Punxsy fires on all cylinders, wins big over Clearfield

CLEARFIELD — The Punxsy Chucks were firing on all cylinders in their big 69-31 win over the Clearfield Bison Friday night. By night's end, 10 different Punxsy players lit up the scoreboard.

"We challenged the kids before the game... I challenged each and every one of them. We've been getting some decent leadership out of some people and tonight, everybody stepped forward, and I couldn't ask for anything better. We had guys that averaged three or four rebounds a game coming up with close to double-doubles," said Dirk Neal, Punxsy varsity coach.

The Chucks scoring attack was led by Brandon Mancuso, who scored a game-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists.

The Chucks hit the glass hard all night, with Cory Geer notched a double-double with 11 boards (7 offensive) to complement a 15-point performance.

Tyler Young also gave the Clearfield defense trouble with 10 points and seven rebounds (four offensive).

Senior Devin Nicholson contributed to the winning effort with eight points and seven rebounds.

Garrett Zimmerman added seven points and four boards, while Will Curtis came off the bench to haul in five rebounds and score three points.

Zach Minich and John Matthews each added a bucket, while Michael Klingensmith and Andy Fedigan each hit a free throw to round out the Punxsy scoring.

"I thought our offense was distributed nicely... We were just stepping to the ball and wanting the basketball. A couple of games this year we have been lethargic and hoping the guards will find us, and tonight, the big men challenged them and came out and got the basketball," said Neal.

The Bison were led by Trey Jordan, who scored 17 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.

Clearfield only managed to keep the game close early in the first quarter. The Bison's Jonathan Janocko scored the first bucket of the contest to give Clearfield its only lead of the night.

The ensuing possession, Mancuso stayed patient until he was able to find Geer open under the hoop, who scored and drew the foul. Geer hit his free throw to give Punxsy a lead it would never lose.

The next Punxsy possession, Mancuso drove and dished to Nicholson this time, who made a quick pump fake, then scored.

The Chucks jumped to an early 10-3 lead before the Bison made a run.

Clearfields' Janocko scored to cut the Punxsy lead to five, then Jordan scored four unanswered to put his team within one of the tie at 10-9.

Punxsy quickly dashed any hopes from the Clearfield squad that it was going to be a close game. The Chucks fired back with a 7-0 run to end the first quarter that ended with a deep buzzer beater trey from Mancuso.

The Chucks opened with an 11-0 run to open the second quarter that erased any hopes of the Bison contending Friday night.

Punxsy controlled the rest of the contest and went on to claim a 69-31 win, improving its record to 8-2.

"We're pleased (at 8-2) but its one day at a time, and there's always something to improve on, and we'll be back to work tomorrow getting ready for Elk County," said Neal.

The junior varsity also bested Clearfield, 39-29.

The young Chucks were led by Matthews with 15 points. Ruben Taylor was next highest with 10 points, and Curtis notched four.

Ryan Sloniger, Matt Burkett, Logan Reed and Clayton Dale each added two points, while Klingensmith and Jared Burkett each hit a free throw.

Punxsy will return to District IX League action on Tuesday night in St. Marys against Elk County Catholic with a 6 p.m. tip.