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Punxsutawney Boys Win First D9 Title in 10 Years

CLARION, Pa. – They say championships are built in the summer.

And Punxsutawney would attest.

The Chucks won their first District 9 title in 10 years with a 60-52 win over Bradford in the D9 Class 4A title game Saturday afternoon at PennWest Clarion’s Tippin Gym, and according to senior point guard Noah Weaver, the seeds were sowed during the summer.

“We worked out throughout the summer,” Weaver said. “We had summer league coach (Randy) Reitz got us into.

Rewatch the game


The results were a turnaround from a seven-win season in Reitz’s, the veteran coach with stops with the Brookville boys and Punxsutawney girls, first season to the first D9 title since winning in Class 3A under the old four-class system in 2014.

And while the summer work was important, so was recent times, according to Weaver.

“I know our four seniors, five seniors, our chemistry really clicked there the last couple of games,” Weaver said. “We have been in rhythm. In practice, we grind and grind and come out and win ball games.”

Punxsutawney (14-10), which beat Bradford for the second time in three tries, built a 10-point lead going to the third quarter thanks to slight advantages – three, four, and four – in the first three quarters.


But Bradford (10-14), looking for its first championship since 2013, cut the deficit to two, 52-50, on a Jake Franz layup with just under a minute to play.

Punxsutawney, thought, which had struggled from the line early in the quarter going 3 of 6, hit its foul shots down the stretch to secure the victory.

“(I am) very, very, very proud,” Reitz said. “It took everything we had to beat a very good Bradford team. These kids, down the stretch, stepped up, played solid defense, and made foul shots. That wins ball games, as Noah said.”

Jimmie Neese played a key role in the title win scoring 16 points, many off offensive rebounds, helping the Chucks seemingly own the offensive glass.

“I worked hard underneath and tried to get around them, especially on foul shots,” Neese said. “I got lower and pushed them out of there. I had to grab everything I could.”

Watch the entire Punxsutawney postgame media conference

Weaver led the Chucks with 17 points while Noah Kengersky chipped in nine points and Beau Thompson eight.

Franz had 17 points for Bradford while Brendan Warner had 12 points, all in the second half. Talan Reese chipped in eight tallies.

Punxsutawney will face WPIAL fourth-place finisher, Avonworth on Friday, March 8, at Punxsutawney.


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