PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – Different classification, same result.
The Punxsutawney Lady Chucks’ basketball dynasty rolled on Friday night, beating Moniteau 60-37 for the Class 3A title, their seventh in a row and third in Class 3A (the first two in 3A came in 2015 and 2016 under the old four classification format).
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The recipe for District 9’s most dominant run in recent memory is quite simple, according to head coach Mike Carlson.
“I don’t want to make it seem too simple, but we’ve got some talented kids,” Carlson said. “When the streak started, there was a nice senior class, and then, you know we’ve just had really good guards. It’s been the guards really that have been keeping it going. There have been some talented kids and I’ve been lucky to coach them.”
Carlson’s unbeaten squad (18-0) puts five guards out on the floor, and any one of them on any given night can be the difference-maker.
On Friday, there were several.
After jumping out to a 9-point lead in the first quarter, Moniteau (14-10) went on an 8-0 run, spearheaded by Aslyn Pry, to cut the deficit to one, 21-20.
Punxsutawney followed with a 17-3 spurt that went into halftime and led by double digits the rest of the way.
The Lady Chucks made four 3s during the run, started by Danielle Griebel. Chloe Presloid hit a pair and Riley Presloid another.
“Part of it was I over-coached and thought I better switch defenses there in the second quarter,” Carlson said. “So then luckily that media timeout came for us at a pretty good time. We have the experience that we’ve been there and then I mean we just got on fire from the three-point line that really extended that zone at that point.”
Riley Presloid and Sarah Weaver, who finished with 17 and 15 points, respectively, are part of a senior class that went 4-for-4 in winning D9 titles.
They talked about the accomplishment afterward:
“It’s a really good accomplishment for all four years to get,” noted Presloid.
Pry, the KSAC MVP and 1,000-point scorer was brilliant in defeat.
The senior poured in a game-high 23 points and, as per usual, was a force on the boards.
“Our defense just tries to scramble around like crazy,” Carlson said. “Sometimes it’s not the prettiest thing, but the girls just hustle like crazy trying to help on Pry and still close out and make it tough for the other kids to get an open look and open drive.”
Pry scored 16 of her 23 points in the first half, while Weaver had 10 of her 15 in the second half for the Lady Chucks. Catherine Kelly added seven points for Moniteau.
“Our hard work pays off,” Weaver said. “You can see it throughout the year.”
Chloe Presloid finished with 12 points for Punxsy.
This is the fourth consecutive D9 title win by double-digits for the Lady Chucks, coming by an average of 21 points per game.
And it came in a truly unique year, with COVID-19 making empty gyms a norm. That’s why playing in front of some fans on Friday and at home made this one extra special.
“It’s just so weird to be playing at home, and just being a little bit later in March that this game is happening with the shutdown and everything,” Carlson said. “It just feels different. I can’t pinpoint it. I mean it’s just a different feel having some fans in here, having some away fans to get that little bit of give and take.”
With the win, Punxsy advances to take on District 5 champion Everett on Tuesday.
“It’s a quick turnaround,” Carlson said. “The kids will have tomorrow off and I will watch as many tapes as I can and get a plan together.”
Abby Rottman 0-0-2-0, Aslyn Pry 7-8-12-23, Zoey Hillwig 0-0-0-0, Catherine Kelly 3-0-0-7, Abbey Jewart 1-0-0-3, Davina Pry 0-0-0-0, Camryn Fallen 0-2-2-2, Victoria Pry 1-0-0-2, Autumn Stewart 0-0-0-0, Brynne Barger 0-0-0-0, Totals 12-10-16-37
Sarah Weaver 6-2-2-15, Riley Presloid 7-0-0-17, Chloe Presloid 4-2-2-12, Kierstin Riley 3-0-0-6, Katelyn Griebel 1-2-2-4, Madi Shiock 0-0-0-0, Danielle Griebel 2-1-2-6, Amy Poole 0-0-0-0, Maeve Hanley 0-0-0-0, Emily Dobbins 0-0-0-0, Emily McMahan 0-0-0-0, Riley Doverspike 0-0-0-0, Totals 23-7-8-60
Moniteau 12 11 10 4 – 37
Punxsutawney 21 17 8 14 – 60
Three-point FGs: Moniteau (3) – A. Pry, Kelley, Jewart; Punxsutawney (7) – R. Presloid 3, C. Presloid 2, Weaver, Griebel