She did it again: Magill wins it at the horn

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The buzz around the PAHS gym after Punxsy senior guard Alex Magill, the team's only senior, was recognized on her Senior Night before the girls' varsity game against A-C Valley was, "It's a shame Friday wasn't senior night."

That's because Magill hit a go-ahead three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Lady Chucks a three-point victory Friday over DuBois.

Monday night was no less fitting, though, as Magill pulled off the once-in-a-lifetime sort of feat twice in four days, draining a deep two as the clock ticked to zero to give Punxsy a 49-47 win over the Lady Falcons.

After the game, Punxsy head coach Randy Reitz said he was proud of his senior, but he wasn't too surprised that she displayed the clutch gene again.

"She's pretty cool and calm out there," he said. "And she is a senior. She's our leader, and she's done it all year. It's nice to see her knock down the jump shots, both Friday night and tonight. And more than that, it's nice to see the smiles on the girls' faces."

While it was Senior Night, Magill wasn't the only Punxsy star whose numbers shone bright. Sophomore Taylor Newcome also put up 20 points to lead the Lady Chucks in the scoring category.

"Taylor did a nice job for us on the offensive end tonight," Reitz said. "The kids found her, and she kept moving without the ball. She was able to knock some jump shots down for us, and the free throws at the end really helped us."

Unfortunately for Reitz and his young squad, the game probably shouldn't have come down to a buzzer-beater situation, as Punxsy jumped out to a 17-5 first-quarter lead.

Newcome started off the scoring with a deep three, and guard Emily Horner gave the Lady Chucks a 4-0 lead with a free throw.

A-C Valley answered back with the next three points, but the Lady Chucks ended the quarter on a 13-2 run that included threes by Newcome and Alyssa Reitz to give themselves some breathing room.

The Lady Falcons never stopped fighting, though, especially by outdoing the Lady Chucks on the boards, and chipped away in the second quarter to narrow Punxsy's lead to eight points, 24-16, at halftime.

Punxsy's only points in the second quarter came off a three by Magill, her first points of the evening en route to a total of 13, and baskets by Newcome and Jensen Constantino.

The third quarter was the most troubling for the Lady Chucks, as they allowed 16 points to the Lady Falcons — doubling their entire first-half total — with a late basket by Magill being the only thing stopping the game from entering the fourth quarter knotted up.

Magill scored six in the third quarter to keep Punxsy in the game, and Newcome took over on the offensive end in the fourth quarter, putting up 11 of her 20 in the final stanza, including a pair of free throws with less than a minute left that gave Punxsy what would prove to be a necessary cushion.

In addition to Magill and Newcome's clutch performances, Alyssa Reitz also knocked down a pair of three-pointers for her six points, both of which came at times when the Lady Falcons were pressuring the Lady Chucks' lead.

Despite the fact that his squad scored 49 points, coach Reitz recognized his team's struggles on the offensive end, with 17 of those points coming in the first quarter and just 17 in the next two quarters combined.

"We struggled against their zone tonight, and we didn't penetrate," he said. "We have to do a better job on the offensive end there."

Another area the Lady Chucks struggled was in the rebounding category, especially in allowing A-C Valley to earn multiple scoring opportunities with offensive rebounds.

"We got in foul trouble and didn't move our feet very well," coach Reitz said. "They beat us on the boards, and they're tall. But that's not an excuse. We have to learn to check out better and get them on our hip to rotate them. That's something we'll work on in practice as we get ready for Bradford, because they're a good rebounding team."

Reitz knows that Punxsy's next challenge — a league game against the Lady Owls Friday night in Punxsutawney — will be one that will put his young team to the test.

But he said practice this week will be business as usual: Working on the fundamentals.

"We just need to keep working on the things we know we have to do: Checking out, good defensive positioning and communication," he said.

The JV game started out a low-scoring contest but opened up in the second quarter, and the Lady Falcons went on to pick up a 30-26 victory over the Lady Chucks.

Punxsy's defense dominated the first quarter, allowing just two points. After Emily Reitz gave Punxsy a quick 2-0 lead, the Lady Chucks cruised to a 7-2 first quarter lead.

The A-C shooters warmed up in the second, and they narrowed the margin to as few as two points, but Punxsy still went into the half with a 17-13 lead after a pair of late buckets by Ivy Phillips and Anna Horner.

The Lady Falcons took the lead with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, though, and used suffocating defense of their own to hold Punxsy to just four points from that point forward.

Punxsy's only fourth-quarter points came on two pairs of Amber Ward free throws.

A-C Valley scored only three points in the final stanza, but Punxsy just couldn't score enough down the stretch when it needed to.

Ward's four free throws gave her a team-high total of eight points, and Phillips and Emily Reitz followed closely with six each.

Horner scored four, and Shaina Painter rounded up the scoring for Punxsy with two.

The JVs will tip off at 6 p.m. against Bradford Friday with the varsity game to follow.