Punxsy ninth-graders starting to make strides

PUNXSUTAWNEY — After three tough losses to start the season, the Chucks ninth-grade boys' basketball team picked up its first win of the season with a 31-17 victory over the Brookville Raiders Friday afternoon in Punxsutawney.

The Chucks jumped out to an early lead and were ahead 18-10 at halftime and never looked back, developing their lead even further in the third and fourth quarters.

Overall, Punxsy ninth-grade head coach Brandon Krug was pleased with his team's performance Friday.

"It was nice to see all our guys back and contributing to (Friday's) win," he said. "We have two more games before Christmas, and hopefully, we can pick up two more wins and get back to .500 heading into the break."

The ninth-graders opened their season Friday, Dec. 9, against North Catholic but were unable to overcome their long-distance foe in a 38-21 defeat.

Punxsy trailed by just three points, 15-12, at halftime, but North Catholic outscored the Chucks 23-9 in the second half to earn the win in the season-opener.

"We came out strong in the first quarter, but we quit running our set, and we got into trouble," Krug said.

Adam Ferko was Punxsy's leading scorer in the opener with seven points.

Krug said that after the Chucks eliminated their first-game jitters, his squad seemed more comfortable in its next contest.

That contest was a much closer game, but the DuBois Central Catholic Cardinals were just a bit too much, edging out Punxsy in a 32-31 win last Monday in Punxsutawney.

"The kids played hard, and we had a chance to win at the end," Krug said of his team's performance.

Ryan Sloniger was Punxsy's leading scorer with 11 points.

The Chucks fell to 0-3 with another close loss, 29-23, to the Rovers of Brockway last Wednesday.

Ruben Taylor was Punxsy's top-man with seven points.

Krug was especially pleased with his team's defense in the first three games.

"We have played great defense all year," he said. "We just need to get our offense going."