Unbeaten Chucks too much for Tigers
By John Hartsock
HOLLIDAYSBURG — Punxsutawney High School girls basketball coach Mike Carlson doesn’t have any trouble pinpointing the reason for his team’s 11-0 start this season.
“It’s 100 percent defense,” Carlson said Friday night. “We’re not very big, but we’ve got a lot of kids playing with hustle and heart on the defensive end.”
Punxsutawney hasn’t seen any opponent score as many as 40 points this season, and that trend continued Friday at the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School gymnasium, as the Lady Chucks converted defense into offense and manacled the host Lady Tigers, 45-33.
“Punxsutawney is a very good team,” said Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck, whose squad dropped to 8-4. “They came with a ton of energy tonight. There’s a reason why they’re 11-0 right now. They’re scrappy, they play hard, and they get on the floor for every loose ball.”
Hollidaysburg pulled to within 26-21 early in the third quarter on a 3-point play by junior guard Allison Hileman, who led the Lady Tigers with 13 points.
But Punxsutawney carried the play for the remainder of the third period and into the fourth, staging a 15-2 run to pull safely ahead, 41-23.
Junior Abby Gigliotti started the surge with a bank-in 3-pointer from the right side, and senior guard Kate Horner converted a bucket off a drive to give Punxsy a 31-21 advantage. After a jumper by Hollidaysburg sophomore Alyssa Bell made it 31-23, Punxsutawney scored the next 10 points.
Sophomore Katelyn Griebel’s field goal, a baseline jumper from junior Sophie Wyant, and a Horner layup following a steal from sophomore Ryley Casaday gave Punxsy a 37-23 lead after three quarters.
Punxsutawney added the first four points of the fourth quarter on a pair of Casaday free throws and a driving field goal by sophomore Sarah Weaver, who took game scoring honors with 14 points.
“Hollidaysburg just scraps the whole game — we knew that it was going to be a battle,” Carlson said. “Luckily, our girls played good defense, and they were able to settle in offensively in the second and third quarters.”
The big lead helped Punxsutawney gain some breathing room in the fourth quarter.
“We knew that they would really come after us in the fourth quarter,” Carlson said. “We needed every point that we got. It was nice to extend the lead.”
Gigliotti had 11 rebounds for Punxsutawney, while seniors Janessa Goins and Sierra McClain had five apiece for Hollidaysburg, which fashioned a slight 25-24 edge in overall rebounds.
After playing three games this week — a loss at Altoona Monday, a win at Williamsport Wednesday, and Friday’s game — Hollidaysburg doesn’t play a game again until Monday night, Jan. 21, when State College pays a visit to the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School gym.
The practice time for the Lady Tigers next week will be well-spent, Jubeck said.
“We’re in a good place,” Jubeck said. “Nothing is broken from a loss in January. We still have tomorrow. Next week gives us time to get into the gym and practice some of the things that we need to work on.”
PUNXSUTAWNEY (45): Horner 3 0-0 6, Gigliotti 2 2-3 7, Wyant 3 1-2 7, Weaver 7 0-1 14, Presloid 1 1-3 3, K. Griebel 1 2-2 4, Casaday 1 2-2 4, E. Griebel 0 0-0 0. Totals — 18 8-13 45.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (33): H. Snyder 0 0-0 0, Hileman 2 8-9 13, Goins 2 0-0 4, Bell 3 2-8 8, McClain 2 0-2 4, Smith 0 0-0 0, O’Neill 0 4-4 4, Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals — 9 14-23 33.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Punxsutawney 7 13 17 8 — 45
Hollidaysburg 6 7 10 10 — 33
3-point goals: Punxsutawney 1 (Gigliotti); Hollidaysburg 1 (Hileman).
Records: Punxsutawney (11-0); Hollidaysburg (8-4).
JV: Hollidaysburg, 27-23. High scorers–Kiersten Riley, P, 9; Marin Miller, H, 16.