Sports

Bellefonte rallies to win girls’ basketball holiday tournament opener

Bellefonte’s Maddie Steiner (1), facing Penns Valley earlier this season, scored a key bucket in the final seconds of a 30-26 win against East Juniata on Tuesday.
Bellefonte’s Maddie Steiner (1), facing Penns Valley earlier this season, scored a key bucket in the final seconds of a 30-26 win against East Juniata on Tuesday. For the CDT file

The Bellefonte girls’ basketball team overcame a scoreless second quarter and a fourth-quarter deficit to rally past East Juniata 30-26 Tuesday night in the opening round of the Selinsgrove Holiday Tournament.

“We fought hard,” said Lady Red Raiders coach Adam Gearhart, whose team plays in the tournament championship game at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. “The girls just made plays.”

The Lady Raiders played nearly 13 minutes without scoring, shut out in the second quarter and not posting a point until just over three minutes remained in the third. But they netted 10 points by the end of the third to pull within two points, and pulled ahead for good down the stretch.

Abbey Bruni drained a pair of 3-pointers in the final period, and Mallorie Smith had a chance to ice the game at the foul line with seven seconds remaining. Her first try on the one-and-bonus bounced off the rim, however, but Maddie Steiner spun around a Lady Tiger player to snare the rebound for a put-back bucket to lock up the team’s first win of the season.

“The smallest girl on the court got a huge rebound,” Gearhart joked, noting a switch to a full-court press fueled the comeback. “We got the turnovers out of that and we got more aggressive out of that too. That gave them some confidence.”

Steiner and Maddie Tice each scored eight points to lead Bellefonte (1-5) and Carly Beaver netted eight points for East Juniata.

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