St. Marys powers past Lady Chucks on Senior Night

PUNXSUTAWNEY — St. Marys' full-court pressure affected the Punxsy girls' basketball team early, and the Lady Chucks couldn't overcome their early mistakes during a 63-48 loss on Senior Night Tuesday.

Punxsy trailed 20-6 after one quarter due to 10 turnovers and was behind 36-17 by halftime after seven more second-quarter turnovers. The Lady Chucks (4-14, 1-7 District IX League) outscored the Lady Dutch 31-27 during the second half, but their first-half deficit was too large.

"The pressure just seems to bother us early, and once we get used to it, then we seemed to be able to handle it and get some easy lay-ups that gets us going into our offense," Punxsy head coach Randy Reitz said. "Our kids just have to come out with confidence to start the game that they come out with in the second or third quarter against that press. Until we do that, teams are going to press us."

St. Marys senior Kayla Hoohuli surpassed her average of 30 points per game with a 37-point effort that included 24 points by halftime.

The senior nailed 9-of-17 shots during the first half, including 5-of-11 from three-point range.

"She's very good," Reitz said. "She hit four or five step-back threes, and there's no way to defend that. That's a credit to her."

Hoohuli received scoring help from her teammates, including nine points from Jenna Anderson, eight from Adair Gennocro, seven from Mandy Gerarge, and four from Rachel Walker.

"When you have to help off (Hoohuli), she's going to find the girl, and they're going to get some easy hoops," Reitz said.

Hoohuli, who is headed to Division I Canisius next year, scored 46 points during the Lady Dutch's 57-48 win over Punxsy Jan. 17.

Eight different Punxsy girls scored on Senior Night, including a team-high 11 points by Alex Magill off the bench.

Senior Shawnna Crago added 10 points, and senior Jenna Reitz had nine points.

Ashley Reitz scored six points, Johnna Depp tallied four points and Taylor Newcome managed two points — all off the bench.

Senior Kaitlyn Nestel had two points in her first start this season, and fellow senior Parris Kernich managed four points and a pair of blocks.

It was a loss, but Punxsy still received contributions from all five seniors, including Justine Kaza.

"These kids have worked hard. They're good kids, and they're just great ot have on the team," coach Reitz said. "We have a few more games left, which is nice to be able to coach these kids. I'm looking forward to the remainder of the season, and hopefully, we can get some more wins."

The Lady Chucks have two days off before visiting DuBois Friday night. The Lady Beavers beat Punxsy Jan. 28, 50-45.

St. Marys (17-1, 7-1) hosts Bradford Thursday.