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Timing of Tip-Off Ticked Off Some Panther Fans
Sometimes, you just have to take a closer look.
Pony-tail wearing Seton Catholic head coach Lance Crow tends to raise a few eyebrows on appearance alone. I should know, because I’m a member of the hair club for men.
But just 29 seconds into the game against Knightstown in the Union County Holiday Tournament, the coach called for a time out. After completing a three-point play, his team had just taken a 3-2 lead against the Panthers.
With 7:31 showing on the first quarter clock, the coach called time out and waved his confused team to the sideline.
Panther fans were a little confused, too. So were the game officials.
Crow told his team to look up at the scoreboard. The Cardinals were leading in a tournament game for the first time. It was a minor victory for the first-year varsity program that had lost its first two tourney games by scores of 123-30 and 109-32.
But it wasn’t the first time the team had led in a game. The Cardinals have actually won two games, defeating Christian Prep Academy 44-18 and Temple Christian 55-23, winning those games by an average of 29 points. There’s some food for thought.
After that quick time out, the unthinkable happened in the Knightstown game. The Cardinals scored again, increasing their lead to 5-2 with 7:10 to play in that opening quarter. Crow turned to his assistant coach and wondered if he should call another time out.
Then, this 0-10 Knightstown team went on a 50-5 run, and it was 52-10 with three minutes left in the first half.
The Cardinals may win some more games this year. Their schedule includes several more contests against teams such as Lafayette First Assembly, Greenwood Christian and Baptist Academy. But I couldn’t help but wonder why they would field a varsity basketball team under the circumstances.
Honestly, it’s doubtful any of the players on the Cardinal roster would make the cut on Mel Matlock’s eighth grade team. Apparently, they also knew that, but you have to start somewhere and at some point. With three seniors not eligible to play junior varsity ball, they had to field a varsity team or none at all.
On Knightstown’s side of the court, the 72-point win should be a big confidence booster for this young team. They could have run up the score in a fashion similar to what the other teams did to Seton in the tournament, but Ballenger would have none of that, and rightly so.
And, by the way, the 72-point win is not a school record for victory margin. A free, four-day-old doughnut is awaiting the first person who can answer that trivia question. But don’t wait too long because the doughnut is looking a little dry.
Ticked-off at Tip-off
Traveling is part of playing high school basketball, so it came as no surprise that the Panthers and their fans would have to travel for the holiday tournament. Union County, which is right around the corner from, well, nothing, hosted this year’s event.
Knightstown was scheduled to play its first tourney game against Lincoln last Thursday at 2 p.m. Leaving town well before 1 p.m., I thought I had left myself plenty of time to get to the game before tip-off.
With my trusty sidekick and statistician Patrick Kramer, who can tell you exactly how many Cokes he had at the completion of every game, we arrived at the Union County Middle School gymnasium at 1:50 p.m. When we entered the gym at 1:55, less than two minutes remained in the second quarter of the Knightstown basketball game. According to officials, the previous game ended early, so they started the Panther game much earlier than the announced tip-off.
By the time we sat down in the bleachers, the first half was over.
Those of you who drove more than an hour and paid $6 apiece to watch two quarters of a basketball game, I’ll say this for you:
What idiot made that decision?
Moving to Class 2A
Once again the IHSAA has rearranged the classes for football, and once again, the Panthers will be moving back to Class 2A. Shenandoah will also make the move to 2A, meaning the fun of having Sectional 37 include the Panthers, Raiders, Tri High Titans and Eastern Hancock Royals is over.
Where Are They Now?
Knightstown three-sport star Mark Lawrence graduated in 1982, and is one of the few Panthers named all-state in more than one sport. He remains the Panthers’ all-time passing leader in football, accumulating 5,694 yards through the air.
Mark also starred on the basketball and baseball teams at KHS. He was named all-state in football, baseball, and to the honorable mention team in basketball. He was a four-year varsity starter in all three sports.
He went on to star at Hanover College as a basketball player, but also stood out as an outstanding player on the golf and tennis teams - two sports he didn’t even play in high school.
Mark is currently living in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and two children, Gabrielle, a sixth grader, and Grant, in the second grade. Grant is a star basketball player for the youth team his father coaches.
Mark is Vice President of MBA Insurance in Dublin, OH, and could be seen attending a few games last year to watch his nephew, Eric Freeman, quarterback the football Panthers to the state championship game.
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