Chucks' 7th-grade picks up big win over B-way

PUNXSUTAWNEY โ€” The Chucks' seventh-grade basketball team put up an impressive 50 points, and the defense played almost equally as impressively Monday night at Brockway helping the Chucks cruise to a 50-21 victory over the Rovers.

"Everybody played a nice game tonight, breaking the press and on defense," Punxsy head coach Rodney Thompson said. "We were able to break their press with our 2-1-2 set and get the ball to the open man for some easy lay ups. We ran the offense well when we needed to, so we could run some time off the clock when we were in control of the game. All the guys who got in the game did a nice job defensively to keep Brockway from scoring very many points."

Making the 21-point mark the Chucks held the Rovers to even more impressive is the fact that they gave up 13 of those points in the first quarter.

Punxsy allowed just four points in the second and third quarters, and the Chucks shut Brockway out in the fourth to seal the win.

The offense was consistent, putting up double digits each stanza, with 14, 10, 13 and 13 in each respective quarter.

"We played our best offensive game of the year, and it was a result of us being able to break their press and being patient on offense until the open man came free to score," Thompson said."

Thompson said it was a full-team effort.

"Learning to win as a team is one of the biggest milestones any player in any sport can achieve," he said. "It is going out and playing your heart out, never scoring a point and being proud that our team came out victorious. Also, understanding that you do not win games by yourself without the help of your teammates."

Brady Snyder led the Chucks' diverse scoring attack with 11 points, and Ethan Riley followed closely with eight.

Lucas Ambler put up six points, and Nick Constant scored five for the Chucks.

A pair of Chucks โ€” Patrick Fedigan and Josh Godo โ€” came in with four apiece, and Caleb Smith, Jacob Horner, Joel Triponey, Tanner Zimmerman, Devin Kelly and Sam Gigliotti each scored two apiece to finish the scoring.

In other recent seventh-grade action:

Punxsy 32, Ridgway 29
The seventh-graders picked up a hard-fought 32-29 victory over the Ridgway Elkers Jan. 9 in Punxsutawney.

"It was nice to see the kids get this win tonight after losing to Ridgway in our last game by eight points," Thompson said. "We were able to slow their offense down by playing an aggressive 2-3 zone, which we have been working on in practice. We took them out of their game and made them play against something they weren't comfortable with. We showed a lot of composure and discipline, which allowed us to take control of the game in the fourth quarter."

Each quarter was a close one, with the largest margin coming in the second quarter, where the Chucks outscored the Elkers, 10-8.

Each of the other three quarters had a one-point margin.

Thompson said the difference was Punxsy's adjustments to the last game worked.

"We handled their press much better today than we did last time we met them, which kept them from getting easy hoops off steals," Thompson said. "We are running our offense and controlling the ball better, too, which is giving us better looks at the basket. It was a great job by these guys."

Punxsy had two scorers near 10 points, with Snyder bringing down the most points again with nine and Riley following closely with eight.
Weaver notched four points for the Chucks, and Ambler, Horner and Fedigan each pitched in with three.

Devin Kelly scored two points on a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining to secure the win and round out the Chucks' scoring.

DuBois 36, Punxsy 28
The DuBois Beavers jumped out to a 10-3 first-quarter lead over the Chucks, and despite battling back, Punxsy wasn't able to recover from the seven-point deficit in a 36-28 loss to the Beavers last Friday.

Thompson highlighted a plethora of reasons the Chucks performance wasn't up to par against the Beavers.

"Boxing out, rebounding and passing were not good for us tonight," he said. "Some guys would box out, but not everyone did, so they got too many easy shots off offensive rebounds.

"It is a team game, and if everyone does not do what they are supposed to, you lose games. You are only as good as your weakest player. To say the least, I was disappointed with the way we played, because I know we are better."

Another problem, Thompson said, was the busy schedule of late combined with the difficulty of the back-to-back opponents after last Thursday's game against Ridgway.

"I wish I could have done a better job getting them ready for this game, but we had back-to-back tough games, and we prepared more for Ridgway than DuBois. They had two very different playing styles. We prepared well enough for when their big men received the ball down low by getting guard help, but we did not keep them off the boards."

Punxsy outscored the Beavers in two of the quarters, 10-9 in the second and 9-6 in the fourth, but the rallies were too little, too late to earn the victory.

Thompson credited the Beavers' squad, though.

"To give DuBois credit, they have some big kids underneath, and their two big guys scored 24 points between them," he said. "They were not quicker or faster than us, just bigger, and we let them control the game on the offensive boards."

Constant led the way for Punxsy's offensive attack with 10 points.
"Nick played a solid game tonight and hit some key shots to keep us close," Thompson said. "The guys played hard and outplayed them in the fourth quarter, but bad passes and rebounding just killed us all night."
After Constant, Ambler and Zimmerman each scored four points for the Chucks.

Horner and Snyder each put up three for Punxsy, and Godo and Fedigan rounded out the scoring with two each.