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Trinity girls end Bellefonte season

BELLEFONTE – Though the road to the PIAA State Championship ended for the Bellefonte girls Saturday night, the journey that the Lady Raiders took on in the regular season is one that sets the standards and lays the foundations the group will have for many years to come.
“Our message to the girls was about pride. Hopefully in four or five years when this thing is totally turned around the kids can look back and thank this group,” Bellefonte girls coach Adam Gearhart said. “They set the template for what I wanted. The girls fought to the end. They never quit. They didn’t give up. They kept at them. Trinity is a real good team down there. It’s a wonder there are any lights left on in the gym because they shot the lights out tonight.”
Saturday night at the Bald Eagle gymnasium, Bellefonte (12-13) went up against WPIAL regular season champion Trinity (23-3) in the open round of the PIAA Class 5A playoffs.
The Lady Hillers brought to the table a strong defense along with a sharpshooting long range shooting attack. Trinity used both of those all evening as the offense finished with nine triples en route to the 67-22 victory.
However, despite falling behind early, it was evident that the Lady Raiders were not going to go down without a fight.
Bellefonte freshman Maddie Steiner did her best to keep her team in the mix finishing with a 12-point effort while teammate Lauren Young tallied six points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the losing effort.
Trinity’s was led by Sierra Kotchman’s 19-point evening. Kotchman also netted three triples to end the night as the game’s top scorer.
Teammates Alayna Cappelli and Riley DeRubbo finished with 18 and 15 points, respectively.
The Hillers opened the game sizzling hot as they ran off an early 13-0 run to start the game. In that scoring spurt Cappelli hit three consecutive triples.
Steiner ended the scoreless run for Bellefonte with a jumper inside, making it 13-2.
After Trinity scored the next six points, the Lady Raiders got a triple by Steiner to end the first quarter scoring at 19-5.
The high tempo offense and smothering defense of Trinity continued to post problems for the spunky Raider team in the second half as it outscored Bellefonte 36-10 going into the intermission.
As the second half got underway, Trinity continued to show why it’s one of the favorites to go deep into States as it outscored Bellefonte 29-10 in the second half for the victory.
However, despite the loss no one can take away from the positive road the Lady Raiders went down during the season as they showed the program is alive and well, finishing as District 6 Class 5A runner ups.
Losing only three players to graduation next season, the foundation has been cemented this season and can be used as a springboard to next season.
Coach Gearhart knows that things have been properly put in place for years to come.
“We were swimming in the deep end. We were in real deep,” Gearhart said. “I like the young girls fight. I don’t think at any time we were intimidated . Even when Trinity came out and were hitting all those shots we ever looked intimidated.”

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