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Chucks lose to Bisons, still clinch No. 2 seed

February 16, 2011

Photo by Dan Walk/The Punxsutawney Spirit Punxsy senior Jordan Mesoraco dribbles toward the basket during the Chucks' 50-39 loss Wednesday night in Clearfield. Mesoraco scored nine points for Punxsy.

HYDE — The Punxsy boys' basketball team didn't shoot well and had numerous turnovers during a 50-39 loss to Clearfield Wednesday night, but the Chucks still clinched a home playoff game in the process.

Punxsy (8-13) shot 34 percent from the field and had 16 turnovers, but due to Bradford's 51-36 loss to Elk County Catholic, the Chucks will be the No. 2 seed and the Owls will be the No. 3 seed in the semifinals of the District IX Class AAA playoffs.

Clearfield (5-17) will head to St. Marys (16-7) on the other end of the bracket.

It was a bittersweet loss for Punxsy, which never scored more than 11 points during any quarter and trailed by as many as 16 points during the second half.

"We didn't attack the zone. I thought we were prepared," Punxsy head coach Dirk Neal said. "We didn't have a post presence. We got the ball where we wanted it sometimes and didn't finish."

Clearfield senior Jack Mellgard hit 7-of-8 shots, including 4-of-5 beyond the arc, and scored a game-high 18 points.

When Punxsy wasn't struggling to score, it had trouble handling the ball. The Chucks had 10 turnovers by halftime, when they trailed 23-18.

"We were throwing the ball out of bounds, and point-blank unforced turnovers are what killed us," Neal said. "Their defense caused some, but we just had unforced turnovers, and we just can't do that."

Punxsy's Logan Weaver led with 14 points and eight rebonds. The Chucks had just four players score, including Jordan Mesoraco (nine points), Alex Fedigan (nine points) and Daniel Triponey (seven points).

Punxsy trailed 10-9 after one quarter when Mellgard began to take over. He nailed three three-pointers in the second quarter and didn't miss a shot until the third quarter on his seventh attempt.

"We didn't know where he was at, and we left him open," Neal said. "To his credit, he stuck them."

Christian Lezzer's only basket pushed Clearfield ahead 38-22 late in the third quarter, but the Chucks used a 14-4 run to cut the deficit to 42-36 with 4:09 remaining.

That's when Mellgard nailed what ended up being the dagger — a three-pointer with 3:41 left. Curtis Frye went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to finish Punxsy off down the stretch.

Other high scorers from Clearfield were Curtis Frye (11 points) and Robert Myers (11 points).

The Chucks will host Bradford in a playoff preview Friday. The two teams will meet in Punxsy soon thereafter to start the postseason.

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