BROOKVILLE — League play opened for the Lady Chucks Thursday night against Brookville, but the young squad struggled against a strong opponent and fell 63-45.
Despite losing in a rival game, Punxsy head coach Randy Reitz said there are some positives he saw in his team's play.
"They worked hard for 32 minutes, and each game, we are improving," Reitz said. "I thought this was the best game we played up to date, but we played a good basketball team tonight."
The Lady Chucks started the game well, holding strong with the Lady Raiders, and after the first quarter, Brookville led by only two.
But the Lady Raiders quickly jumped out in the second stanza, scoring six unanswered points and bringing the score to 23-15.
Nicole Dipietro broke the streak, scoring two points for the Chucks, but Brookville's Lanae Newsome quickly answered with a three-pointer.
The Lady Raiders' defense ended up being the highlight of the second quarter, as it held the Lady Chucks to just four points. Heading into halftime, Brookville led 27-19.
Punxsy quickly scored six unanswered points in the second half, but Brookville found its way again and continued to stretch its lead.
Foul shots also helped the Lady Raiders in the third quarter. Senior Emily Ferraro notched five from the line, and Newsome added one in the third quarter.
With just one quarter left, the Lady Raiders led 45-33.
And in the final eight minutes, Brookville continued to show its prowess.
The defense stayed strong for the Lady Raiders, giving up only 12 points, and securing the 63-45 victory.
According to Reitz, the second half was really the Lady Chucks' downfall.
"In the second half, Ferraro had (15) points," Reitz said. "That really showed our inexperience and showed our weaknesses."
But Reitz said he has seen continued improvement through the first three games of the season, and he feels the Lady Chucks will continue to do so.
"We just have to go back to practice and work on our weakness, which is inside because we're not that big," Reitz said. "We have to learn to double down. We have to learn to help on the backside, and with an inexperienced team, that will come."
Reitz said he knows that with the amount of effort the girls have shown so far, the improvements are not out of reach.
"We just have to find continuity as the year goes on and just keep working as hard as we can and learning to play with each other," he said. "If we do that, we'll have some fun this season."
The leading scorer for the Lady Chucks was Alex Magill with 12, followed closely by Lauren Giavedoni, who earned 10.
Taylor Newcome also had a strong showing, earning nine points with three three-pointers.
Being behind the arch seems to be a strong suit for the Lady Chucks; they scored seven three-pointers Thursday night on 21 tries.
Punxsy faired better in the junior varsity contest, earning a 29-20 win, the team's second of the season after a win prior to the consolation game of the Tip-Off Tournament.
Punxsy outscored the Lady Raiders in each quarter, with its strongest being the second when it outscored Brookville 8-4.
Brookville turned up the intensity in the fourth quarter, and scored a game-high seven points, but Punxsy scored 10 to maintain its lead.
Ivy Phillips led the scoring for the Lady Chucks with seven, including a three-pointer.
Four Punxsy players — Emily Reitz, Anna Horner, Shaina Painter and Amber Ward — tallied four points in the victory.
Freshmen Brooke Stello, Rachael Barnett, and Morgan McFarland wrapped up the Lady Chucks' scoring with two apiece.
Punxsy's next game is a rare Saturday game, as the Lady Chucks travel to Johnstown for a contest against the Bishop McCort Crushers girls' basketball team. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. for JV with varsity to follow.