PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” Home-court advantage didn't mean much between the Chucks and Beavers this season.
Punxsy's lights-out shooting performance Jan. 28 in DuBois led to a 65-49 win. Friday night in Punxsutawney during Senior Night, DuBois had the hot hand, and that led to the Beavers earning a 61-50 victory.
The Chucks (7-12, 1-8 District IX League) are riding a three-game losing streak into the final week of the regular season, but they declared for the District IX Class AAA playoffs. St. Marys (15-6) and Bradford (6-14) will also enter the postseason, while there is no official word on whether Clearfield (4-15) â€” the final District IX Class AAA team â€” will join St. Marys, Punxsy and Bradford.
Either way, St. Marys is guaranteed the top seed, and Bradford and Punxsy are likely to play in the playoff semifinals. Home-court advantage in that first playoff game will be up for grabs during the final week of the regular season, with the Chucks playing versus Penn Cambria Monday, at Clearfield Wednesday and versus Bradford next Friday.
The Owls â€” who lost to Brookville, 47-45, in overtime Friday â€” host Elk County Catholic Wednesday and play at Punxsy next Friday.
Next Friday's matchup in Bradford may decide which team earns home court between the Chucks and Owls, with Bradford owning a 44-27 home victory over Punxsy Jan. 21.
"What we're really hoping for is to play up to our potential, because we're still fighting for home-court advantage in the playoffs," Punxsy head coach Dirk Neal said after Friday's game.
Friday, Punxsy trailed 17-9 and 33-19 by halftime. It was a polar opposite to Jan. 28 in DuBois, when the Chucks shot 72 percent in the first half and were ahead 37-23.
"It was a tale of two halves, both home and away. Up 14 (on the road), down 14 at home," Neal said. "We weren't hitting perimeter shots early. We had shots, but didn't knock them down. Turnovers and missed baskets were the deficit in the first half."
Both teams scored 13 points in the third quarter, maintaining DuBois' 14-point advantage. Then, as they have all season, the Chucks found a way to stay in the game late, cutting the deficit to 50-45 with 1:26 left following an Alex Fedigan three-pointer.
Baskets by Nate Liddle and Garret Peterson on DuBois' next trip down the court turned a five-point game into a nine-point contest. Liddle's basket and a foul was followed by Peterson ripping down a missed free throw and putting his team ahead 54-45.
"We have to put 32 minutes of basketball together," Neal said. "You can't play any team and not show up in a quarter with them playing 32 and you playing 24. It just doesn't work."
Logan Weaver scored a game-high 22 points for the Chucks. He scored 22 of Punxsy's first 34 points and added seven rebounds, five assists and a block.
Daniel Triponey added nine points, Fedigan and Darren Pifer had seven apiece, and Jordan Mesoraco managed five points, five rebounds, five assists and one block.
Pifer scored all of his points during the first half, and both Triponey and Fedigan poured in seven points apiece during the Chucks' 18-point fourth quarter.
Liddle had a huge night for the Beavers, scoring 20 points. He had 16 during the first half.
Dom Kriner scored 10 of his 14 points during the second half, Peterson had 13 points, and Nate Avery provided huge offensive rebounds and had seven points for DuBois.View more articles in: