PUNXSUTAWNEY — The outside temperature was higher than the inside home shooting percentage to begin Friday night’s girls' basketball game.
Punxsy’s frigid shooting of four of 22 tries in the first half doomed the squad against defending District IX champion Bradford, 52-36, in Punxsutawney.
The two district foes combined to miss the game’s first 13 attempts from the floor but it was the Lady Chucks who did not score until 5:48 into the affair.
Leading 9-4 after a period, Bradford (13-1/4-0 D-IX) took advantage of the continued cold Punxsy shooting in the second stanza.
After a three-pointer by the Lady Chucks’ Alyssa Reitz to start the frame, the Lady Owls ran off a 10-0 run and would never lead by less than eight points the rest of the night for the win.
“We had some good looks but weren’t able to get anything to fall, which was the ball game,” confirmed Punxsy head coach Randy Reitz. “The kids didn’t quit and played hard, but we just couldn’t find the basket. You hate to see it happen against Bradford.”
Behind two triples, Alyssa Reitz finished as the home top scorer with 10 points. She added a pair of assists and a steal.
Taylor Newcome hit for seven points to go with three steals and two assists.
Shaina Painter chipped in three baskets for six points.
Allie Fye and Jensen Constantino both contributed four points.
Fye stole four balls and handed out an assist. Constantino dished a team-high four helpers with one steal.
Nicole DiPietro and Anna Horner rounded out the scoring with three and two points, respectively.
After the two teams combined to miss the first 13 shots from the field, Bradford’s Kaserra Owens, who finished with a game-best 26 points, laid in a ball, stole the inbounds pass and put in a second bucket for a 5-0 lead at 3:50 in the first period.
Following eight misfires in a row and three turnovers, Reitz took a cross court pass from Newcome on the right wing and drained the shot for Punxsy’s first points, 5-2, at 2:12.
Newcome dropped a baseline jumper with 47 seconds in the first frame but saw the home team down 9-4.
Reitz cut the margin to three, 9-7, on a triple 38 seconds into the second quarter.
The bucket would be Punxsy’s last for the next 5:38 of the game compliments of six turnovers and four misses in a row.
In the five-plus minutes, Bradford netted the next 10 points for a double-digit lead, 19-7, with 1:57 in the first half.
DiPietro added an inside layup but saw her Lady Chucks trail 22-9 at the
The second half was more in tune with how Punxsy had hoped to play the entire contest.
The Lady Chucks (8-6/3-1 D-IX) buried 12 of 27 tries and put a scare into the Lady Owls with a strong run.
Starting the third quarter, Constantino scored all of her four points on back-to-back trips down the floor.
The sophomore forward downed a top-of-the-key jumper and took a Fye pass and turned it into a sweeping hook shot to cut the deficit to 22-13 in under two minutes.
Bradford bounced back for eight of the third period’s next nine tallies to double up Punxsy, 30-14, at 3:51.
Punxsy edged out a 9-8 advantage in the final 3:50 of the period but trailed 38-23 at the end of the third.
The Lady Chucks were not done. The home club connected on its first four shots in the opening 1:46 of the final frame.
Reitz dropped a right-corner two-pointer, Constantino stole the ball and found Fye on the inside for two more points. Reitz swiped in the inbounds pass and quickly passed to a cutting Newcome to complete the 8-0 spurt to make the score 38-29 with 6:58 left.
Owens drove in for a Bradford layup but Reitz hit her second long-range shot to cut the margin to eight, 40-32, with 6:14 on the clock and regain the game’s momentum.
The momentum did not last, though.
The Lady Owls answered with their own eight-point run to make it 48-32, and would not be challenged again.
“In the second half, we played pretty even against a good team,” noted the Punxsy coach. “We made a run but it was a long way to come back. You can’t have a shooting night like that (versus Bradford).”
From the Reitz three-pointer, Punxsy went frigid once again. The home squad received only a Painter inside layup over the final eight shot attempts to fall by the 52-36 final.
The junior varsity contest was a hard-fought affair. Bradford enjoyed a small lead the entire game and held off Punxsy, 26-22.
The JV Lady Owls opened the game with an 8-2 lead, which would hold up the rest of the game.
The Lady Chucks won the second frame, 8-6, to make it 14-10 at half. The two squads each netted 12 second-half points.
Center Hope Bridge banked in seven baskets for 14 of Punxsy’s 22 points.
Emma White chipped in four points, while both Claire Smith and Amber Ward had a basket apiece.
Punxsy will return to action on Monday night on the road against Harmony starting at 6 p.m.