ST. MARYS — Entering Wednesday night's girls' basketball game between Punxsy and Elk County Catholic, something had to give with ECC a perfect 9-0 and Punxsy riding the wave of a three-game winning streak. In the end, the Lady Crusaders did what they had to do to preserve their perfect season with a 47-29 victory.
"We just didn't match their intensity playing on the road against a very good Elk County team," Punxsy head coach Randy Reitz said after the game.
From the start, Elk County jumped out to an early lead, and at the first break, Punxsy found itself in a 12-5 hole.
Punxsy's offense picked it up a bit in the second quarter, but the Lady Crusaders still bested Punxsy 11-8 to enter halftime with a 23-13 lead.
Coming out of halftime, the Lady Chucks made some solid adjustments and thwart- ed the Lady Crusaders' offensive attack, holding them to just six points in the third quarter.
But ECC's defense held firm to keep Punxsy to nine points and maintain a seven-point lead after three.
The fourth quarter saw Elk County back in control on both ends of the court, as the Lady Crusaders put up 18 points to Punxsy's seven to secure the win.
Reitz said a tough game against a difficult team can do a lot for teaching his team what it needs to do better in the future.
Reitz's team has played well, especially in 2012, and ECC's squad was a worthy opponent, and he said there were plenty of areas that stood out where the young Lady Chucks need to keep improving.
"We didn't do a very good job tonight taking care of the defensive boards," he said. "They got lots of second- chance opportunities, and they took advantage of those opportunities."
Reitz also said the Lady Crusaders guards' ability to penetrate gave his team some problems Wednesday.
"Their dribble penetration definitely hurt us, too," he said. "When we rotated to the ball, they found the open girl for an easy layup."
Punxsy's scoring was led by freshman Alyssa Reitz, who hit a pair of threes and a foul shot for seven points.
Ashley Reitz and Nicole DiPietro followed closely with six apiece.
ECC's Taylor DaCanal shone as the game's high-scorer with 24 points.
In JV action, ECC defeated Punxsy in a close defensive game, 29-22.
Punxsy's Shaina Painter led the scoring with 12.
Emily Reitz followed with six, and Ivy Phillips scored four for the Lady Chucks.
Punxsy isn't idle for long, as the Lady Chucks will play host to Hollidaysburg Friday evening with a 6 p.m. JV tip-off scheduled.