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Juniata takes non-league victory over Bellefonte

By Kenny Varner

MIFFLINTOWN – Thursday night, the Bellefonte girls basketball team traveled south to go up against a defensive-laden Juniata girls team who entered the contest with only three losses on the season in their opening game out of the Christmas break.

The veteran laden Indians were too much on this night against the Lady Raiders, winning 75-34  In the non-league contest.

Juniata was led by Ava Shearer’s game-high 32 points and five rebounds. Finishing with a double-double for the Lady Indians was Mylee Landis. Landis pulled down 10 boards and scored 13 points in the win.

Bellefonte’s Maria Cotter had a hot hand for the Red Raiders as she finished with a team high 13 points and four rebounds.

Bellefonte pulled down 23 rebounds in the loss while Juniata battled for 32.

The two have been familiar with each other having played them numerous times in the past few seasons in the Indians Juniata County basketball tournament.

But on this night, it was just a one game contest.

Coming into the contest, the young Bellefonte team battled throughout despite the deficit it faced throughout, a sign that pleased their coach when asked about their never say die attitude.

“They worked hard. The girls on the bench played hard and stepped up when some of our starters were in foul trouble,” said Bellefonte coach Marissa Ward.

Early on, the two battled toe-to-toe in the early minutes of the first.

Keara Whitman got the scoring started as she stole a Juniata pass and layed it up in transition.

Shearer came back and put her team on top as she took the ball to the hole and was fouled in the process of shooting. She was perfect on the free throw, making it a 3-2 advantage.

Bellefonte took back the lead when Whitman hit another bucket.

Juniata’s defense, which is averaging less than 29 points a game this season, held Bellefonte as it went on a 6-0 run, giving themselves a little breathing room at 10-4. All six were scored by Regan Lowrey. Lowrey finished with  14 points and four rebounds.

Mackenzie Ellenberger stopped the scoring run as she hit a jumper and a one shot foul as she was hacked on the way up. With the points, the Red Raiders cut it to a 8-7 contest.

Juniata’s defense continued to squeeze and force the young Red Raiders into miscues.

The Lady Indians took advantage going on a 14-4 run to end the first stanza. When the buzzer sounded, the Indians led 22-11 going into the second.

Offensively, the Juniata shooting started to heat up. The Indians were able to pound out 26 points while its defense was able to hold Bellefonte to just six.

Going into the intermission, Juniata held a solid 48-17 lead.

In the third, Juniata continued to pound the ball inside and into the hands of Shearer. Shearer netted 10 strong buckets in the paint.

Highlighting the Red Raiders scoring was a bucket by Ellenberger, a triple by Cotter as well as a free throw.

In the final stanza, the Lady Raiders showed their spirit as it posted 11points while keeping Juniata to only nine points.

However, in the end of the contest, Juniata took home the 75-34 win, sending them to an 8-3 record heading into the new year.

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