BROOKVILLE — It’s certainly not how you start that matters. Just ask the Punxsutawney Lady Chucks basketball team.
On Hoops for Hopes Night at Brookville Tuesday night, the visiting Lady Chucks missed 25 of their first 28 shots from the field yet wound up turning in a solid 42-28 District 9 League win.
That’s what shooting 50 percent the rest of the way will do, along with a defense that helped lead to the Lady Raiders committing 31 turnovers and shooting just 21 percent (11-for-53) from the field.
Lady Chucks senior center Leah Miller was the lone player on either team to reach double figures in scoring with 13 points to go along with her typical board-cleaning 16 rebounds. She too was ice-cold from the floor, missing her first eight shots and finished 6-of-19 from the floor.
Brookville (10-4 overall, 2-3 D9 League), which had its five-game winning streak snapped, got seven points apiece from Morgan Johnson and Jillian Taylor. Marcy Schindler had five points and six rebounds. Lexis Hatzinikolas grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
Despite the early shooting woes for the Lady Chucks (9-5 overall, 4-0 D9 League), they trailed just 12-6 after the first quarter. Taylor’s jumper with 2:37 left in the second quarter gave Brookville its biggest lead of the game at 17-8, but the Lady Chucks closed the half with a 10-0 run and grabbed an 18-17 lead by intermission.
Brookville’s last lead came on a Hatzinikolas basket that put it up 21-20 with 4:38 left in the third quarter. The next Lady Raiders field goal came from Taylor when they cut Punxsutawney’s lead to 34-24 with 3:55 left in regulation.
Punxsutawney’s largest lead came at the end on Kate Horner’s 3-pointer in the waning seconds. She finished with eight points while Sarah Weaver and Riley Presloid each scored seven points.
NOTES: All proceeds from the cancer awareness event, run by the Jefferson County Relay for Life, benefits the American Cancer Society. Both teams play Thursday. Lady Raiders host St. Marys while Punxsutawney heads to DuBois in a showdown for sole possession of first place in the league. DuBois is 4-0 in league play. They also meet Feb. 8 in Punxsutawney. … Brookville won the junior varsity game, 42-35, to keep its unbeaten season alive. Lauren Hergert and Jenna Grant scored 20 and 12 points respectively. … After Thursday, the Lady Raiders are off until next Wednesday at home against Clarion.
In other games:
MONDAY, Jan. 24
Spreading the minutes out and resting up for a three games in four days stretch, the Brookville Lady Raiders basketball team routed visiting Curwensville in a non-league matchup.
The Lady Raiders led from start to finish and after a somewhat sluggish 11-6 first-quarter lead, they dominated the rest of the way, leading 36-11 by halftime and enacting the PIAA Mercy Rule running clock with a 63-23 lead with under two minutes to go.
No Lady Raider reached double figures in scoring. Kira Powell drilled three of her four 3-point shots and led the way with nine points. Twelve different players found the scoring column. Leah Kammerdeiner had eight points off the bench. Marcy Schindler and Lexis Hatzinikolas each grabbed seven rebounds.
“We were really hoping to get everyone a lot of minutes tonight just so we didn’t overextend ourselves in lieu of tomorrow’s big game,” Lady Raiders coach Mark Powell said. “Punxsy is coming here, it’s a special night with our Breast Cancer Awareness night and it’s a league game and if we have any aspirations of staying in the race, tomorrow night is a must-win.”
Curwensville, which fell to 1-11, dropped its ninth straight game. Madi Weber led the Lady Tide with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
It was a varsity-only night. Curwensville does not field a junior varsity team and dressed only seven girls for the game.
FRIDAY, Jan. 22
Trailing by two at halftime, the Lady Raiders held Brockway to 16 second half points, including six of them from the foul line, in a non-league road win.
The Lady Raiders went to the locker room down 23-21 at halftime.
“We had a long talk at halftime about moving our feet,” said Brookville coach Mark Powell. “We really did not do that in the first half. I thought Leah Lindemuth had a fantastic game tonight. We couldn’t stop her for stretches there. That did become frustrating.
“But I give the kids credit. I thought we hung in there. We started to take some of those things away late in the third and into the fourth. I’m real proud that we were able to fight through and get a tough win here tonight.”
“I thought it was a great basketball game,” said Brockway coach Dick Esposito. “We stuck with a AAA school the whole way through, losing by eight. I’m really proud of the kids. I thought they did great. Brookville has a great program and great numbers.
“(Powell) has 10 kids that he moves in and out. I don’t, and it showed in the fourth quarter more than anywhere. We were tired. They still had fresh legs coming out. Not an excuse, but he got scoring off his bench and it really helped them out a lot.”
Morgan Johnson and Marcy Schindler found double-figure scoring for the Lady Raiders. Johnson scored a career-high 18 points, nailing three 3-pointers along with grabbing four rebounds with five steals and two blocks.
Schindler had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds to go along with four blocks and three steals.
The Lady Raiders forced 27 turnovers, scoring 21 points off those giveaways compared to Brockway’s 10 points off Brookville’s 15 turnovers.
Kaitlyn Morelli had 17 points to lead Brockway, while Leah Lindemuth had 16.
Brookville re-took the lead on its first possession of the second half on a Kira Powell 3-pointer. However, the lead changed three more times in the third quarter before Johnson’s trey gave the Lady Raiders for good with 1:05 left.
Jillian Taylor and Johnson again had buckets to end the third, giving Brookville a 38-33 lead with a quarter to play.
With a four-point game with four minutes left, Schindler hit a putback before the Lady Raiders got the ball back and slowed down the game.
By the time Brockway got the fouls up into a 1-and-1 situation, there was under a minute left. Schindler hit a pair of free throws to get the game to 45-37.
On the other end of the court, Morelli hit a pair from the foul line with 44 seconds left to get the game back to six points, but Lauren Hergert and Schindler each had a foul shot to set the final.
“Defensively we played them very, very well most of the game,” said Esposito. “Our shooting went cold in the fourth quarter. We pressed a little too much on offense tonight.”
Brookville won the junior varsity game, 45-13, as Lauren Hergert led the way with 10 points. Mikayla Aikens and Jenna Grant each scored eight points.
Courier-Express Sports Writer Andy Stine contributed to this story.