Bordonaro carries Burrell past Bellwood-Antis
The bad taste of a lopsided defeat in the WPIAL semifinals gone like last week's garlic and onions, the Burrell girls basketball team began a new run Friday night.
And this game was minty fresh.
Sophomore point guard Sydney Bordonaro scored a game-high 27 points, two off a career high, and freshman forward Natalie Myers scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Buccaneers to a 65-46 victory over Bellwood-Antis in a PIAA Class AA first-round game at Plum.
The win is Burrell's first in the state tournament since 1994.
The Bucs (23-3) advance to play Sharpsville (18-8) on Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.
Burrell rested for 10 days following a 55-19 loss to eventual WPIAL champion Bishop Canevin in the semifinals and was anxious to get back on the court.
“We were all nervous for that WPIAL game,” Bordonaro said. “Once this game started, we were ready to go. We couldn't wait to get out and play again.”
Bordonaro scored 11 in the second quarter as Burrell took a 27-21 lead into halftime. After Bellwood-Antis (24-4), the runner-up from District 6, took a 16-14 lead in the second, Bordonaro hit a 3-pointer, and Kelsey Oddis made a jumper to give the Bucs a lead they never relinquished.
The Blue Devils, making their first PIAA appearance since 2002, kept it close into the third, using a 6-0 run to get to within 38-35.
But Burrell sophomore guard Erika Finn hit a 3 from the corner to give the Bucs a 41-35 cushion.
“I thought E (Finn) gave us a great spark off the bench,” Burrell coach Meghan Ziemianski said. “I waited for three-and-a-half quarters and then it was like, OK. There's my team. It took us a while to get going.”
Finn finished with nine points.
Bordonaro made a variety of shots, but it was two pinpoint passes that helped give the Bucs control for good.
After Bellwood-Antis' Selena Damiano scored off a rebound to cut the Burrell lead to 44-40, Bordonaro dashed through the lane and dropped back-to-back passes to Jessica Cercone and Myers. The pair of traditional three-point plays put the Bucs ahead, 50-40.
Myers scored 10 in the fourth.
“It was great to get everyone involved,” Bordonaro said. “It took us a little too long to shut the door on this game.”
Bordonaro made two free throws and hit a runner to make it 54-43 and the Bucs pulled away from there.
Burrell scored 15 of the game's final 18 points.
“We talk to Syd about slowing it down,” Ziemianski said. “Sometimes, she needs to stop and read the defense. She only has one speed: fast.”
Senior forward Katy Leamer led Bellwood-Antis with 16 points, and sophomore guard Ana Hollen added 12.
Burrell shot 11 for 19 from the foul line.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.