From start to finish: Tourney was a success

PUNXSUTAWNEY โ€” Another five-game schedule packed full of exciting action Thursday night concluded the girls' elementary basketball tournament at Punxsutawney Area High School in style.

Another defensive battle kicked off the final night of the tournament with the fourth- and fifth-grade Knicks defeating the Bulls 12-4.

Cassidy Reed and Grace Aikens led the way for the Knicks' offense with four points, and Mary Schwarz added two points in the winning cause.

Abby Gigliotti and Kylee Shoemaker each had two points for the Bulls.

In the second game, both defenses battled again in a slugfest, but the Celtics came out on top of the 76ers, 14-6, to finish the tournament undefeated.

Kate Horner was the only scorer for the Celtics with 14 points, and Horner added a number of steals and blocks on the defensive end.

Sophie Wyant had four points to lead the 76ers' scoring attack, and Robyn LeDonna added a basket for two points.

In the final game of the fourth- and fifth-grade tournament, the Lakers broke open the offensive floodgates and scored 20 points en route to a 20-3 victory over the Heat.

Kassidy Graham was the game's high-scorer with nine points, and Heather Stiles added five points for the Lakers.

Abbi Riskus, Jessica Lisa and Jordan Fetterman each pitched in with two points, as well, for the winning squad.

Ally Whitman and Rebecca Crawford were the Heat's scorers with two points and one point, respectively.

The sixth-grade's night tipped off with an offensive shootout, with each team exchanging baskets all game. The game was within two points in the last two minutes, but Penn State scored four points late and held off Pitt's late rally to win 22-16.

Penn State's balanced attack was led by Alyse Whitman, Kaitlyn Doverspike and Mackenzie Ferrent, who each scored six points. Elyse White was right behind them with four points.

Kylie Lingenfelter set the pace with 10 points for Pitt, but her effort wasn't quite enough to bring Pitt back for the victory.

Jordyn Powell, Kristen Lowmaster and Nikki Harper each notched two points for Pitt, as well.

In the tournament's final game โ€” a game typically known as an ACC matchup โ€” North Carolina battled Duke. The game was within two points at halftime, but NC pulled away late to earn an 18-6 win.

Mia Lingenfelter led the scoring for North Carolina with eight points.

Leah Miller and Maci Raybuck each scored four points, and Toya Jones added a pair to help lead their team to victory.

Kally Graham scored a basket and a pair of free throws for Duke to lead the scoring with four, and Olivia Weaver finished the scoring for Duke with two.

PAHS senior Johnna Depp helped organize and run the girls' tournament as her senior project, with Punxsy girls' basketball coach Randy Reitz serving as her mentor.

"I wanted to do some sort of basketball tournament," Depp said. "This tournament was already set up, so it was a good opportunity for me."

When asked what she learned from the process, Depp said she learned just how much organization and preparation goes into such a tournament, from organizing the Saturday practices for the girls to setting up the schedule.

For more pictures from this week's tournament, see Saturday's edition of the Spirit.