Brookville battles back for win over Punxsy
BROOKVILLE — Although Punxsy jumped out to an early 13-0 lead Monday night against Brookville, the Raiders made some adjustments and battled back before sealing up the 54-52 victory.
Chucks head coach Dirk Neal decided to change up his defensive scheme at the beginning of the game, electing for a triangle and two set-up. The defense worked early, and the Chucks were able to capitalize.
"We worked on this little element of surprise, coming out in that triangle and two," Neal said. "I guess as a coach, what you hope is that it works, and it did work. We caused turnovers, we were where we needed to be — where we wanted to be."
But the Chucks could not hold onto that lead, and by the third quarter, Punxsy trailed by as many as seven. In the final stanza, the Chucks worked their way back into the game and had a chance to take the lead with less than 10 seconds left when the Raiders turned the ball over.
With three seconds left, though, senior Dan Triponey was stuck in the corner and forced to shoot. He hit the side of the board and gave the turnover right back.
Brookville's Tighe Truman then sealed up the victory with a foul shot, and the Raiders had combatted an earlier loss to the Chucks.
"Second time around, there are always some adjustments," Neal said. "You go back and watch those films, especially that Brookville-Punxsy game from the first time around, and they just did the same thing I did. (Brookville head coach) Bud (Baughman) and I both knew it was going to be close, and he got us."
The Raiders did a nice job shutting down Punxsy's leading-scorer, Triponey, who tallied 14 points Monday night.
"He's just been down on himself because now he's kind of hung out to dry sometimes, meaning he tries to create, and he hasn't been successful on a couple of the last games," Neal said of his senior. "Teams are putting their best defenders on him, sometimes double-teaming the basketball, and we're just trying to make adjustments to work through that."
The Chucks weren't the only team making adjustments, as Brookville knew it needed to make some changes after giving up 13 unanswered points to start the game.
The Raiders did just that and eventually took back the lead halfway through the second on a dunk by senior powerhouse Zane Hackett.
From there, the game was back and forth, but Brookville held onto its lead with a last-second basket by Jordan Young to head to halftime with a 27-26 lead.
"The biggest difference was the defensive intensity," Baughman said. "We just didn't come out with enough focus. You can't let any team, let alone a well-coached team and a team that shoots as well as Punxsy does, let them play that well."
The third quarter was the most impressive for the Raiders, who scored 12 points, held the Chucks to just six and increased their lead to seven.
"Again, I think it all stems from our defense," Baughman said. "When we can apply the pressure and make good decisions on defense, pinning them to one shot, which we did for several trips there, we have some better penetration offensively and some better looks."
The largest lead of the night for Brookville was nine points with less than three minutes remaining the game. It was then that the Chucks starting to battle back, beginning with a pair of free throws by Brandon Mancuso.
Mancuso had an impressive game for the Chucks, scoring 13 points, including three three-pointers, after missing the last game during to illness.
"He's a nice sophomore player," Neal said. "He wants the ball in his hands, and he's certainly not afraid to shoot it."
It was Alex Fedigan who brought the Chucks within three with 1:20 left, and Punxsy climbed within one after two successful shots from the line from Mancuso.
But the turnovers plagued both teams in the final seconds of the game, and the Raiders were the team to walk away with the victory.
"I think you have to give Punxsy a lot of credit coming back at the end, making good shots and extending the game until the final possession," Baughman said. "They had a chance to win it there at the end. Dirk always has his kids playing hard."
Although the varsity Chucks suffered a heartbreaker, the JV squad dominated the Raiders with a 40-16 victory.
The leading-scorer for the Chucks was Michael Klingensmith, who earned 12 points, including two three-pointers. Clayton Dale and Tyler Young each put up seven points to help Punxsy to a victory.