PUNXSUTAWNEY – When your opponent cannot get a shot off and sees two defenders in their face at every turn, it is difficult to find the basket.
The Punxsy Lady Chucks used this exact type of smothering defense to force 32 DuBois Lady Beavers turnovers and allowed only seven buckets in a 35-20 victory Thursday night in Punxsutawney.
The Lady Chucks made it two-straight foes they have held to 22 points or less this week. The squad started the week with a 67-22 win at Harmony and notched its 10th victory of the year in 16 contests. The young Lady Chucks also improved to 4-1 in the District-IX League.
“The key was defense,” Punxsy coach Randy Reitz said pointing out the obvious factor. “Our traps, deflections and steals really played a key to holding DuBois to 20 points.”
The home defenders swiped 19 balls from the air including a team-best five steals from Allie Fye and four compliments of Taylor Newcome.
DuBois was held to seven of 26 shooting from the floor. The Lady Beavers (5-9/1-4 D-IX) did not made a bucket until 28 seconds left in the first period and 1:28 remaining in the third stanza.
Along with her five steals, Fye pulled in seven offensive rebounds, netted a co-team-high seven points, assisted on two Punxsy scores and blocked a shot in an all-around effort.
Newcome tied Fye by chipping in seven points of her own to go with her four steals and a pair of assists.
Jensen Constantino hit one two-pointer to go with four of six from the foul line for six points. The sophomore forward added two offensive boards, an assist and a steal.
Alyssa Reitz hit for seven points of her own. She had a team-high three helpers and a steal.
Shaina Painter contributed four points. Nicole DiPietro added two points and Ashley Reitz two free throws. DiPietro grabbed a trio of steals while Reitz had two.
DuBois received eight points from Samantha Kirk.
In a sluggish first quarter by both teams, Alyssa Reitz nailed a three-pointer at 5:26. The triple was the lone basket of the opening 7:19 of the game.
The first DuBois baskets came on back-to-back plays in the final 28 seconds of the first period. Dana LaBrasca laid the ball in before teammate Kirk stole the next Punxsy possession and turned it into her own basket. The second basket gave the first quarter to the Lady Beavers, 6-5.
In the first, the two clubs were two for 22 from the floor. Punxsy misfired on its final nine attempts, while DuBois committed 10 turnovers in the eight minutes.
“DuBois’ zone is pretty active. Their matchup 1-2-2 moved pretty well and gave us some trouble in the first quarter,” noted Reitz.
Painter stole the first Lady Beavers' possession of the second frame. Constantino would turn it into points on a pass from Fye for a 7-6 score 43 ticks into the quarter.
DuBois waited almost four minutes for its first basket of the second period. Cara LaBrasca put in a running jumper, and Kirk took a pass on a back cut for the visitors’ largest and final lead, 10-7.
The margin was erased when Fye powered up a layup and completed the conventional three-point play to tie the game at 10. The three-point play started a 10-0 Punxsy run to end the first half.
Newcome laid a ball into the hoop before Painter hit two jump shots for an eventual 17-11 home halftime lead.
The home scoring run would continue as the second half started.
Only 10 seconds into the third period, Fye took an Alyssa Reitz pass and turned it into two points. Following a DuBois five-second inbounds violation, the two Lady Chucks reversed roles to combine for a second bucket in the opening minute.
A Lady Beavers timeout did not help. Punxsy forced another turnover, and Fye turned it into points on a driving layup to extend the difference to 23-11.
Alyssa Reitz downed a jumper from Newcome at 5:15 in the third period. Newcome drove baseline two minutes later, received the harm of a foul and completed a three-point play for eight-straight points to start the third period.
The three-point play gave Punxsy its largest lead of the night at 17 points, 28-11 with 3:06 left.
“The start of the third, we made a little bit of an adjustment,” explained Reitz. “We were able to get the ball to the high post to get better looks. The eight straight points gave us some momentum.”
The Newcome bucket also completed an 18-0 Lady Chucks scoring binge spanning 8:06 of clock time between the latter second and majority of the third quarters.
DuBois was finally able to add to its scoreboard total with the final three tallies of the period but trailed 28-14.
The Lady Beavers made it eight of nine points in a row to cut the deficit to 10 points, 29-19, on a Katelyn LaBue layup with 6:08 remaining.
Punxsy would not let its rival get any closer. In fact, the Lady Chucks did not give up another basket on defense over the final six minutes of play.
In an unusual result, the home team did not record a made field goal the entire fourth period but still won the quarter, 7-6. The Lady Chucks made seven separate trips to the charity stripe, where they downed seven of 13 tries which was good enough for the 35-20 win.
In the first evening contest, the junior varsity Lady Chucks built a lead and took a comfortable 31-19 win of their own.
Ivy Ferko scored all eight of her points in the opening two periods to help Punxsy enjoy a 17-10 first half lead.
The JV Lady Chucks won the final two quarters, 14-9, for the 31-19 victory.
Emma White netted six of her eight points in the second half, while Amber Ward posted seven points.
Hope Bridge added six points. Claire Smith had the other two tallies.
Punxsy will be off until traveling up Route 36 for the second season meeting with Brookville on Tuesday night starting at 6 p.m.