Juniata powers past Bellefonte
MIFFLINTOWN — The Juniata girls basketball team continued their successful run through its schedule, defeating a feisty Bellefonte team, 53-40, Saturday afternoon.
The Red Raiders didn’t make it easy for the Lady Indians as they kept the game close for most of the game before Juniata put the game away late in the fourth.
Juniata’s floor leader Josie Swartz finished with a game-high 21 points while Bellefonte was led by the sharp-shooting efforts of Maddie Tice who finished with 16. Tice also battled for seven rebounds.
Swartz is now tied atop Juniata’s leaderboard in points scored.
Olivia Clark chipped in for Juniata with a 14-point effort while Abbey Bruni helped out the Lady Raiders with 10 points to roundout the double-digit scorers.
“Early turnovers hurt us and foul shooting, we were 5-for-12 from the foul line and that also hurt,” Bellefonte coach Adam Gearhart said. “We didn’t box out. There were two possessions that Juniata got nine shots. They weren’t making them but we weren’t boxing out. You can’t give up that many opportunities to a team as good as Juniata. They’re going to take advantage of it sooner or later. That’s what it came down to.”
Just before the game, Juniata celebrated senior night by honoring Swartz, Halee Decker, Mahala Laub, Kelsey Lowery and Ellie Shepps.
“Senior night is always is an emotional night and we wanted all five of our seniors to start. We got off to a slow start tonight. They (Raiders) made two threes to start out and we had to comeback from,” Juniata coach Kevin Kodish said. “I was pleased for the most part. We had some pretty nice sequences in the first half. Olivia Clark had quite a few good buckets for us tonight. Josie Swartz was solid as always. Chloe Zendt also has a good game for us as well.”
The Red Raiders opened with a 3-pointer from Bruni and Tice to take a 6-0 advantage just minutes in the game.
Swartz then got things started for the Indians as she cut the Red Raider lead in half with a triple of her own, making it 6-3 with 4:00 left in the first.
Juniata’s defense forced a turnover and got the ball back in the hands of Swartz who cut the lead to one by hitting a runner in the lane.
Chloe Zendt took over down low for Juniata as she hit two consecutive shots inside the paint, giving the Lady Indians the lead at 9-6 with under two minutes to go in the opening period.
Swartz made it a 12-0 run for Juniata as she hit her second triple, upping the lead to 12-6.
After falling behind by eight, Bellefonte ended the quarter on a positive note when Tice hit an inside jumper to end the first quarter scoring at 14-8.
Juniata came out of the second quarter holding the hot hand, outscoring the Lady Raiders, 6-0 in the opening minutes.
However, Bellefonte would give the Indians a run for their money in the quarter as they were able to cut the Juniata lead to single digits when the buzzer sounded.
Going into the half, Juniata held a close 26-19 advantage.
Early on in the third, Bellefonte was able to pull within four points at 28-24. Leading the run was Bruni and Tice who scored five consecutive points after an early bucket by Juniata’s Kelsey Lowery.
The 5-0 run was ended by the Lady Indians who then proceeded to go on a 8-0 run of their own to extend the lead back to a 12-point, 36-24 lead. In the run, Clark led the way with four.
Juniata is back in action Tuesday as they host the first round of the Tri-Valley League playoffs when it hosts Lancaster Country Day.
Juniata 53, Bellefonte 40
Maddie Steiner 0 1-2 1, Mallorie Smith 2 3-6 7, Abbey Bruni 4 0-0 10, Mia Johnson 1 0-1 2, Maddie Tice 6 1-1 16, Bella Corman 2 0-2 4. Totals 15 5-12 40.
3-point goals: Tice 3, Bruni 2.
Did not score: Hannah Lauck.
Josie Swartz 6 7-12 21, Kelsey Lowery 1 0-0 2, Chloe Zendt 4 0-0 9, Ellie Shepps 2 1-2 5, Olivia Clark 7 0-2 14, Mahlin Kint 0 1-2 1. Totals 20 9-18 54.
3-point goals: Jo. Swartz 2, Zendt.
Did not score: Rowe Shepps, Janessa Swartz, Halee Decker, Mahala Laub.
Score by quarters
Bellefonte 8-11-8-13 — 40
Juniata 14-12-10-17 — 53