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Bellefonte boys downed in playoffs, six county teams still playing

by on February 22, 2018 8:55 AM

The District 6 basketball playoffs began this week and six Centre County teams will be competing for district honors and places in the 2018 PIAA tournament.

Unfortunately, the county did not get off to a very auspicious start when Bellefonte traveled to Central Mountain for a first-round 5A game Feb. 19.

Central Mountain scored 10 of the first 12 points in the game, led by 10 going into the second quarter and then used that quick start to carve out a 51-33 win over the Raiders.

Bellefonte clearly was shaken by Central Mountain’s early performance — the lead ballooned to 29-13 by halftime — yet the Raiders regrouped and kept pace with the Wildcats throughout the second half.

But, it was too late, as Central Mountain reserved its place in the D6 championship game against Hollidaysburg on Saturday, Feb. 24.
Collin Jones led CM with 18 points and Isiah McCann had 12, while Caleb Rockey (12 points) and Bailey Decker (8) were the leading scorers for Bellefonte.

The loss marks the end of the season for Bellefonte. The Raiders finished 7-17 for the year, but the team showed signs of progress in the latter part of the season and came back from a disheartening 3-14 start.

State College, Penns Valley and St. Joseph’s girls’ and boys’ teams will all be in action at some point this week in D6 play.

The outcomes of three of those games, however, will be decided too late to be included in this edition of the Gazette.

The State College girls, SJCA boys and Penns Valley boys were all scheduled to play Feb. 21.


The No. 3-seeded Lady Little Lions drew a challenging matchup in No. 2 Mifflin County in the 6A semifinal. Mifflin beat SC twice this season in Mid-Penn play, but the Lions have improved and they will have to prove it in this game. The winner goes on to the championship against Altoona on Friday, Feb. 23, and the loser will end its season.


The No. 7 Penns Valley boys have a tough draw, as well, against 18-4 and No. 2 Ligonier Valley in the 3A first round at Ligonier Valley.

Even so, Penns Valley always shows up in the playoffs, and since four teams out of nine advance in this bracket, one win would qualify the Rams to go on even with a loss in the quarterfinals.


Finally, the SJCA boys will entertain 10-12 Saltsburg in the single-A bracket. A win for the Wolves would set up a date with No. 1 seeded Juniata Valley on Monday, Feb. 26.

For Thursday, Feb. 22, there are two girls’ first-rounders on the schedule.


In Boalsburg, the No. 3 St. Joe’s Lady Wolves (19-4) will be out to rectify a 52-43 loss to Linden Hall in the MAC championship on Feb. 17.

It was just the fourth loss of the season for SJCA, but the Wolves have little time to dwell on it, with No. 6 Williamsburg coming to town for a first-round single-A showdown.

At first glance, this looks like a favorable matchup for St. Joe’s. Williamsburg is 8-14 coming in and already lost twice to the Wolves, once by a whopping 53-25 on Jan. 17.  But this is the playoffs, and the loser goes home, so nothing can be taken for granted. A win would put SJCA in the semifinals against either No. 7 Saltsburg or No. 2 and defending state finalist Juniata Valley. That game would be for a place in the PIAA tournament.


No. 3 seeded Penns Valley (17-5) earned a bye in the 3A bracket and will await the outcome of the No. 6 Central Cambria against No. 11 Marion Center. The winner of that game will travel to Spring Mills tonight to take on the Rams with a spot in the semifinal Tuesday, Feb. 27, and the PIAA tournament on the line.


The final Centre County team to play will be the 22-1 and No. 1-seeded State College boys in the 6A final at Penn State Altoona on Friday, Feb. 23.

The Little Lions have swept through their season so far with only a January loss to Reading in the Trinity HS Classic to mar it.

Otherwise, it has been all wins, and mostly by double digits, including an 87-56 walk-away Feb. 5 against Friday’s opponent, Altoona.

SC most certainly has its sights set very high going into the postseason, but this game against the 7-13 Mountain Lions is not one to take for granted. The loser goes into the mix with District 8 and District 10 teams with one team qualifying for the PIAA tournament.

The winner is immediately qualified, and there will be a whole corral of District 7 teams waiting in the first three rounds of that affair.
Getting there, of course, will be SC’s first order of business.


Pat Rothdeutsch covers Penn State football for The Centre County Gazette. Email him at
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