CLEARFIELD â€” When two winless teams play each other, one will always come out with a victory, but Monday night, the Lady Chucks and the Clearfield Lady Bison, who were 0-4 and 0-1, respectively, entering the contest, played the type of game in which neither team deserved to be called the loser.
In a game that took two extra periods to complete, the Lady Bison eventually came out on top, 60-55, but not until after a back-and-forth contest brought excitement to the fans in attendance.
"The kids played really hard, and that's five ball games they've given great efforts, but their size hurt us a little bit inside," Punxsy head coach Randy Reitz said after the game. "We also had a few miscues down the stretch in the fourth quarter that allowed them back into the game. I know I keep saying it, but each game, we just have to learn from our mistakes and keep working on them in practice."
The game was the Lady Chucks' third consecutive on the road, and Punxsy fought back from an early deficit to lead the game from the middle of the second quarter until 6-foot-3 Clearfield junior returning-letterwinner Dakota Farmery tied the game at 46 with just 15 seconds remaining.
"Overall, we did a nice job on her," Reitz said. "Our bigs played really well, and our guards rotated down on her. We knew she'd get her points, and so we tried to apply good ball pressure on their guards to prevent them from working the ball up the court, and we did that. We came up with some steals and executed pretty well."
After Farmery's game-tying shot, a last-second Lady Chucks' shot was off the mark, and the game headed to overtime.
Punxsy jumped out to an early lead in the first minute of extra time with a three to put the Lady Chucks ahead 49-46, but a free throw by senior Kristen Butler and a pair by fellow senior Lisa Ambuski tied the game for the Lady Bison.
With one minute left in overtime, Punxsy's Jensen Constantino gave the Lady Chucks a two-point lead.
Breanna Peters brought Clearfield back within one, and Punxsy benefited from a free throw of its own to push the lead back to two.
Farmery came up big in the clutch again, though, for the Lady Bison to tie it at 52 and send the game into double overtime.
Farmery didn't waste any time making a difference in the second overtime with a quick field goal and a block at the other end.
Peters and Rachel Thompson scored the next two baskets to push the Lady Bison lead to six.
Punxsy's Alyssa Reitz answered back to give the Lady Chucks life and made the game a one-possession one with a three pointer with 1:17 left, but the Lady Chucks failed to score again, and Clearfield ended up with a 60-55 win.
One player in particular â€” Ally Fye â€” came up big off the bench for the Lady Chucks and had four field goals and was 4-for-7 at the line for 12 points, working a majority of the time against Farmery and the other bigs for Clearfield.
"She's feeling more comfortable at the varsity level," Reitz said of Fye's play. "So are the other sophomores and freshmen. They're starting to get more comfortable overall."
One area Reitz would have liked to see his team perform better was from the free throw line, where the Lady Chucks went a combined 6-for-14 from the line, including some missed free throws down the stretch that could have sealed the game.
"We have to do a better job with our free throws," Reitz said. "But these kids practice and play hard. Whether it's the bigs or the guards out front, they all play hard no matter who's in there. We're getting better. We have to maintain the positive attention, and the wins will start coming."
Taylor Newcome was Punxsy's second-highest scorer with 11, including three three-pointers.
Senior Alex Magill and freshman Nicole Dipietro each had eight for the Lady Chucks, Ashley Reitz added seven, and Jensen Constantino had three hard-earned baskets for six.
Alyssa Reitz wrapped up the Lady Chucks' scoring with a three in the overtime period.
Ashley Reitz also led the defensive effort that pressured the Lady Bison guards with five steals.
Next up for the Lady Chucks is a rematch with the Lady Stingers of Marion Center, but this time, Punxsy will be on its home court in the Holiday Tournament Dec. 28.
In junior varsity action, Punxsy improved its record to 3-1 with a strong defensive effort, holding the Lady Bison to five points in the first three quarters and 11 overall in a 34-11 victory.
The Lady Chucks scored 11 in the first and were on cruise control from that point forward.
Fye, Shaina Painter and Amber Ward led Punxsy's balanced scoring attack with eight points each.View more articles in: