she hit 2-for-2 from the line late to help her team up its lead to 44-38.

Again, the Red Raiders had an answer for the Eagles. Whitman was able to pull down the missed Bellefonte shot and score on the offensive board, closing on the lead at 44-40 with twenty ticks left on the clock.

On the Eagles’ next possession, the Lady Raiders fouled Abby Hoover late. She went 1-of-2 to put her team up by five with 14 seconds.

With time running out, Whitman was able to get the ball twice, cutting it to a three-point game but simply ran out of time to get any closer.

In the first quarter, both defenses came out sharp as Bellefonte was able to outscore Bald Eagle 7-5.

Things were just as close in the second as the Eagles were able to close to within one as the intermission got underway.

However, going into the intermission, Bellefonte held a one-point lead.

In the JV contest, the Eagles defeated Bellefonte 30-15.

Bald Eagle Area 45, Bellefonte 43

BEA 5 10 14 16 – 45

BEL  7  9  11  16 – 43

Scoring: Bald Eagle Area – Maddy Perry 3 12-18 15, Charlotte Cingle 1 0-0 2, Abby Hoover 4 3-4 13, Katie Snyder 1 0-2 2, Kierra Serb 1 4-6 6, Taylor Halavick 0 1-2 1. Khloe Cunningham 1 0-0 2. Totals 11 20-32 45.

Bellefonte – Emalee Neff 4 1-2 9, MacKenzie Ellenberger 0 1-2 1, Hana Rados 3 1-2 7, Keira Whitman 4 4-8 12, Maria Cotter 4 3-6 14, Totals 15 10-20 43.

Played but didn’t score: Bald Eagle Area – Olivia Boone 0 0-0 0,, Rachel Bryan 0 0-0 0. Bellefonte – Emma Rossman 0 0-0 0, Angelina Aviles 0 0-0 0, Sydney Hamilton 0 0-0 0, Madison Ripka 0 0-0 0.

3-point shots: Bald Eagle – Perry, Hoover 2. Bellefonte – Cotter 3.

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