Lady Chucks buy in to keep program successful

PUNXSUTAWNEY— The Lady Chucks seventh-and eighth-grade basketball team took to the floor again Tuesday against Curwensville.

As has been the story all year, the Lady Chucks won both games, as the seventh-grade team won 45-16, and the eighth-grade team won 34-5.

For one team to have a perfect record is impressive, but for both teams to have one, that just speaks volumes of the program and talent that Punxsy has.

"It's a combination of everything. You have the girls' work ethic, summertime putting time in, and you can see the results," seventh-grade head coach Darrin Kriebel said. "It's just the kids coming to practice, and wanting to get better. That's how it's been since I got here 14 years ago."

Eighth-grade head coach Mike Carlson backed up Kriebel's comments.

"It's definitely both. They start working at a young age, so sometimes in junior high we're more ahead than other schools," Carlson said. "They're a group that worked in the summer. We can work more on individual stuff so they can get ahead, because they play throughout the summer all the time together."

Punxsy has outscored its opponents by a wide margin all season, but it's the defensive side of the ball where the coaches want the girls to buy in.

"That's what our practice is. We tell them to get in the passing lane and play defense," Carlson said. "I think the most points that someone scored against us this year is 19 points. They definitely buy in."

While Carlson has his girls run more man-to-man defense, Kriebel switches his team up between zone and man.

"Defense wins championships, right?," Kriebel said. "They're hardworking kids. For seventh-grade kids, it's nice to see."

Yes, the zero in the loss column looks great for both teams, but is it more about winning for the coaches and the girls, or is better to get them prepared for the next level?

"It's about teaching them the fundamentals and having them get better," Kriebel said. "They're a very humble group. It doesn't matter who scores, and that's what I like to see."

Carlson said that the girls enjoy the winning, but the long-term goal is to help out the program.

"I want to teach them man-to-man defense, and run an offense that's more than quick-hitters. It's things they'll need at the next level," Carlson said. "To help the program in the future, I love to teach man-to-man because they run that through 12th grade. This team thinks about wins, absolutely. But there's the process that we have to think about the next level, even if it costs us a few games here or there."

Leading the way for the seventh-grade girls was Kate Horner with 14 points.

Megan Ray (7), Kassidy Graham (6), Ally Whitman (6), Cassidy Reed (4), Bailey Jones (3), Kylee Shoemaker (3) and Mya Phillips also scored.
For the eighth-grade team, Kaitlyn Doverspike and Kylee Lingenfelter led the way with eight points each.

Leah Miller had six points, while Elyse White had four.
Alyse Whitman, Toya Jones, Jordyn Powell and Jenny Lin finished with two points each to round up the scoring.