LEWISTOWN — Mount Carmel came into its matchup with Bellwood-Antis with intensity and a style of play that backed the Blue Devils into a corner. However, the Devils made the right plays with just seconds left to earn a 47-45 win in the PIAA Class 2A second round at Mifflin County High School, Tuesday.
The Red Tornadoes went toe-to-toe with Bellwood the entire game and erased a double-digit deficit thanks to timely shooting and good perimeter accuracy.
After being down 34-29 entering the fourth quarter, MCA went on an 8-3 run and forced tough shots in the process.
DaniRae Renno had her way for most of the game and scored 20 points in the game. Lauren Shedleski, Lauren Ayres and Brooke Bernini each drilled a 3-pointer in the final frame.
Blue Devil’s junior captain Alli Campbell thought the Tornadoes gave her team a good fight and described her team’s approach to the challenges that were presented to them.
“They came out and played their way of basketball, which was holding the ball and slowing it down and kind of stalling a little bit,” Campbell said. “We like to get up and down the court, so that was a bit of a different play for us. The second half we came out and played our game. We got a good lead and they started to chip away, but we stayed calm and confident and we knew the value of each possession. They tried to get our best shot on each possession.”
Campbell came up big in the clutch and propelled her team in the final seconds of play and she also had the help of her teammates.
With the score deadlocked at 42 with 1:13 left in the contest, Campbell drove to the basket and missed a layup off the glass, but teammate Sakeria Haralson grabbed the offensive board and rose for a two-point shot and nailed it, handing the Blue Devils a two point lead with 42.5 seconds on the clock.
The Tornadoes would later twist and turn down the court and found an open Bernini, who would splash a shot from downtown with 24 ticks left in the game, MCA had a 45-44 advantage at that point.
On the ensuing possession, Campbell dribbled up on the far side of the court and was fouled by Shedleski. Campbell would knock down a pair of foul shots as the Bellwood crowd erupted with glee.
Despite starting the season 0-3, MCA made it to the second round of states and Shedleski is already thinking about making strides next year.
“I’m so proud of our team. We started off 0-3 and we made it to the second round of the playoffs,” she said. “Nobody really expected us to do this and to be in a game like that. We’re just so proud. We really left it all out there. We knew what we had to do. They’re a great team with great players. I’m proud of our season.”
She continued, “The message is we’re going to be back next year. We’re returning our entire team next year. We have some good freshmen coming in, but we just want everyone to know that we’re going to be back next year and we will work hard all offseason. I know we’re going to come back even better next year.”