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KNOX â€” The Punxsy boys' basketball team played a complete game on both sides of the ball while wiping away Keystone Wednesday night in Knox, 57-23.
The Chucks (5-9) led 24-10 at the break when their 20-7 third quarter all but clinched their second victory on the road this season.
"That was our best team effort, without a doubt," Punxsy head coach Dirk Neal said. "The guys just really, really stepped up."
Punxsy had struggled to score in recent games. It managed 27 points during a 17-point loss last Friday at Bradford and was defeated by DuBois Central Catholic Monday at home, 56-34.
The Chucks' ability to drain a few baskets carried into a more confident second-half team.
"We've been working with each other in practice. We've talked about being able to knock down some shots," Neal said. "We missed some jumpers (Wednesday), and the kids really looked to put the ball on the floor, took the ball to the basket and made their foul shots."
Punxsy's bugaboo the past two games was its inability to come out during the third quarter and stay in the game. The Chucks were down three points against Bradford and up one on DCC at halftime the past two contests, but ended up losing by double digits due to bad third quarters.
Wednesday, the Chucks were on top of their game during the third session, outscoring the Panthers (3-10) 20-7.
"When you can go into the locker room after holding Keystone to 10 at halftime, with that kind of momentum, that goes a long way toward coming out with confidence in the second half," Neal said. "They were excited to get at it."
Daniel Triponey scored a team-best 15 points and was one of three Chucks in double figures. No Punxsy player cracked double digits Monday.
Alex Fedigan added 12 points, Logan Weaver scored 10 points, Corban Cressley had five, and Luke Janocha and Garrett Zimmerman added four apiece.
Seniors Matt Lombardo (two), Isaac Fugate (two) and Joe Long (one) scored their first points this season.
Janocha added seven rebounds, Darren Pifer had six boards and took two charges, Weaver had four assists and three rebounds, and Triponey tallied three assists.
Mitch Rearick â€” the Panthers' leading scorer at nearly 13 points per game â€” paced Keystone with five points.
Neal is confident that his team can turn Wednesday's win into more victories down the road.
"This is a hard-nosed bunch of kids, and they're finally adjusting and learning how to win," Neal said. "We need 32 minutes of total team effort."
The Chucks will get a shot at winning their first District IX League game since the 2008-2009 season when they visit DuBois Friday. DuBois has won three-straight games over the Chucks.
"I'm sure they're excited," Neal said. "Again, this win just goes a long way for our confidence that we can play with and beat these teams."View more articles in: