PUNXSUTAWNEY — Resilient and tough proved to be the mix Tuesday night for the Punxsy girls’ basketball team. The Lady Chucks were both but the talented Lady Panthers of Keystone had just enough to fend off the pesky home team, 55-47, in Punxsutawney.
“If we could have had a jumper fall there a couple times, then we could have had a chance,” commented Punxsy coach Randy Reitz. “Playing a very good basketball team like Keystone will make us a better basketball team.”
Trailing 41-30 with 3:21 in the third quarter, the Lady Chucks roared back. After a Taylor Newcome free throw, Punxsy stole the ball, and Nicole DiPietro dished to Emily Horner for a jumper. Keystone came up empty before Alyssa Reitz drained back-to-back triples to pull within two, 41-39, with 1:02 in the frame.
After a Lady Panther three-pointer by Morgan Johnson, Punxsy could do nothing more than exchange buckets for a 46-41 tally after three quarters.
Behind 51-46 midway through the final quarter, Punxsy missed four-straight shots, had a turnover and committed an offensive foul, while Keystone’s Johnson completed a three-point play, and Kennedy McClendon added a foul shot to push the difference back to nine points, 55-46, with 2:02 remaining.
The Lady Chucks’ Shaina Painter made one of two free throws, as the home team misfired two more times and turned the ball over once more for the eventual 55-47 final.
Newcome led the Punxsy scorers with 11 points, with three of the team's six treys.
Emily Horner also hit double digits with 10 points and handed out two assists.
Jensen Constantino chipped in seven points. Alyssa Reitz hit two triples for six points and added three assists with Painter adding six points.
DiPietro contributed three assists and two points. Anna Horner made two foul shots and Allie Fye had a bucket for two points apiece. Ashley Reitz had a point and two helpers.
Keystone came out of the game showing its prowess with scoring the game’s first eight points. Punxsy, on the other hand, came away empty on its first eight possessions with three turnovers.
After a Painter three-pointer and a Constantino foul shot for a 15-10 score, Keystone rattled off the final five points to lead 20-11 at the end of one quarter.
In the first quarter, the Lady Chucks committed 10 turnovers.
“We turned the ball over a little too much against a very good team,” added Reitz. “You will come out on the short end when you do that.”
The two squads played an even second quarter which was won by Keystone, 14-13, for a 34-24 halftime tally.
On defense, Punxsy forced Keystone into 17 turnovers and swiped at least nine balls.
“Defensively, our players played well, and offensively, we did some good things,” said the Lady Chucks coach. “We just need to cut down on turnovers, and we just didn’t check out well in the first half. Keystone has two or three shooters, and they knocked down their jump shots when we helped off them.”
Keystone was led by Courtney Greathouse’s 19 points including three from long-range. NCAA Division I-bound Johnson added 15 points of her own while making just one of nine at the charity stripe.
The junior varsity contest was a different story. Punxsy doubled up Keystone, 50-25, in the varsity prelude.
The JV Lady Chucks won the first quarter, 8-2, and never looked back. The home team proceeded to take the second, 13-5, for a 21-7 halftime score before a dominating 17-2 third frame.
“The girls played very hard and played with great intensity and effort,” said JV coach Steve White.
Hope Bridge knocked in six buckets and three of four free throws for 15 points.
Emma White was right behind with 13 points including seven of nine foul shots.
Amber Ward and Ivy Ferko chipped in nine points apiece. Courtney Huffman had one basket, while Morgan Doverspike and Claire Smith each added a single point.
The Route 36 Rivalry will be renewed next for the Lady Chucks. Punxsy will entertain Brookville starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday night.