PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsy girls' elementary basketball program kicked off its 2011 schedule with a pair of home games against Elk County Catholic Tuesday night in Punxsutawney.
In the first game, the fourth- and fifth-grade contest, Punxsy took an early lead and never looked back, picking up a 28-13 win over Elk County Catholic.
Punxsy played "great defense and rebounded well, coupled with unselfish play, in which eight of the nine players on the roster scored," elementary basketball director Kurt Nestel said. "It was a total team defensive effort that limited ECC to very few shot opportunities."
Punxsy's leading scorer was Emily Griebel with eight points. Alli Whitman followed with six, and Megan Ray added four.
Five players — Taegan Ludwig, Katelyn Griebel, Cassie Reed, Bailey Jones and Kylee Shoemaker — added two points each to wrap up the scoring for Punxsy.
Jones and Shoemaker had eight rebounds to lead the way in that category, and Whitman and Ludwig added six apiece.
In the sixth-grade contest, Punxsy pulled out a 16-4 victory with some sound defense.
"The girls' defense forced ECC's girls to take most of their shots from outside the key where they found very limited success. That is a tribute to how far the girls have come as ball handlers since they started playing for me," Nestel said.
Though the game was close early, Punxsy pulled away and kept ECC off the board.
"In what proved to be a tense battle early, Kaitlyn Doverspike grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast to put us ahead for good," Nestel said.
Nestel also noticed the unselfishness of his girls at this level.
"They repeatedly made nice passes across the key for wide open looks," he said. "That led to high percentage shot attempts."
Punxsy's leading scorer was Kate Horner with five points, followed by Kylie Lingenfelter with four.
Doverspike added three, and Mia Lingenfelter had two.
Horner also led the way in the rebounding category, hauling in a total of 10, in addition to 10 steals.
Jordyn Powell had six boards for Punxsy.
Punxsy's next game will be another home contest against Johnsonburg Saturday.