Offensive issues derail Punxsy during 43-25 loss

PUNXSUTAWNEY — A day after scoring eight second-half points, the Punxsy girls' basketball team scored just 10 during the final two quarters Thursday to drop both games of the Carl A. Truance Holiday Classic in Punxsutawney.

The Lady Chucks (2-6) trailed 28-20 after three quarters, but Hazleton was able to pull away with a 15-5 final quarter to earn a 43-25 victory in the tournament's consolation game.

Punxsy had trouble moving the ball up court — especially during the fourth quarter — due to the Lady Cougars' full-court pressure. Punxsy committed 26 turnovers, including seven during the final quarter.

"Their pressure bothered us. We just have to learn to handle the pressure," Punxsy head coach Randy Reitz said. " They're known for their full-court pressure for 32 minutes, and for the most part, we did a pretty nice job handling it. In the fourth quarter, they caused some turnovers, got a couple of lay-ups and built the lead back up."

While it was turning the ball over often, Punxsy's offense couldn't ever get into a flow. Freshman Taylor Newcome scored a team-high 10 points, with nine of her squad's 15 points coming during the first half.

Senior Shawnna Crago followed with eight points, including six during the second half. Crago, who was Punxsy's only All-Tournament team member, scored all five of the Lady Chucks' third quarter points.

Hazleton's Janelle Ziminski tallied a game-high 12 points, and for her efforts, she joined Crago on the All-Tournament team.

Punxsy senior Jenna Reitz was held scoreless, but she did have three blocks, and Parris Kernich had a team-best six rebounds.

Newcome scored six of Punxsy's eight first-quarter points, as the Lady Chucks trailed 14-8 after one.

Punxsy came within four points at 16-12 after Newcome's final field goal during the second quarter, but Hazleton led by six points or more for the rest of the contest.

It was a 28-21 game two minutes into the final quarter, but an 11-0 Hazleton run ended Punxsy's comeback hopes.

About one-third of the way through the season, coach Reitz said that turnovers and other miscues of that kind are holding the team back so far.

"They're working hard. They are improving, but we just have two or three breakdowns here and there, and this team can't do that," he said. "We have played some pretty tough competition, and they don't quit, so we're looking forward to getting back to playing some league games."

The 2011 portion of Punxsy's schedule begins with a trip to DuBois Central Catholic Monday before District IX League play resumes with a road game Thursday, Jan. 6, versus Brookville.

"We're playing better. We just have to eliminate the mistakes," Reitz said. "Hopefully, at the start of the new year against DuBois Central, we can go up there and come away with a win."

Marion Center 58, Westmont Hilltop 43

Marion Center's Nicole Miloser, Amy Fairman and Olivia Rupp, and Westmont Hilltop's Alyssa Yewcic and Gina Rievel were named All-Tournament after Marion Center won 58-43 in the girls' championship game.

Miloser was selected as the MVP, and Fairman won the Don Bishop "Extra Effort" award.