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Punxsy Girls Use 18-4 Run to Knock Off Central Valley in PIAA First Round

By Shane Lux

DUBOIS, Pa. – District 9 champion Punxsutawney used an 18-4 run to close out the third quarter on its way to a 46-40 victory over WPIAL fifth seed Central Valley in the opening round of the PIAA Class 4A girls’ basketball playoffs Friday night at Dubois High School.

The Lady Chucks trailed 20-18 early third quarter but exploded for 13 straight points to take a 31-20 lead.

Punxsutawney got six points each in the quarter from Leah Miller and Alli Lunger. Morgan Vanleer along with Kate Horner also scored during the 18-point run.

“We were waiting for that offensive spark, and we finally got it going,” Punxsutawney head coach Mike Carlson said. “We finally made an adjustment at halftime and went into a different offense, and the kids responded.”

The Lady Chucks (19-4) took a 36-24 lead into the fourth quarter as they shot 10 of 16 from the field in the third quarter.

“Patient there,” Carlson said. “Sometimes you think you have to get the shots off quick and so on. But we were patient enough waiting for the good ones and made them count. We just switched offense basically to keep four in and one out, make them decide if they’re going to collapse on our big. We will hit the outside shot if not then we can go inside.”

The Lady Chucks built their lead thanks to the play of Leah Miller, who recorded a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds including six points and five boards in the third quarter.

“She’s been very consistent all year, and really here down the stretch in our playoff run she’s been the same way, consistent,” Carlson said. We know we can count on her and so do her teammates”.

Central Valley (15-9), which was limited to just eight points each in the first three quarters outscored the Lady Chucks 16-10 in the fourth. The Lady Warriors were able to as close as four points at 42-38 in with four minutes remaining thanks to Madison Underwood who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and had a game-high 21.

Punxsutawney sealed the win on its following possessions after Underwood’s layup made it 42-38 as Miller and VanLeer went on to hit four consecutive free throws giving the Lady Chucks the victory.

The game was tied at eight at the end of the first quarter as Kylie Magnotta scored six of Central Valley’s eight. The Lady Warriors lead 16-15 at halftime with Magnotta scoring 13 in the half for Central Valley.

VanLeer and Horner each scored in double figures for the Lady Chucks with 10 points each.

Punxsutawney now faces its toughest test of the season as it faces Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, last year’s Class 1A champion in the four-classification system, in the second round Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.

“I’ve seen them once,” Carlson said. “But, hopefully, we get a whole bunch more tape on them now. I’m pretty confident I know what we’re up against. It’s going to be a tall task. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us. They’re a great team, but we’re going to do everything we can to make it competitive and maybe sneak one out.”


Score by Quarters

Central Valley 8 8 8 16 – 40
Punxsutawney 8 7 21 10 -46


Kylie Magnotta 5 4-6 13, Madison Underwood 7 6-7 21, Christiane Frye 2 1-5 5, Madison Hiltz 0 1-2 1, Lauren Kostosky 0 0-0, Harlee Johns 0 0-0. Totals 14 12-18 40.


Morgan VanLeer 3 3-4 10, Alli Lunger 4 1-5 9, Elyse White 1 0-0 3, Leah Miller 3 6-8 12, Kate Horner 4 0-0 10, Kaitlin Doverspike 0 2-2 2, Mia Lingenfelter 0 0-0, Kaitlyn Ray 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 12-19 46.

Central Valley 2 (Magnotta, Underwood). Punxsutawney 4 (VanLeer, Horner 2, White).

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