PUNXSUTAWNEY — Leading for only the second time all night with 1:16 left in the game, Punxsy played stifling defense for the next 1:08 but it turned out to not be enough, as DuBois Central Catholic’s Aundrea Snyder took advantage of a late home defensive breakdown to drive the right baseline for a layup with approximately 7.6 seconds to regain the lead for her team, 34-33 Wednesday night in Punxsutawney.
“DCC set a screen, and we didn’t jump out and get to jump it, and the girl made a nice shot,” said Lady Chucks coach Randy Reitz.
Punxsy called an immediate timeout with 5.7 ticks left on the clock. Allie Fye threw the ball into Taylor Newcome, who called another timeout once she crossed halfcourt with 3.7 seconds to go.
On the inbounds pass, Fye fired the ball across the court to the right wing to Newcome, who took a dribble and lofted a jumper from just inside the three-point arc.
The potential game-winner fell short of the rim, and the offensive rebound was not put back up in time, allowing DCC to pull out the 34-33
“It was a physical game. We struggled all night on the offensive end,” noted Reitz. “They took us out of our offensive sets with the type of aggressive defense DCC played on us.”
The aggressive opponents’ defense, combined with Punxsy’s tough night from the field, kept the home team playing from behind most of the night. The Lady Chucks (3-3) finished the contest 13-of-52 from the field for a .250-shooting percentage.
“This is two nights in a row we have struggled with our shooting. We have to keep working in practice to get it straightened out,” said Reitz.
On the night, Jensen Constantino accounted for nearly half of the home team's point production. The sophomore forward poured in 14 points, including five of the Lady Chucks' 11 tallies in the fourth frame. She also stole four balls and handed out three assists.
Anna Horner, who had two key third quarter jumpers, hit for six points, and Newcome added five points and three steals.
Emily Horner chipped in four points on two layups, with Shaina Painter and Fye each contributing a bucket apiece.
Nicole DiPietro stole three balls from DCC, while Ashley Reitz ended with two assists and two steals. Alyssa Reitz had two assists.
Punxsy started the night making two of its first four shots from the floor, both coming on Contstantino layups for an early tie at 4 apiece.
But the Lady Cardinals edged out a 10-7 first frame lead.
The home team started slowly in the second 8 minutes. Punxsy misfired on its first four shots and turned the ball over on the other two possessions. DCC’s Gabby Ridenour hit a top-of-the-key triple to make it a 13-7 contest halfway through the second.
Trailing 15-10, Painter converted two foul shots after taking a pass off a Constantino steal at midcourt. After an ensuing DCC turnover, Anna Horner hit a right-wing jumper to pull Punxsy within a point at 2:36 in the second period. The two squads combined to miss the final six attempts from the floor with a turnover apiece for a 15-14 Lady Cardinals intermission score.
After an opening miss, DCC came out strong overall in the third quarter by connecting on three-straight shots to open a 21-11 advantage 1:24
into the frame.
Then, it would be the Lady Chucks' turn to turn the visitors' sudden cold shooting into a scoring run. Following two Constantino free throws, Emily Horner missed, pulled down her rebound and laid it back in to cut the difference to three at 21-18.
After a missed triple, Punxsy pulled in the offensive carom again, where Alyssa Reitz found Anna Horner for a baseline bucket. Just over a minute later, Anna Horner hit her second basket in a row off a Constantino dish at the right elbow for the first home lead, 22-21, with 1:42 left in the third.
“Anna came off the bench to make a couple nice jump shots for us,” added the Punxsy coach.
DCC broke the 8-0 Punxsy run less than 10 seconds later on a Maria French layup off an inbounds play. The Lady Cardinals added one more basket for a 25-22 lead at the end of three quarters.
The DCC margin grew to five points two times, 27-22 and 29-24, in the final stanza’s opening minute.
Punxsy showed its resiliency. Constantino swiped a ball, drove to the basket for the bucket, was fouled and completed the three-point play to cut the score to 29-27.
Ashley Reitz picked off the DCC pass the next time. Constantino found Fye on the inside for a turnaround layup off the glass to tie the game, 29-29, with 5:43 remaining.
With the same 29-29 score, Ridenour drove hard from the right side where she laid the ball in with the foul. She added the free throw for a 32-29 lead with 3:41 showing on the clock.
It was Constantino again 1:19 later, as Alyssa Reitz found her on the inside for a layup to make it 32-31. After each team had empty possessions, Newcome stepped into the passing lane for a steal and coast-to-coast layup. The basket was only the second Punxsy lead, 33-32, of the game with 1:18 on the clock.
Punxsy played hard defense without allowing a DCC shot from the floor before the visiting squad called a timeout with 31.8 seconds left. The DCC timeout set up the final sequence — and would be game-winning layup — 24 seconds later for the 34-33 win.
Kylee Schaffer, Snyder and Ridenour all totaled eight points for DCC. Brianna Clyde added six points and French had four.
In the junior varsity affair, Punxsy continued its winning ways.
The JV Lady Chucks rode the success of a 10-2 opening quarter to victory. Ivy Ferko and Amber Ward both netted four of the team’s 10 points in the frame.
Punxsy (5-0) continued to take the final three quarters by slim margins.
The JV home team won the second 8-6 for an 18-8 halftime score. The Lady Chucks won the second 14 minutes of action, 17-10, for the eventual 35-18 final score.
Emma White paced the JV squad with 12 points, including four in both the second and third periods.
Ferko added eight points, and Hope Bridge seven of her own.
Ward finished with the four first-quarter tallies, while both Morgan Doverspike and Courtney Huffman netted a basket apiece.
Punxsy will now have over a week off before hosting Marion Center in the opening night of the Carl Truance Holiday Tournament in a 6 p.m. tip-off on Thursday, Dec. 27.