8th-graders end season by winning five-of-six

BRADFORD — The Punxsy eighth-grade boys' basketball team rode into its season finale last Friday at Bradford on a five-game winning streak, but unfortunately for the Chucks, the Owls snapped the streak to end the season with a 43-34 victory in Bradford.

Punxsy played evenly with the Owls in the first quarter and actually led 10-9 at the first break. But Bradford won the next two quarters, 12-6 and 11-6, respectively, to set a lead the Chucks just couldn't overcome.

"We played hard the entire game," Punxsy head coach Glenn Good said. "We were down by 10 to 12 points in the third, but started a comeback in the fourth. We managed to get within six points, but then a few things happened against us, and Bradford got it back to 10 points."

John Matthews was Punxsy's leading scorer for the game with 13, including 6-for-7 from the foul line.

Nathan Ray and Peyton Graham were the next-best scorers with eight, including a pair of threes by Graham.

With the season concluding, Good had some parting words to show how proud he was of his club.

"I am proud of how this team played and practiced together," he said. We finished 11-8, but we were 6-2 down the stretch, and that shows me how we improved as a team over the season. As individuals, each player on the team built upon the skills they had coming into the season, and by the end of the season, they are now better basketball players. They understand that to be a better basketball player, they need to work on these skills. Hopefully, that dedication translates into working hard in all areas of their lives. I wish each player good luck in all they do and look forward to seeing them down the road."

Good's praise didn't stop with his players, though, as he also had a kind parting word for the players' biggest fans.

"I would also like to thank all the parents for their dedication to their sons in getting them to and from all the practices and games and for all their support throughout the season," he said.

In other eighth-grade action throughout the season:

Feb. 7: Punxsy 37, St. Marys 31

The Chucks held St. Marys to just two points in the fourth quarter after trailing by one point after the first three stanzas to start their five-game winning streak, Feb. 7 in Punxsutawney.

Dylan Huey led the scoring for the Chucks with 14 points, and Matthews followed as the team's next-highest scorer with nine.

Feb. 9: Punxsy 42, Ridgway 37

Punxsy's defense dominated, especially in the first half, holding the Elkers to just nine points, en route to a 42-37 victory in Punxsutawney to make it two in a row for the Chucks.

On top of good defense, the Chucks' offense put up a big number for the second consecutive game after being held to 19 the previous week at Elk County.

Matthews led the Chucks' potent offense with 18 points.

Braxton Giavedoni followed with nine points, and Huey was right behind with eight of his own.

Feb. 10: Punxsy 41, DuBois 39

After the DuBois Beavers jumped out to a 17-6 first-quarter lead, the Chucks battled back, and Graham hit a three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left to give the Chucks a 41-39 victory on the Beavers' home court.

Punxsy battled back to trail by just one at halftime after outscoring the Beavers 16-6 in the second quarter. But the Beavers owned the third, outdoing Punxsy 11-6 to take a 34-28 lead into the final quarter.

Punxsy outscored the Beavers 13-5 in the fourth, though, with Graham's buzzer-beating three sealing the deal.

Huey led Punxsy's attack with 15 points, and Matthews scored 10. Graham finished the game with six, both on threes.

Feb. 13: Punxsy 48, Brockway 29

Punxsy traveled to Brockway Feb. 13, and in a dominating performance, the Chucks came out 48-29 victors.

Giavedoni led Punxsy's scoring attack with an impressive 14 points, and Nathan Ray also found himself in double digits with 10.

Feb. 15: Punxsy 38, Clearfield 31

Punxsy made it five straight Feb. 15 with a well-earned 38-31 victory over the Bison of Clearfield in Punxsutawney.

"In a very spirited game, we jumped out to an early lead and maintained pressure on Clearfield the entire game," Good said. "They ran a half-court press most of the game, and we did a very good job executing our press break offense. We made a number of very good passes to find the open man, as highlighted by a great behind-the-back pass from Braxton Giavedoni to Dylan Huey late in the game that broke Clearfield's back, so to speak."

Huey led Punxsy's balanced attack against the Bison with 10 points, and Giavedoni and Graham nearly found double digits, as well, with nine apiece.