BROOKVILLE — For a team that didn’t score its first points until the 4:39 mark of the first quarter, Friday night’s 70-36 blowout win at home against Punxsutawney wasn’t exactly how it looked early on.
But the Raiders finished the first quarter strong with a 16-2 lead, limited the Chucks to single-digit scoring in the first half with a 36-9 advantage and halftime and wound up shooting 55.6 percent (25-for-45) from the field for the game.
It’s now 6-4 for the Raiders, who improved to 2-1 in the District 9 League. They’ll play their next four games on the road, starting next Wednesday at Bellefonte. Friday they travel to Bradford before games at DuBois and Punxsutawney next Monday and Wednesday.
Against the Chucks, there were certainly wobbly stretches throughout the game in a hot gym that led to Raiders head coach Dalton Park subbing frequently and then spreading his minutes out as his team pulled away from a struggling Chucks team that dropped 3-4 overall and 0-2 in the D9 League.
The Chucks scored first just over a minute into the game, but the Raiders finished the quarter with 16 straight points and outscored them 20-7 in the second quarter.
Park wasn’t thrilled about some stretches of the game, looking ahead to challenges awaiting.
“That spell in the first four minutes and then in the middle of the third that keep showing up is what’s hurting us,” Park said. “We can’t have games with those. We got away with it tonight, but when the game is tight and close, those kill you. Obviously we can score 70 points, so there’s no reason for us to go that long without scoring. I’m happy we won and proud of the kids, but there’s part of me worrying what the issue was the first four minutes. I’ll look at the film. Right now, I don’t have that answer.”
Aaron Park turned in a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, making 4 of 6 shots from the field and 12 of 15 from the foul line. Logan Byerly scored nine points and Jace Miner finished with six points, leading the Raiders’ defensive effort with four steals and eight deflections.
“I would’ve thought 14 points with Jace because he was all over the place defensively and was the spark for us to have our run,” Park said. “I guess as a team our pressure, hustle and defense was what was missing the first four minutes. I thought Jace played a great game and was all over the floor and there were some mistakes he made as well as the others, but it was his hard-nosed play is what starting turning things for us.”
Off the bench, sophomores Griffin Ruhlman scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting and Hunter Geer had 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Danny Lauer scored four points, pulled down five rebounds and dished out a team-high four assists.
“Some kids stepped in, got some minutes and we’re going to have to do that as the season goes on,” Park said. “So that’s the big positive out of it.”
Daren Byers and Andrew Young each scored nine points for the Chucks, who shot just 27 percent (14-for-52) from the field. It’s the second straight 30-point loss for the Chucks, who lost 65-32 to Clarion in the championship game of their holiday tournament.