BROOKVILLE – Looking to knock off unbeaten Punxsutawney, the Brookville Lady Raiders basketball team couldn’t finish things off in the fourth quarter on Hoops for Hope Night in a 48-43 District 9 League loss.
The annual fund-raiser night for cancer awareness and a benefit for the Jefferson County Relay for Life/American Cancer Society probably tuned both teams up a bit, which led to a game filled with 48 personal fouls and 66 free throws.
Punxsutawney’s poor effort from the line — 14-for-29 overall, including 7-for-17 in the fourth quarter — nearly cost the Lady Chucks their first loss of the year, but they forced the Lady Raiders to a dismal 8-for-40 night shooting with 31 turnovers.
“I thought we let an opportunity get away tonight to beat them,” said Lady Raiders head coach Mark Powell, whose team fell to 12-5. “I thought we executed the game plan in the first and fourth quarters, which was take the ball to the basket. They’re extremely aggressive on defense and we wanted to use that to our advantage and we did. We got them in foul trouble and did a lot of things we wanted to.
“But in the middle two quarters we got away from that. We had too many turnovers. You can’t do that against a good team and it’s amazing it’s as close as it was. That’s a testament to how hard the kids played because with that many turnovers, you should lose by 20, and it was a game until the end.”
The Lady Raiders led 14-5 after the first quarter, but Punxsutawney outscored them 30-14 in the second and third quarters. It led 35-28 after three quarters and the Lady Chucks’ largest lead was eight twice in the fourth, including 41-33 with 3:03 remaining.
Two Morgan Johnson free throws got the Lady Raiders to within 43-41 with 33.3 seconds left and after the Lady Chucks went 1-for-2 from the line, Madison Johnson had a chance to cut it to one point, but misfired on both free throws and the Lady Chucks closed it out from there.
“It was a great effort, but there are no moral victories,” Powell said. “You either lose on the scoreboard or win and tonight we came up on the short end. But these are the type of games we want to be in and I hope this game propels us through the final five regular season games.
“It wasn’t aesthetically pretty to the eye today. I thought it was a great atmosphere, great cause tonight and I’m sure that led to extra emotions, nerves. It was the biggest crowd since opening day.”
Morgan Johnson hit all eight of her free throws in the fourth quarter — the Lady Raiders were 26-for-37 overall — and led Brookville with 14 points before fouling out late. Marcy Schindler turned in a double-double with 12 points and 17 rebounds.
Punxsy (18-0) got 13 points from Kate Horner. Sarah Weaver finished with 10 points.
Brookville visits Elk County Catholic Wednesday.