9th-graders win close one; 8th-graders on losing end

DUBOIS — The Punxsy boys' ninth-grade basketball team earned its second win of the 2011-12 season in it's 2012 opener Tuesday afternoon at DuBois Central Catholic, 41-26.

Punxsy (2-5) jumped out to a 16-5 lead in the first quarter, and despite a strong second quarter by the Cardinals, the Chucks led at halftime and held on for the victory.

"This was by far the best game we have played all season, so far," Punxsy head cocah Brandon Krug said. "Our defense in the first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game."

Punxsy opened its season last month with a close loss to DCC, and Krug said that made this victory feel even better.

"We lost a close one to these guys at home earlier this season, so it was nice to put together a whole-team game," he said.

Brandon Blose was Punx-sy's leading scorer with 12 points, and Adam Ferko followed with seven points.

The Chucks ninth-grade squad will host Karns City today at 4:15 p.m., but the seventh- and eighth-grade teams won't make the trip for the Gremlins.

Punxsy's eighth-grade team also traveled to DCC Tuesday, losing 26-22 in a game that wasn't close until the fourth quarter.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the first quarter, and continued their torrid pace in the second with a 10-4 quarter to lead 20-7 at halftime.

"Missed shots and lackadaisical defense were the root cause of this loss," Punxsy head coach Glenn Good said. "In the first half, when we tried to full court press, they beat us down the court. That took us out of what we wanted to do. Even in DCC's offensive end of the court, we did not play good defensively."

Punxsy evened DCC in the third quarter and outscored the Cardinals 10-1 in the final frame, but the late surge wasn't quite enough.

"In the second half, we picked up our intensity level quite a bit starting early in the third," Good said. "When the fourth quarter started, we went to a full court man defense, and we finally got going. We were just too far behind to make the full comeback."

Good said the lack of scoring for the Chucks wasn't due to a lack of opportunities.

"We are still missing too many easy shots," he said. "We get good looks at the basket within five feet and cannot convert. We rebounded well offensively, but couldn't finish."

The eighth-grade squad is off the remainder of this week, but has its work cut out for it at practice as it prepares for a pair of tough games next week against Elk County Catholic (Tuesday) and Ridgway (Friday).

"Moving forward, we have two tough games ahead of us next week," Good said. "We simply need to pick up the intensity from the start of the game, and we will be fine."