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Bowser Scores 16 Points, Grabs 20 Rebounds as Keystone Continues Hot Streak With Win at A-C Valley

FOXBURG, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Natalie Bowser is a major problem.

Very few opponents can even hope to match up lately against Keystone’s 6-foot star.

(Above, Natalie Bowser/photo by Shelly Atzeni)

Any missed shot within her long wingspan is gobbled up by Bowser, who has been putting up outrageous numbers of late for the surging Panthers’ girls basketball team.

Friday was no different.

Bowser had 13 points and 15 rebounds — by halftime — against A-C Valley and finished with 16 points and 20 boards in Keystone’s 39-23 victory.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

“That’s what she’s been doing every game,” said Keystone coach Andy Traister. “She can step out and shoot the 3. She can handle the ball. She’s a heck of a player. I think everyone was doubting her a little bit, and she’s really taken that on and become one of the best players in the league.”

A-C Valley tried to slow her down, but had a size disadvantage the showed throughout.

“Our tallest girl is 5-8,” said Falcons’ coach Mike Meals. “That put us at a deficit from the beginning.”

Bowser has been asked to expand her role this season for Keystone, especially when the Panthers lost senior guard Jozee Weaver for the season with a knee injury just a half into the campaign.

“I feel like there is a lot of pressure,” Bowser said. “But I don’t realize how many points I’m scoring or how many rebounds I’m getting. I’m just playing my game.”

Her game has been taken to a new level this season.

She rarely comes off the court and she helps in a variety of ways.

Bowser hit a big 3-pointer to help the Panthers rally to beat Clarion earlier this week. She had 17 rebounds in that game as well.

Her success hasn’t come by accident. Bowser worked hard this offseason to round out her burgeoning game.

“I definitely worked on my shot the past couple of years,” Bowser said. “I mean, you never see a big girl shooting 3s, so I figured I could put that in my bag of tricks. It definitely has opened a lot of things up for me, because now everyone has to close out on me, which means I have an easier time in the paint.”

This season hasn’t always been easy for Keystone.

The Panthers got off to a slow start and struggled to score points.

But over the past few weeks, things have begun to change for Keystone, which is on a four-game winning streak.

Other people are getting involved. Amanda Reyes, another big presence inside, scored eight points and guard Emma Gruber added seven against A-C Valley.

“That’s what we needed to do,” Traister said. “Our offense is starting to pick up a little as more girls are getting some confidence.”

Bowser said she has seen the development of the young players around her.

“After the first couple of games, our coaches sat down with us and told us we can’t rely on one person, that we all had to step up our game,” Bowser said. “Everyone on our team has. We’ve all taken big leaps and bounds this season.”

Bowser thinks Keystone can make a playoff push down the stretch.

“I just think we were a very young team at the beginning of the season and we lost our starting point guard and we were all kind of head-cases,” Bowser said. “Now I think we’re kind of finally settling down and being the basketball players that we are meant to be.”

For A-C Valley, there was also some things to build on.

Baylee Blauser scored 13 points and the Falcons, who are also extremely young, hung around with Keystone.

“I told them I thought tonight was their best effort in a long time,” Meals said. “We need to learn to do the little things like boxing out consistently. I saw more of that tonight. Having a team that’s fairly young and inexperienced, we’ve taken a lot of beatings this year. I give credit to the girls for coming out every day and still working hard.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.