Reitz's record-tying game carries Lady Chucks to first victory

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Senior guard Jenna Reitz tied the school record with seven three-pointers, and the Punxsy girls' basketball team notched its first victory of the season Monday night over Clearfield, 57-48.

Punxsy trailed 20-19 at halftime before scoring 38 second-half points and improving to 1-4 on the season.

"In the second half, they played really hard, and they executed a lot better on the offensive end," Punxsy head coach Randy Reitz said about his team. "They moved the ball, they got better looks, and when you get better looks, it's easier to shoot the ball."

Jenna Reitz — who scored a game-high 23 points Monday — tied her sister, Sam, with seven long balls in one game. Samantha accomplished the feat three times — twice as a sophomore in 2004-2005 and once as a senior in 2006-2007.

Along with the rest of the team, Reitz missed a number of three-pointers during the first half. But things changed in the second half, as the Lady Chucks drained seven treys during the final two quarters to counteract Clearfield's zone defense.

"They did a nice job finding Jenna tonight," coach Reitz said of Punxsy's passers. "In the second half, she did what I hoped she can do all season, and that's put the ball through the hoop. Hopefully, that'll help her confidence."

The game was far and away Punxsy's best of the season. The team's previous four games were all double digit defeats.

"All around, it was a team effort," coach Reitz said. "The people that came in off the bench did a nice job, also, so that's a very good team win."

Senior forward Shawnna Crago recorded another double-double, scoring 12 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

Senior Maddison Kernich nailed two three-pointers and had eight points, and both Alex Magill and Taylor Newcome scored six points. Magill connected on two three-pointers — Punxsy had 11 as a team — and Newcome, a freshman, started for the first time in her varsity career.

Dakota Farmery led Clearfield with 17 points, Breanna Peters added 11, and Rachel Thompson scored seven. Clearfield, playing outside of the District IX League this season, fell to 0-3 on the year.

The Lady Chucks led 7-3 with 4:38 left in the first quarter after Reitz hit her first three-pointer of the game, but they wouldn't score again until 3:55 remained in the second quarter. By then, Clearfield was ahead 16-7.

Though Punxsy couldn't get on the scoreboard for more than eight minutes, Reitz nailed back-to-back threes to cut the deficit to 16-13, and a basket by Kernich and a three by Magill during the final minute cut the deficit to 20-19 entering halftime.

The Lady Chucks were out of sync during the first half and settled for some rushed shots.

"We had a lot of shots in the first half, but Clearfield had a hand in our face because we weren't moving the ball as quickly and to the open areas as we did the second half," coach Reitz said. "That dropped our shooting percentage way down."

Clearfield was ahead for much of the third quarter, improving its lead to five at 32-27, but a 14-4 run by the Lady Chucks led to Punxsy taking a 41-36 advantage into the final frame.

The game remained tight for the first half of the fourth quarter, with the two squads knotted at 48 with 3:37 remaining.

That's when Punxsy started to find more success with its full-court pressure. The Lady Chucks — which forced 27 Clearfield turnovers in the game — didn't allow a point for the rest of the game, finishing on a 9-0 run.

Jenna Reitz had a game-high six steals, and both Magill and Crago had three steals. Punxsy had 18 takeaways as a team.

The Lady Chucks will have a chance at accomplishing their first winning steak of the season when they visit Harmony Thursday.

The junior-varsity game begins at 5 p.m., and it will be followed by the varsity game around 6:30 p.m.

"Hopefully, this will pick us up a little bit and get us going," Reitz said.