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 Former Knightstown Hoops Star Wilfong Named to 2007 Silver Anniversary Team

April 18, 2007 - One of the greatest athletes ever to attend Knightstown High School is returning home for one more honor 25 years after she graduated.

Jennifer Wilfong, a three sport multi-talented athlete for the Lady Panthers, has been named to the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame Silver Anniversary Team. Wilfong, who graduated from KHS in 1982, had a brilliant high school and college career at KHS and Indiana University.

Wilfong and the other members of the Indiana High School Basketball Silver Anniversary Team will be honored at a ceremony at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. Friends and family are invited to attend.

She was a member of the only sectional and regional winning teams in KHS history, and led the state in scoring her senior season. The United Press International “Player of the Year” in Indiana her senior season, Wilfong has fond memories of her years in a Lady Panther uniform.

“My senior season was pretty exciting because everyone expected us to be good and we were,” Wilfong said. “I think my high point was when we beat Rushville. They were number two in the state and the gymnasium was packed.

“But my sophomore season was probably the most memorable because we went through so much that season,” she said. “Smitty (Coach Wanda Smith) died that season, and Becky Freeman coached us. We went to the Sweet 16 and the community just went nuts over the girls team that year. We won the sectional and regional and lost to North Central in the semi-state. North Central was the largest school in the state, and we should have won that game.

“The community support for girls basketball was just unbelievable.”

Basketball has been a big part of her life since early childhood, when she would match up against older brothers Grant and Brett in pickup games. They helped hone her basketball skills, and at the age of 11, she won the district Pass, Shoot and Dribble Contest in the boy’s division.

“They helped me probably more than they know today,” she said. “I had great support from my entire family, and coaches Freeman, Kathy (Withered) Cox, and Smitty, who died my sophomore year. Becky was also my volleyball coach and was a huge impact. We still stay in touch.”

When asked how old she was before she could beat her brothers on the basketball court, Wilfong laughed. “They’ll probably tell you I never could!”

Grant disagreed. “I’ll tell you what, you didn’t want to play her in a game of horse,” he said. “She would hit from anywhere on the court as often as she wanted to.”

Wilfong wasn’t just a shooter, either. She led her team in practically every offensive and defensive category, passing out a team-high 5.5 assists while scoring 27 points per game her senior season.

After establishing multiple KHS records during a four-year career, she went on to Indiana University on a full scholarship, playing for four years and helping the team to the NCAA Sweet 16 her sophomore season.

All off those years at Knightstown and IU Wilfong was also injury free, something she is quick to talk about today.

“I have never had a basketball injury and I played the game hard my entire life,” she said. “Then that all changed a couple of months ago.”

Playing in Sunday afternoon pickup games in the park near in home in Washington, Illinois, she was going up against other former college basketball players. During action on the court she fell hard and tried to catch herself, breaking both wrists.

“It was my first basketball injury and my first ever broken bone,” Wilfong said. “I broke my right wrist in three places, and my left wrist shattered – like if you took a tulip and blew the petals off. I’ve had surgery on both wrists, and just had six pins removed from the left.

“I’ve been through constant physical therapy and there’s a lot more ahead,” she said.

She’s looking forward to seeing old friends and welcoming Panther fans to the Silver Anniversary Team presentation.

“Anybody that wants to come, I would love to see them,” Wilfong said. “I’m very excited about this and I’m really anxious to see some people I haven’t seen in a long time.”

She also extends an invitation to an open house immediately following the Hall of Fame presentation at the home of Grant and Tracy Wilfong on Grant City Road, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

 

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