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Bucktail defeats St. John Neumann in girls basketball

KEVIN RAUCH/Special to the Sun-Gazette Bucktail's Kayla Pobert gets fouled in the second quarter against St. John Neumann's Faith Reid as the Bucks picked up a 32-24 win over the Lady Golden Knights.

Bucktail wins over St. John Neumann Regional Academy aren’t typical in any sport, but particularly in basketball the Golden Knights basically enter every game they play against the Bucks has the favorite to win.

But, as they say, that’s why they play the game and last night the Bucks’ smothering defense — paced by 22 steals — allowed Bucktail to pick up the 32-24 upset, moving the Bucks to 4-10 while dropping the Golden Knights to 5-9.

Bucktail scored first and led the entire first half until Lily Reid scored with just 22 seconds left in the second quarter, giving Neumann a 15-14 halftime lead. After a dominant defensive performance to see their lead gone at the break could have been deflating to a team that has no senior leadership, but Bucktail was not about to fade away.

In just the first minute and a half of the third quarter, Bucktail’s Kayla Probert grabbed two loose balls, registered a steal and scored four points immediately giving her team the lead back at 18-15. Probert closed out the third quarter by standing about 25 feet away with six seconds left and driving through the lane to put in lay-up, moving the score to 22-15 at the end of the third in which Bucktail kept their opponents scoreless.

Probert was one of four Bucks with five or more steals as Mackenzie Wagner and Rayleigh Isaacs each swiped six steals, with Probert and Julie Green each adding five.

The already scrappy game turned into a foul fest in the fourth with Bucktail out-scoring Neumann 10-9, sealing the 32-24 win.

“We came out with the win tonight and that’s what we wanted to do” said Bucktail coach Carl Gentzyel. “The girls came out pumped tonight, they wanted to win, and last night’s loss really motivated them for tonight.”

Gentzyel explained that his team trailed Muncy by just one point at the half before stone-cold shooting led to his team’s demise in the second half.

“We did a nice job, before the game we worked on breaking the press and I thought we did a great job doing so in the game” Gentzyel said. “We got some good looks for shots, got the ball inside, moved the ball well. We’re starting to do the things that we need to do to compete with these other teams.”

Bucktail had actually 50 missed shots, but the general consensus in Farwell is that with such a young team as the fundamentals get better, more shots will fall and that should be a brighter future starting next year on a team that will presumably return every player.

The Bucks will make up games with Montgomery and Benton on Thursday and Friday, closing out their 2021 season.

BUCKTAIL (32)

Mackenzie Wagner 2 5-5 10; Kayla Probert 3 1-2 7; Julie Green 3 0-0 6; Lily Francis 1 1-1 3; Rayleigh Isaacs 1 2-4 4; Alexis Lowery 1 0-0 2. Totals 11 9-12 32.

NEUMANN (24)

Lily Reid 5 0-0 11; Sheiana Tutler 3 2-4 8; Giyannah Parlante 1 1-6 3; Faith Reid 1 0-2 2. Totals 10 3-12 24.

Bucktail 10 4 8 10 — 32

Neumann 7 8 0 9 — 24

3-point goals: Bucktail 1 (Wagner 1), Neumann 1 (Reid 1).

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