High School Sports

Girls basketball: Bellefonte outlasts rival Bald Eagle Area

It was a close one at the break, and after allowing Bald Eagle Area back into the game after it looked like Bellefonte was going to close out the game early, the Red Raiders found themselves in a dog fight.

Only up by five points at the half, the Lady Raiders needed someone to come up big in the third quarter and knock down a few shots to get their offense flowing. That person was Ally Steen.

Steen drained a three-pointer to begin the third quarter and then cashed in on a baseline jumper to help her squad get back on track and open up the game’s first double-digit lead. Her hot shooting in the second half helped the Lady Raiders to a 38-27 win over the Lady Eagles and improve to 7-6 on the season.

“It was kind of funny, we were sitting in (the locker room) at halftime and I told her that I was going to take her out if she didn’t shoot the ball because there were so many times in the first half that we had her in the corner in that 1-3-1, that she was wide open and she gave up the shot,” the Red Raiders head coach Bret Leister said. “I think it was confidence wise with her, she missed the first three or four shots of the game and that sunk into her that she might try and feed the ball inside.

“She is that type of player if she gets that confidence she could go off with big numbers and in the second half she made that first three and then she came right back down and hit a nice little jumper for us and got us started there in the second half.”

While the Red Raiders were able to cash in on field goals when they needed them, it seemed like at times the Eagles could not buy a bucket from the floor. At the half, the Eagles had only made four baskets from the field and they finished the game with only seven made attempts.

Sophomore Logan Fischer was the reason that the Eagles had managed to keep it close in the first half, as she made the most of her trips to the charity stripe and converted all eight of her free throw attempts into points.

Ultimately in the end, it was the Eagles’ lack of offensive flow that hurt them and set them back to a 3-8 mark on the season.

“We missed a lot of opportunities, we turned the ball over too many times,” Eagles head coach Troy Butterworth said. “We didn’t shoot the ball, we held on to it too long, we passed up open shots, (and) just made too many mental mistakes. They’re a good team, they’ve improved a lot from last year.”

Jess Book finished the night for the Lady Raiders with a game-high 15 points and proved to be a dominant force down in the post. Most of her scoring came in the first half and she found herself in double-digits in scoring midway through the second quarter.

Having already tied the program’s number of wins combined in the past two seasons, the Red Raiders have bigger goals in mind and look to continue their winning ways when they travel to Newport at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

But in order to continue to add to the win column, Leister knows that his squad is going to have to finish off plays down the stretch.

“Execution and finishing, that’s the biggest thing,” Leister said. “I was just talking about how we need to execute as far as where we are on the floor offensively and the shots that we are taking offensively, and then finishing our shots. That has been our Achilles’ heel all year is finishing our shots. We’ll get up 50 shots a game, but when we’re only shooting 25-30 percent that hurts us greatly.”