Lady Chucks’ first-half run gives cushion for win over Lady Dutch

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Any basketball double-digit run is good when it is your team scoring the points.

It was the Lady Chucks scoring the points in the final five minutes of the second quarter. Punxsy rattled off 13 straight and 14 of the final 15 points of the opening half and rode the cushion for a 41-35 victory over visiting St. Marys Tuesday in Punxsutawney.

“The bench came in and did a nice job for us. We were able to get a few turnovers and capitalize on the offensive end,” pointed out Punxsy head coach Randy Reitz.

Trailing 14-8 with the offense sputtering in the first 11 minutes of action, Punxsy slowly righted its attack behind Shaina Painter coming off the bench.

Taylor Newcome started the key run with a steal, was fouled and made the first free throw. Allie Fye grabbed the missed second shot before Painter downed the first two of her 12 points in the final 3:52 of the second period.

Following a top-of-the-key Painter jumper, Punxsy would convert six consecutive St. Marys turnovers into six more points.

On the first Lady Dutch miscue, Newcome laid the ball into the basket for the first Lady Chucks lead, 15-14, with 2:16 left in the first half.

It was Painter netting the rest of the Punxsy scores in the final two minutes. The sophomore’s two foul shot completed the 13-0 run. After one St. Marys free throw, Painter capped her scoring binge with a baseline bucket from Newcome for a 23-15 Punxsy halftime advantage — a cushion it rode the rest of the contest.

Painter did not add to her 12-point first half to finish with the same amount. She also pulled down two rebounds.

Forward Allie Fye was all over the floor again for the Lady Chucks. Despite netting only four points, Fye pulled down 13 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end. She added four steals, four assists and two blocks to her all-around, all-out effort.

“Allie did a good job on the boards. It is two games in a row where she has dominated on the boards,” noted Reitz. “We need her to continue to do that.”

Newcome added nine points of her own to go with six caroms, six assists and four steals.

Jensen Constantino totaled a quiet 11 points with five buckets. The second-year forward also had two boards and a steal.

Anna Horner made a driving layup and completed the three-point play for her points. Horner stole two passes and handed out an assist.

Ashley Reitz made one basket and stole one ball. Alyssa Reitz dished one assist.

The Punxsy defense held St. Marys’ 1,000-point scorer, Adair Gennocro, to only eight points after the senior pumped in 26 points in the teams' first meeting.

“The kids did a nice job guarding Gennocro and helping off the other St. Marys players. It was a key to contain her,” commented Reitz.

With the victory, Punxsy ties St. Marys with 11 victories on the season as both teams are now 11-8.

The District IX club with the most wins will earn the second seed in the playoffs behind Bradford, which already has 16.

The night started anything but smooth for the home club. The Lady Chucks were able to connect on only two of 11 shots from the floor in the opening frame and committed nine turnovers.

Constantino tied the contest at two with a straight-on jump shot 1:09 into the affair. More than two minutes later, Newcome found Fye for a layup before stealing the ensuing St. Marys possession and was fouled driving back to the basket. Newcome made the first foul shot for the second tie, 6-6.

The Lady Dutch scored the last two points of the first period while the Lady Chucks missed their final six tries from the floor for the 8-6 start to the night.

St. Marys’ DeAnna Yost was the visiting offense to begin the second quarter. Yost banked in a shot before adding a baseline jumper to push her team ahead, 12-6, in the first 1:22 of the period.

After Punxsy’s Ashley Reitz right corner make, Yost hit her third shot in a row from the right side for the largest St. Marys lead, 14-8, at 5:11 left in the first 16 minutes of action.

It would be the last field goal for the Lady Dutch of the half.

Punxsy went on to net the next 13 points and 15-1 spurt overall to jump in front, 23-15, at the half.

The Lady Chucks were able to keep the visiting squad at arms’ length the rest of the night.

Seeing the defense sag off her, Newcome buried a right elbow jumper 15 seconds in the third period for the first double-digit margin, 25-15.

St. Marys cut the deficit back to seven, 25-18, on a Kiana Ho’ohuli triple and one other occasion in the opening two minutes.

It was as close as the Lady Dutch could make the contest as the Lady Chucks took a 12-point advantage, 37-25, into the final frame.

For the second time in as many quarters, Newcome started the final period with a layup on a pass from Fye. Less than two minutes later, Constantino received an inside pass from Newcome for the largest difference of the night of 15 points, 41-26.

Punxsy would need the 15-point lead in the final five minutes.

The home club would not add another point the rest of the way. The Lady Chucks misfired on their final six attempts from the floor and committed seven turnovers in the same time period.

St. Marys, though, could not take full advantage of the sudden lack of home scoring. The Lady Dutch scored the final nine points but missed four shots in a row with another turnover in the final three minutes.

Gennocro laid the final two points into the basket with three seconds left, but it was not enough, as Punxsy claimed the 41-35 win.

“We have to get back to practice from here. We had a few too many turnovers, and we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” concluded the Lady Chucks coach.

In the night’s opening contest, Punxsy took away a 33-24 junior varsity victory over St. Marys.

Tied at four after a quarter, the JV Lady Chucks scored 14 of the 19 second-period points to double up the Lady Dutch, 18-9, at the intermission.

The two teams played even, 15-15, in the second half.

Emma White led Punxsy with 10 points, including all six home points in the fourth quarter.

Amber Ward chipped in six points. Hope Bridge contributed four tallies.

Morgan Doverspike netted three points, while Ivy Ferko and Claire Smith each had two.

Punxsy will travel to DuBois for a Thursday night affair, starting at 6 p.m. to complete this week’s docket.