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Raiders continue postseason push with win over Central

BELLEFONTE – This week is a crucial week for the Bellefonte girls basketball team this week as they start to head down the road to a possible postseason nod.

With four games this week, the Lady Raiders started its week off with a tough adversary in Central in the first game and ending the week Friday against Mifflin County.

After starting out 0-5 on the season, the Red Raiders have been sizzling as of late, winning eight of their last 11.

Monday, Bellefonte made the 10-3 Central team victim number one in the run, topping the Dragons 37-31 in front of their home fans.

It would be a total team effort by the Raiders as they got 19 points from Maddie Tice, eight rebounds from Sara DeHaas, five blocks by Bella Corman and three steals each from Tice, Mia Johnson and Emalee Neff.

Defensively, the Red Raiders held the Central offense to three single-digit scorers in Katheryn Longenecker, Bralyn Ellis and Morgan Knepp all with only seven each.

“We were really aggressive and wanted to get off to a good start on defense. I feel our defense really dictates how we play for the whole game,” said Bellefonte coach Marcus Toomer. “So we were really looking at bringing that energy and making sure that we limited their chances for outside shots.”

In the first quarter, the Red Raider defense put a stranglehold on the Dragons offense, allowing only four points in the period.

Meanwhile, Bellefonte was running through the heart of the Central defense with much success and forcing Central to foul.

Tice led the first quarter charge as she muscled her way through for an eight-point showing. Teammate Bella Corman took her chances going inside and it paid off with three-of-four from the charity stripe.

When the buzzer sounded ending the first, Bellefonte amassed a 15-4 advantage.

During the second stanza, the Dragons started to work their way inside while both defenses were stingy and thrashed many second chance shots by the opponents defense.

One of those players was recently returned starter Sara DeHaas as she was a force to be reckoned with on boards during the game and thwarting numerous scoring opportunities for Central.

However, the Red Raiders offense chilled off a little, allowing Central to outscore them 8-7.

But when the two teams went into intermission, Bellefonte held a 22-12 advantage.

Despite the game taking the same route as the second period, the Red Raiders did enough to flip the scoring 8-7, taking the game into the final stanza, still with the momentum.

Going into the final stanza, the home team had a 30-19 advantage.

Central refused to give up and started to make a dent into their deficit.

After an opening bucket by Tice, Central battled back with an 8-0 run, highted by the scoop shot at the basket by Knepp.

With the 8-0, Central found itself within striking distance at 32-28 with 1:48 left.

From that moment on, the Bellefonte defense put a strangle hold on the Dragons opportunistic offense.

With the game in jeopardy, Bellefonte forced the Dragons to come out and foul them.

Stepping to the line both Neff and Corman did not miss a beat going a perfect 4-for-4, extending the lead back to eight points.

A steal by Lily Gardner on the following Dragons’ possession, also put her to the foul line where she hit 1-of-2 to make it a 37-28 contest with 24.9 left.

Central got a late triple at the buzzer by Longenecker was too little too late as Bellefonte went on for the win.

With the victory, the Red Raiders increased its record to .500 with an 8-8 record on the season.

Bellefonte 37 , Central 31

CE 4 8 7 12 – 31

BE 15 7 8 7 – 37

Scoring: Central – Elana Decker 1 0-0 3, Katheryn Longenecker 3 0-0 7, Morgan Knepp 3 1-2 7, Carly Dixon 1 0-0 2,Bralyn Ellis 3 1-2 7, Bailey Huston 1 3-3 5. Totals 12 2-7 31. Bellefonte – Lily Gardner 1 1-3 3, Mia Johnson 1 2-2 4, Maddie Tice 8 2-6 19, Bella Corman 0 5-8 5, Sara DeHaas 2 0-0 4. Totals 13 10-19 37.

3-point shots: Central – Decker, Longenecker 2. Bellefonte – Tice 2.

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