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7th-ranked Blue River Rolls Over Knightstown 53-32
February 7, 2007 - Knightstown’s basketball team continued its season-long struggle last Friday night against Blue River, suffering through an extended scoring lull that pretty much dictated the outcome of the game.
The Panthers went scoreless for more than eight minutes during a first half stretch and went on to lose to the Vikings 53-32. Blue River is 14-3 on the season and ranked 7th in the Class A polls.
In dropping to 1-16 for the season, the Panthers failed to score a point from the 2:12 mark of the first quarter until the clock read 2:02 remaining in the second period. During that stretch, the Vikings scored 20 unanswered points.
The problems for Knightstown remained the same. During the 20-0 Viking run, the Panthers turned the ball over eight times, and have 13 miscues in the first half.
Blue River also dominated the game on the boards, constantly crashing inside for easy put back lay-ups. They shot 60 percent from the field for the game.
Through the game’s first six minutes, the Panthers looked like a different team. Sophomore point guard Brice Biehl scored four points and the Panthers got field goals from Nate Hibbert and freshman Zach Apollos to make an early game of it. At the 2:12 mark of the opening quarter, a pair of free throws from Hibbert pulled the Panthers to within 12-10.
Then the Vikings blew the roof off of the Panther Den. Blue River’s Kreigh Cook, one of the top guards in this part of the state, scored on a trey and then forced a Knightstown turnover. He took the ball in on the fast break to give the Vikings a 17-10 lead after one period.
But Cook wasn’t done. He scored on another three pointer, and then hit a rebound basket that suddenly pushed the lead to 22-10 at the five-minute mark. Cook’s four-minute flurry included nine straight points, three steals and two rebounds.
Knightstown then turned the ball over on six consecutive possessions, enabling the Vikings to balloon the lead to 32-10 on a trey by Stephen Honn at the 3:15 mark. Nate Hibbert finally hit a jumper for the Panthers with 2:02 showing, ending a scoring drought that lasted 8:10 over two quarters.
Despite being down 25 points at halftime, 37-12, Knightstown’s players came out with some fire in the second half and actually out-scored the Vikings 20-16. Treys by Hibbert and Kelton Lane, four points from Biehl and another bucket by Hibbert enabled Knightstown to put up 12 points in the third quarter. They trailed 47-24 heading into the final frame, when they actually cut the Viking lead to 16 points by putting together a 19-10 run.
The Panthers opened the final quarter with a 7-0 run when Dakota James hit a pair of free throws and Hibbert followed that with a long trey. Hibbert came right back with an 18-footer, and the lead was 47-31 with four minutes to play. The run didn’t come against the Viking bench either – their starters remained on the floor for the entire game. Not one Blue River point came from a non-starter.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, they didn’t get another field goal over those final four minutes, unable to take advantage of the earlier scoring run. Hibbert knocked down one free throw with 3:27 to play, and the Panthers missed their final eight shots to close the game.
Hibbert finished with 17 points, nailing six of 11 field goals and two three-pointers.
Biehl, matched up against Cook most of the time, finished with eight points. Lane scored three, James and Apollos two apiece.
Knightstown has four games remaining on the schedule before play begins in the state tournament. The team hosts Greenfield-Central in a Thursday night game, with the junior varsity tipping off at 6 and the varsity at 7:30. The Cougars are 6-10 on the season, but have won two straight, defeating Eastern Hancock 61-53 and Delta 61-55.
Knightstown’s last home game this season will be February 16 against Waldron, 8-9 and winners of three of their last four games.
Cook 6 0 18, Sharrett 8 0 16, Hammond 3 3 9, Burke 2 0 5, Honn 2 0 5, C. Ray 0 0 0, K. Ray 0 0 0, Hall 0 0 0, Haines 0 0 0
Totals: 21-50, 3-5 53
N. Hibbert 6 3 17, Biehl 3 2 8, Lane 1 0 3, James 1 0 2, Apollos 1 0 2
Totals: 11-32, 7-11 32
Rebounds: Blue River 34, Knightstown 14.
Turnovers: Blue River 13, Knightstown 23
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