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 Panthers Avenge Earlier Loss, Dispose of Union County 60-52

January 2, 2008 - The first time the Knightstown Panthers played Union County on November 30, the team had a 45-33 lead with just over five minutes to play and lost the game 53-52. The Patriots used a 20-7 run to stun the young Panther team.

The second time around, Knightstown built a 19-point lead, saw it dwindle to just nine, but held on down the stretch to pick up the win. The Panthers disposed of the Patriots 60-52 in the opening round of the Franklin County Holiday Tournament last Thursday.

Coach John Howell’s Panthers took control of the game in the second quarter. After Union County had pulled to within one point at 15-14, the Panthers went on an 11-0 run to end the first half and lead by 12 points. The closest the Patriots would get the rest of the game was eight points and that came on a three-pointer just before the game ended.

Most of the second quarter was about as sloppy as the Panthers have played this season. Knightstown started out strong in this game, taking the ball inside to sophomore center Zach Apollos, who scored eight first quarter points. Brice Biehl added a trey and Jordan Bearhope canned a bucket as the Panthers jumped to a 15-6 lead after one period.

But Knightstown would miss its first 10 shots of the second quarter and go scoreless for nearly 6½ minutes. Union County took advantage of that, scoring eight unanswered points to cut the Knightstown lead to one at 15-14.

That’s when seniors Kelton Lane and Kyle Buckley took charge of the contest. Lane got things going with a nifty pass inside to Buckley to end the scoring drought with 1:35 to play in the half. The Panthers had gone nine minutes without a field goal dating back to Biehl’s trey at the 2:50 mark of the first quarter. With Zach Apollos riding the bench with two fouls, the Panthers needed someone else to step up inside and Buckley did just that.

Buckley blocked the next Patriot shot, and in transition Lane hit a fast break layup and was fouled. His free throw and three-point play suddenly upped the lead to 20-14. On the next Union County possession, Lane stole the ball again. As he drove inside he touched the ball in off the glass and was fouled hard after the shot. The basket counted and Lane was awarded two free throws on the intentional foul. He sank both and suddenly it was a 24-14 lead. Lane scored seven points and assisted on two more in just 45 seconds.

A pair of free throws by Buckley upped the lead to 26-14 at the half, completing the 11-0 run. Lane and Buckley accounted for all 11 points – the only markers KHS had in the quarter – and all of those points came in the just 1:37.

Union County could never recover from the onslaught. The Panthers had a balanced attack in the third quarter, outscoring the Patriots 18-14 in the frame and getting points from five different players. Zach Apollos ripped the nets on an 18-footer, and Biehl followed with another three-pointer. After a Union County bucket, Colton Kinnaman drove home another trey and the Panthers were in command at 34-17.

When Jordan Bearhope hit Zach Apollos with a great pass for two more points, the Panther lead had swelled to 19 points at 40-21 with 2:54 to play in the third quarter. That brought the Knightstown run over two quarters to 25-7.

A steal and layup by Anthony Hibbert kept the margin at 19 points, 42-23, before the Patriots made a mini-run at the end of the quarter to cut it to 44-28.

Momentarily, it looked like Knightstown might once again show its youth and lose yet another big lead. The Patriots scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 44-33, completing a 10-2 run.

But a clutch trey by Colton Kinnaman and a fielder and a pair of free throws from Zach Apollos pushed the Panther lead to 51-36 at the four minute mark. The Patriots went on another mini-run to pull to within eight points at 54-46 with 1:01 on the game clock.

Seth Apollos hit five free throws in the fourth quarter and Biehl added six more from the charity stripe to finally put the game away. The Panthers didn’t do themselves a lot of favors in the final frame, hitting just 10-of-18 free throws, but those were enough to secure the victory. A Biehl free throw upped the lead to 60-49 in the waning seconds before the Patriots got a last-second trey to trim the final margin to eight points.

Biehl scored eight of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, including six-of-11 from the charity stripe. The Panthers missed seven of their last nine free throws down the stretch or the margin would have been much greater.

Zach Apollos scored 14 points and had double figures in rebounds as well. Lane scored all nine of his points in the first half, including seven after that crucial stage in which the Panthers were missing 10 straight shots.

Kinnaman scored six points on a pair of second-half treys, while Seth Apollos scored all five of his points in the fourth quarter. Buckley finished with five points and an outstanding defensive game, while Hibbert added four points and Bearhope two.

The Panthers will host North Decatur (4-2) Friday night and Centerville (4-2) next Friday. Tip-off for both contests will be 6 p.m. for the junior varsity.

 

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