Lady Chucks find win column through defense

MARION CENTER — It took seven games and a New Year for Punxsy to find the win column last year. The 2012-13 version of the Lady Chucks would not wait that long this season.

Punxsy used its stifling defense to build a large cushion advantage before working the clock for the 52-46 victory over West Shamokin in the Marion Center Tip-off Tournament Consolation game on Saturday morning. 

“Our defense is the reason we were able to win today and how we were able to be in the game last night,” pointed out Lady Chucks coach Randy Reitz.

On the day, Alyssa Reitz had the hot hand early and hit a team-high 14 points, all in the first half, to lead the Lady Chucks effort. Ashley Reitz made seven of her nine points in the second quarter to go with five assists.

Taylor Newcome and Jensen Constantino added eight points apiece.
Anna Horner contributed five points with Allie Fye finishing with four. Shaina Painter laid in one basket, while Emily Horner had a free throw and three assists. Nicole DiPietro dished out two assists of her own.

In the game’s opening minutes, Fye connected on the game’s first two points on a pair of free throws and Newcome added a jumper as Punxsy would never trail the entire 32 minutes.

With just over two minutes left in the first quarter, Alyssa Reitz heated up from the outside. She drilled a three-pointer, hit a jump just inside the arc and finished the quarter with a second triple to help Punxsy open a 19-10 advantage.

The hot shooting would continue for the Punxsy backcourt in the second frame. Ashley Reitz knocked down a baseline jumper to open the second 12 minutes.

Alyssa Reitz followed with her third and fourth three-pointers within 23 seconds of each other to extend the margin to 27-11 at 4:05. Ashley Reitz finished off the Punxsy second quarter scoring with her own trey and a second baseline shot for a 32-16 game with 2:10 in the first half.

“It helped our confidence tremendously when we shoot like we did in the first half,” commented coach Reitz. “Being a young team we need to get out in the lead to build some momentum.”

West Shamokin regained its composure to finish the final 120 seconds of the second strong. Kelly Clowser tried to get back the Lady Wolves all herself. After making a free throw, she rebounded her own miss and laid in the ball. Clowser stole the ensuing Punxsy possession and raced down court for another layup before Jill Glover downed a three-pointer for a 32-24 intermission score.

Punxsy came out with a solid third quarter. With the score 36-28, Constantino extended the margin for the Lady Chucks herself. In the matter of three minutes, the junior forward hit a jumper, laid in a put back and downed a right wing jumper along with a free throw for a 43-30 advantage at 1:07 in the stanza.

Trailing 46-31 after three quarters, West Shamokin’s 6-1 Glover opened the final eight minutes with a jumper. Anna Horner answered with a 12-foot shot for what would be the largest lead, 48-33, the rest of the game for Punxsy with 5:17 remaining.

The Lady Wolves’ Balon made a free throw to pull the margin within five points, 48-43, at 2:33. Constantino took an Ashley Reitz pass in the lane to make a big basket and three-possession game, 50-43, with 1:48 in the contest.

The Lady Chucks worked the clock and were able to take away the 52-46 win.

Glover led West Shamokin with 16 points, 10 points in the second half. Tristan Cribbs added 14 points.

“The big girl Glover hurt us a little inside with her size, and they did a nice job getting the ball into her,” added Reitz.

“I am pleased with how we played in this tournament. I am not satisfied, but it's something to build on.”

In the early morning junior varsity matchup between the two schools, Punxsy had no trouble with West Shamokin, 38-7.

The JV Lady Chucks raced to a 13-2 lead after a quarter. Leading 20-6 at half, Punxsy shut out its opponent, 10-0, in the third before the 38-7 final tally.

Hope Bridge paced the junior varsity with 14 points. Ivy Ferko and Emma White added eight points. Claire Smith chipped in seven points, and Morgan Doverspike had a free throw.