Newsome, defense propel Lady Raiders past Punxsy

PUNXSUTAWNEY โ€” The Brookville girls' basketball team was playing its fifth game in seven days to start the season, but its intensity level โ€” especially on defense โ€” didn't suffer at all Thursday night in Punxsutawney.

Sophomore Lanae Newsome led with 23 points and six steals, and the Lady Raiders never trailed during a 49-35 road victory over the Lady Chucks.

Brookville head coach Mark Powell was ecstatic for his Lady Raiders (4-1, 1-0 District IX League), saying that his squad played one of its better games this season.

"It's been five games in seven days. When the fifth one is Punxsy, you just have to dig down and look in your gut and see what you have left," Powell said. "(Shot selection) was a key for us, especially in the second half with a lot of extra passes. We hadn't been doing that in the last couple games."

Punxsy had another rough start, which mirrored Monday's 17-2 first-quarter deficit against Altoona. Thursday, the Lady Chucks (0-4, 0-1) were behind 12-2 with 1 1/2-minutes remaining in the first frame.

"We didn't get off to the start that I wanted to," Punxsy head coach Randy Reitz said. "We're not a team that can come back from that type of a deficit."

Newsome was the star of the night, creating at least six of Punxsy's 24 turnovers and scoring on the other end at a rapid pace. She scored eight of Brookville's first 10 points and totaled 15 during the first half.

"Newsome has really improved," Reitz said. "She's very athletic, she knocked down some jump shots, and she created some tough match-ups for us tonight on both ends of the floor."

The sophomore also served as Brookville's primary ball-handler and helped the team be in position to knock down 46 percent of its shots.

"Lanae played a complete game. Not only steals, but she shot the ball well and distributed the basketball," Powell said. "We're really excited about what we can build on after this game."

Leading Punxsy was senior forward Shawnna Crago, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Crago was the only Punxsy player to score in double figures, as senior Jenna Reitz followed with seven points, and freshman Taylor Newcome scored six off the bench.

"Shawnna's going to create mismatches, no matter who we play," Reitz said. "We just have to get the second or third person going, because they're going to put the best guard defender on Jenna. We just have to get some other kids stepping up."

Junior Alex Magill scored four points in her first varsity start in replacement of Lindsey Paulina, who is no longer playing for the team. Parris Kernich and Johnna Depp added two points apiece.

The Lady Raiders keyed in on Crago all game, limiting her quality shots. One of those players to shut down Crago was Emily Ferraro, who scored 10 points and added nine rebounds.

"Emily and the rest of the team did a nice job focusing in on Shawnna," Powell said. "She's a nice player and a tough matchup."

Brookville's defense held the Lady Chucks to just 23 points during the first three quarters, including only five points in the first quarter and six in the third frame.

By the time the third quarter ended, the Lady Raiders held a comfortable 34-23 advantage.

"Brookville plays very good defense. They have in the years past, and coach Powell, I'm sure, stresses defense," Reitz said. "He has some quickness out there, and it's tough to get open."

Jenna Reitz's only three-pointer of the game trimmed the deficit to 41-31 with about six minutes remaining, but Ferraro's basket and free throw bumped the lead back up to 13 less than a minute later.

Both teams are off until next week, when Punxsy hosts Clearfield Monday, and Cameron County visits Brookville next Thursday.

Clearfield (0-1) is competing in its first season outside of the District IX League.

The Lady Bisons will play their second game this season tonight versus Central-Martinsburg, which handled the Lady Chucks a 42-27 loss last Saturday.