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Juniata girls improves to 19-1

By Kenny Varner

BELEFONTE – In their second meeting of the season, the Juniata girls basketball traveled to Bellefonte in a rematch against the Lady Raiders.
In the first contest, Juniata defeated Bellefonte 55-32 in the season opening Juniata County tip-off tournament.
The two played in a similar style game as the Indians improved to an impressive 19-1 with the 51-28 road victory Monday night.
The Indians were led by the outside shooting of Josie Swartz, who netted a game-high 26 points. She was sizzling from beyond the 3-point line with four.
Juniata’s inside game was also shining as Grace Brocious put in 14 points, grabbed seven boards and had three blocks in the victory.
“We were able to lengthen it out as the game went on. Bellefonte has been playing basketball the second half of the year. They have had some close games in the Mountain League and playing the Mountain League tough and so we respected them a good deal. I think Adam is running a good program. He’s playing some young kids, some freshman as starters. I see big things in the future for them,” Juniata coach Kevin Kodish said. “As with my team I was happy with Josie (Swartz) with 29 and Grace Brocious had a great game. I thought we worked the ball well and were able to lengthen the lead as the game went on.”
Bellefonte had its struggles from the field as it was limited to single digit scoring in all four quarters.
Lauren Young tallied six points and nine rebounds while teammates Raisa Gregor and Abbie Carr each picked up five-point efforts.
“We came out strong but had a couple fouls and they took it over from there. At 19-1 they are obviously a good team,” Bellefonte coach Adam Gearhart said. “They are well coached. We didn’t shoot the ball well. We just threw it at the hoops. There were shots that weren’t even close to the rim. We were not relaxed at all. So we need to get it together. We have a quick turnaround and got to go at it tommorrow.”
The game was back and fourth for the first half of the opening period.
Bellefonte took an early lead just four seconds in when Mallorie Smith got the tip and went right at the Juniata defense. She was fouled on the lay up and made 1-of-2 from the line.
While missing the second shot, teammate Lauren Young got the rebound and put it in, making it 3-0 less than 30 seconds in.
After a quick time out by Juniata, the Indians got on the board as Ellie Shepps hit 1-of-2 from the line, cutting it to 3-1.
From there the Juniata offense dominated the quarter going on a 16-2 run in the final five minutes of the quarter to take a comfortable 17-5 lead.
Things opened well for the Red Taiders in the second, hitting two field goals while Juniata hit one, cutting it to 19-9 with 4:17 left in the second.
But like the first quarter, the offense would extended its lead to 16 before Bellefonte was able to battle back thanks to a 6-0 run, upping the lead to 25-9.
However, Bellefonte got the last points in the half when Abbie Carr took an offensive rebound and put it in, leaving the halftime score standing at 25-11.
Going into the third period, Josie Swartz started the Juniata attack with an early triple.
Bellefonte’s Abbi Bruni retailiated with a long two right inside of the three-point line.
Brocious hit an old fashioned three-point play when she made a lay up and was fouled in the process. After making her free throw attempt, Juniata had a 31-13 advantage.
But the Lady Raiders refused to quit as they chipped into the Indians’ lead as it went on a late run that would cut the lead to 36-20 as the quarter ended.
But it wouldn’t be the Red Raiders night as the Indians’ offense and the lead was just too much as it went on for the 51-28 victory.
In the JV contest, Juniata won that as well with the 45-27 victory.

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