BRADFORD — A young Punxsy junior-varsity girls' basketball team that lacked depth finished the season with a 10-10 record last Friday following a 30-23 loss in Bradford.
The Lady Chucks started 5-8, but were able to win five of their next six games to clinch a 10-win season before closing the year with a defeat at the Lady Owls.
Punxsy played much of the season with just six players, including three sophomores and three freshmen. With freshman Taylor Newcome moving up to start for the varsity squad a few weeks into the season and freshman Lauren Giavedoni out for much of the year due to injury, the Lady Chucks were still able to stay competitive with a short bench.
Punxsy junior-varsity coach Mike Carlson, who led Punxsy's freshmen at the junior-high level when they were eighth-graders last year, still expected a quality season out of his girls, even in their youth.
"I knew they were good kids and knew they'd work hard," Carlson said. "Going into the year, I was expecting to have Taylor, too, so to finish so well without her was pretty good."
What helped was the emergence of sophomore Alison Jones, a transfer from Glendale High School who was one of the team's leading scorers.
"Alison Jones is new to the district," Carlson said. "I thought she stepped in and played well a number of times."
In addition, freshmen and twin sisters Ashley and Emily Reitz provided crucial minutes. Ashley played well enough to earn some varsity minutes, and Emily excelled after not even starting on the eighth-grade squad last season.
Freshman Emily Horner also improved her scoring as the year went on, managing about 10 points a game during the final few weeks.
During the loss to Bradford, the Lady Chucks led 10-3 before they were outscored 27-13 for the remainder of the game.
Jones led with seven points, Ashley Reitz scored six points, and both Emily Reitz and Horner tallied four points apiece.
With six seniors — including three starters — graduating and just two juniors on the team, Punxsy's sophomores and freshmen will be thrust into important roles next year.
"With that many kids leaving, these kids will be very, very young stepping into the varsity situation, but they can handle it," Carlson said.
Punxsy 33, Penn Cambria 17
PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsy turned a close game into a blowout thanks to a 12-0 final quarter during a 33-17 win over Penn Cambria last Tuesday.
Punxsy was ahead 21-17 entering the final frame.
Ashley Reitz scored a team-best 12 points, Emily Reitz had seven, Emily Horner scored six and Lauren Giavedoni followed with five points.
Punxsy 31, A-C Valley 29
FOXBURG — Punxsy outperformed A-C Valley during the first half, and that led to its 31-29 win Feb. 14 on the road.
Punxsy was ahead 25-15 by halftime before the Lady Falcons' 14-6 second half made things close at the end.
All seven of Punxsy's girls scored, including Emily Horner's team-best 11 points. Both Ashley Reitz and Alison Jones had six points, and Kelsie Russell led A-C Valley with 13.
DuBois 32, Punxsy 28
DUBOIS — Punxsy led for most of the game, but couldn't hold on late during a 32-28 loss to DuBois Feb. 11.
DuBois didn't score during the first quarter and trailed 16-11 at halftime. The Lady Beavers then scored 21 points to Punxsy's 12 during the second half.
Emily and Ashley Reitz scored eight points apiece for Punxsy. Both Lauren Giavedoni and Emily Horner tallied four points.