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Bellwood-Antis takes home state title

Campbell's 34 points leads Lady Devils past West Catholic

Alli+Campbell+scored+24+of+her+34+in+the+second+half+to+lead+the+Lady+Devils+to+their+first+state+championship.
Alli Campbell scored 24 of her 34 in the second half to lead the Lady Devils to their first state championship.

Alli Campbell scored 24 of her 34 in the second half to lead the Lady Devils to their first state championship.

Kyra Woomer

Kyra Woomer

Alli Campbell scored 24 of her 34 in the second half to lead the Lady Devils to their first state championship.

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PIAA championship and homecoming reception; March 26, 2018. (Kyra Woomer)

The Lady Blue Devils won the school’s first ever basketball state championship with a win against West Catholic at the Giant Center in Hershey yesterday. B-A was just able to hang on with a final score of 45-42.

With 10 seconds left, sophomore Alli Campbell stood at the foul line with a chance to ice the game as chants of MVP roared through the Giant Center. The enormous pressure that had been building up on her all season from college offers, awards, and expectations came down to one foul shot and Campbell stepped up and drilled it. Campbell scored 34 points on the night and scored 24 of BA’s 25 second half points.

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“I knew coming into the second half that we would have to hit some big shots to try to expand on our lead. We were all confident going into this game,” said Alli. “I was confident in my shooting. I hit some pretty big shots, and that was from all of our hard work together every day in practice. I just couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to share this with.”

No one was happier with the performance than B-A coach Jim Swaney.

“Alli is amazing offensively, and defensively,” Coach Swaney said of his 6-foot point guard, who is rated among the top college recruits in America. “She just proves time in and time out why so many universities are interested in her. She’s a dominant player.”

It just really meant a lot to us, and it made me proud that we could do this for (the community).”

— Tina Hollen

The 2A title victory gave the Bellwood-Antis its second PIAA team title. In 2003, the baseball team won the state title in Class AA.

“It feels great to go out with a bang,” said Lady Devil senior Tina Hollen. “I got to win my last high school basketball game, and that’s not something many people can say.”

B-A struggled keeping the ball protected as they had five turnovers in the first five minutes of the game. They remained in the game because of their defense and rebounding.

Sakeria Haralson had 14 rebounds, 13 of which were offensive.

“It’s a big part of our game. It was one of my best rebounding games,” said Sakeria.

Bellwood-Antis led 16-11 after a 7-0 run in the second quarter, although West Catholic came back to get the score 20-17 at halftime.

In the third quarter, the game went back and forth. Campbell had back to back 3-point shots, bringing B-A ahead 34-32 going into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Campbell had a huge another 3-point shot with 1:30 left, putting Bellwood up for good.

This was huge for Coach Swaney because he thought that his coaching career was done after resigning at Tyrone in 2006.

“The Bellwood administration gave me a chance that I will forever be thankful for, and I can’t ever thank them enough for trust they showed in me. I hope I repaid some of that, and certainly these kids deserve all the credit for bringing Bellwood to their first state title,” said Coach Swaney.

This was also huge for the community! The Basketball Boosters did a send off on Sunday at noon before the game Monday. Bellwood took three student buses and a fan bus to Hershey in support of the girls. Upon the girls’ return with many escorts, they were greeted by  the community lined up in the streets and a parade in celebration.

“The community support was incredible. Just looking at the crowd and how many people came out at not only the game but the parade and the school, it just really meant a lot to us, and it made me proud that we could do this for them,” said Tina.

With just one senior this year and three sophomores and a junior starting, the future outlook is very bright for the Lady Blue Devils. This is a young team that still has time to learn and expand their skills and knowledge of the game.

“We want to keep pushing and get the state championship again next year and the year after,” said Sakeria.

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