PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” Juniors Logan Weaver and Daniel Triponey are playing like one of the best scoring guard duos in District IX, and their ability to fill up the stat sheet this season doesn't surprise Punxsy head coach Dirk Neal.
Back when Weaver and Triponey started for the seventh-grade team in 2006-2007, Neal, then Punxsy's junior-varsity coach, noticed just how talented they were.
"When you see individual players like that, it's a coach's dream. You hope that you get a couple guards like that to gel together, and that's exactly what happened," Neal said. "At that age, you kind of see some individual positives and some strengths, and as a coach, in the back of your mind, you're hoping that package comes together."
It all came together during Punxsy's final regular season game last Friday. During a 61-42 victory over Bradford, the tandem combined for 48 points, including 25 from Weaver and 23 from Triponey.
Triponey constantly took the ball hard to the basket, made 10-of-11 free throws and drained three three-pointers. Weaver showed off his stroke from long distance, nailing five three-pointers in the game.
Both have had success while leading the team in scoring all season â€” Weaver is 12th in the district at 16.5 points per game, and Triponey is 24th at 13.4. That's a combined 29.9 points per game, one of the higher totals by a pair of two pure guards in the district.
"They're tough to beat," Punxsy senior guard Brodi Lowmaster said. "With Logan shooting the way he is, and Dan can shoot lights out, also. They both drive to the hoop very well."
What helps Weaver and Triponey be such potent scorers while helping Punxsy earn the No. 2 seed in the District IX Class AAA Playoffs is how they complement each other.
Weaver and Triponey have played on the same team since they were in fourth grade. By fifth grade, they were on a traveling team together, and they were two of Punxsy's leading scorers on the seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade squads.
"We're real close and kind of have that connection," Weaver said. "That definitely helps a lot."
Both Weaver (football) and Triponey (soccer) keep busy during the fall sports seasons, but once the winter arrived, they were back to the connection they have on the court.
"We have a feel for what we each like to do on the court," Triponey said. "We play pretty well together."
But Triponey is more than just a precision passer. He has a lethal jumper due to all of the work he puts into his shot outside of practice.
Triponey, who attends cyber school, usually finishes with class before 1 p.m., and that gives him extra time to take hundreds of shots a day at the First Church of God before varsity practice begins. Ever since he was in sixth grade, he has made at least 250 shots nearly every day, whether it be free throws, three-pointers or mid-range jump shots.
"I didn't have a lot of hobbies, so pretty much all I did was play basketball," Triponey said. "I had heard about all these famous basketball players taking a bunch of shots a day when I was a little kid, so I did that."
The scoring of Weaver and Triponey has helped the Chucks attain the No. 2 seed, but both understand that the team's success is more than just the points they pour in.
"There's a lot more than just scoring," Weaver said. "Everybody has to chip in and play defense, including me and Daniel. It has to be an all-around team effort."
The Chucks will have a leg-up in the scoring category thanks to the tandem, but the team's ability to advance to its first district championship game since 2006 will depend on more than just two players.
"Everybody has to step forward and contribute in some way â€” be it rebounding or defensive stops. Two guys ... aren't going to carry a team," Neal said. "You don't have to be a big scorer, but we just have to do all the little fundamentals, and everybody just has to step up."View more articles in: