PUNXSUTAWNEY — Juniors Logan Weaver and Daniel Triponey played like the best guard combo in the district, and the Chucks handled Bradford in a District IX Class AAA Semifinals preview Friday night, 61-42.
Weaver and Triponey combined for 48 points, as the Chucks evened the season series with Bradford by winning Friday. The two teams will meet Thursday in Punxsutawney in the rubber match for the first round of district playoffs with a trip to the title game on the line.
Punxsy head coach Dirk Neal was excited about the big win, but said that his team can't dwell on the victory for too long.
"This is definitely fantastic, but in the same breath, we (can) enjoy it for the weekend and then get right back to work," Neal said. "It's back to square one because we split during the season. We beat them tonight, but in the back of their mind ... they beat us once, too."
Weaver nailed five three-pointers and led the Chucks with 25 points and six rebounds. Twice, he converted on a four-point play, and his half-court three-pointer at the third-period buzzer pushed Punxsy ahead 47-28 entering the final quarter.
Triponey followed with 23 points, including 20 after three quarters. He constantly took the ball to the basket, scoring or being fouled on circus lay-ups. Triponey ended up 10-of-11 from the free-throw line and also hit three three-pointers.
"That's a big part of Daniel's game," Neal said about Triponey's ability to take it to the basket. "When he can get going early and make a couple and get that confidence, it just seems like the sky's the limit. He just keeps attacking the rim, and each one's different. Each take to the basket includes different finishes."
Weaver and Triponey were averaging more than 30 points per game combined entering Friday's contest before totaling their highest output as a duo this season.
"I'm sure you (would have to) look through many, many games across the state to find two guards that scored 48 points on the shooting that they did," Neal said. "We were getting touches from everybody else, and they just had great shooting nights — foul shots, taking it to the basket and jumpers."
Six other Chucks scored three points or less, including senior Joe Long, who put in a lay-up late in the game.
Dan Rinfrette led Bradford with 12 points.
Punxsy was in control early and often, leading 8-0 in the first quarter. Bradford didn't score until Forrest Works made two free throws with 2:21 left in the quarter and trailed 10-4 entering the second quarter. Triponey had five points in the first quarter and added 10 more during the second quarter. He was 7-of-7 from the free-throw line by halftime.
The Owls were still in the game at the break, as they trailed 28-19 by halftime.
Weaver nailed three three-pointers during the third quarter, as he upped his game total to 18 points with a 10-point quarter. Bradford couldn't keep pace during a 19-9 third quarter that went in the Chucks' favor.
Weaver's heave at the third-quarter buzzer from six feet behind the half-court line on the right side of the court barely needed the rim, as the Punxsy crowd jumped to its feet after the miraculous shot.
Punxsy scored 12 of the fourth quarter's first 19 points while taking its biggest lead of the game at 59-35. That's when both teams brought in their reserves.
Both teams will have nearly a week to prepare for the postseason, and Neal said it's all about taking things one game at a time.
"Both teams got a win, and now we just go to work. It's going to be a dogfight," he said. "They'll come ready to play. They never give up, just like us, and battle to the end."