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Bellefonte girls top Bald Eagle in defensive battle

 

By Kenny Varner

 

WINGATE – Round two.

It was game number two of the annual rivalry that is Bellefonte and Bald Eagle Area.

This time it was the girls who took center stage to do battle against their most familiar foes.

In normal fashion, the two battled hard throughout the game in a back-and-forth defensive battle.

However, for a span of five minutes in the third quarter, the Bellefonte offense came alive, extending a lead that they would never relinquish, en route to the 36-28 victory Tuesday at the Bald Eagle Gym.

“We wanted it in the second half at some point. I don’t know about the first two quarters and a half. We sort of let them hang around a little bit. But they’ve done what we’ve done. We both kept up the pressure and were playing without some of their best players,” Bellefonte coach Adam Gearhart said. “I guess that defines the rivalry right there. They were down a few people and we let them hang around. We finally found a five that would do what we asked them to do and we rode that energy.”

Offensively, the Red Raiders picked up a 15-point effort from center Jess Book. Book was also strong on the boards with six. She was just one of four Red Raiders to collect five or more rebounds in the victory.

Teammate Mara Tamminga just missed a double digit scoring performance, picking up nine points thanks to two triples from beyond the arc.

The Eagles were led by two steady finishes by Julia Cingle and Kaylee McCaslin, who both hit the 9-point mark as well. McCaslin posted two triples while Cingle had one.

It was also the last game in the high school career of Haley Giedroc. She was stingy on defense and finished with four points before fouling out late in the game.

In the first period, both defenses came ready to play.

Both teams combined for a total of eight points in the period with each scoring four points apiece.

Less than three minutes in the game, Book hit the first bucket of the game, hitting two-of-two from the charity stripe.

Bald Eagle quickly countered when Cingle took the pass from a teammate and split the defense, laying it up in traffic.

Seconds later, the Red Raiders took back the lead when Marissa Moriarta caught a pass inside and hit a wide open shot, giving the lead back to Bellefonte.

But it would be the Eagles that would tally the last bucket of the quarter.

With 4:28 left, Alexis Bucha found herself also wide open and took advantage, hitting a soft jumper, ending the first quarter scoring tied at four.

“They played with a lot of heart. We start the year with three of our starters not playing tonight and we are starting girls who have never been in the situation before. We had a little slip in the third quarter. That was kind of the game there when we had three turnovers. We had youth on the floor. It didn’t help that Giedroc was in foul trouble and had to sit the whole time,” Bald Eagle coach Troy Butterworth said. “It would’ve probably been a different game if she wasn’t in foul trouble to be honest. She was kind of our sparkplug, our leader and she makes everything go. I couldn’t ask for anything more from that group tonight.”

After the two both finished with seven apiece in the second quarter, the two went into the intermission tied at 11.

The game remained close and was tied at 16 when the Red Raiders started to make their move.

On two consecutive Bald Eagle possessions, Bellefonte was able to intercept the ball and take it in for the easy lay up. Picking up those points were Book and Raisa Gregor, upping the Red Raiders lead to 20-16 with 47 ticks left until the final stanza.

Defensively, the Lady Raiders got the best of the Bald Eagles one last time before the end of the quarter, forcing an awkward shot and getting the rebound.

With the lead and the time running off the clock, Lauren Young hit a jumper, upping the lead to 22-16 as the quarter came to an end.

In the fourth quarter, the game settled back into a back and forth defensive game as both posted 12, giving the Lady Raiders the 8-point victory.

Bald Eagle took care of the JV contest, winning 36-24.

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