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Crunch Time Ahead for Varsity Panthers
This has been a really interesting sports year for KHS. We all know there are certainties in life. Death, taxes, stuff like that.
When it comes to high school sports on the Panther schedule, there are other things for certain. For example, when teams travel to North Decatur there will be a medical emergency and there won’t be any emergency medical personnel in sight. It happened at the football game and again at the basketball game, and we’ve talked about that before.
At Centerville, you know the football field will be more like a cow pasture, complete with giant divots and bare spots.
And then you get the semi-annual road trip for a basketball game at Morristown, where the most inept group of officials will be on hand to blindly miss every other call. They were once again true-to-form Saturday night.
The refs missed a lot of what happened on the floor, but there were occasions that were outright ridiculous. There were obvious forearms to the head, numerous inside fouls, pushing, elbowing, a few cheap shots here and there, and countless other violations.
The only good thing about that crew was they appeared to occasionally be just as bad for both teams. The problem is, that’s like saying you’ve got the worst spouse in the world, but at least your misery is sort of consistent.
I can’t say they were the worst crew I’ve ever seen, because I’ve seen hundreds. But they were bad, and they were one-sided.
Would you like a little proof? In the varsity and JV games combined, Morristown had 40 free throw attempts. Knightstown shot nine. The Yellow Jacket JV shot 21 free throws, and their varsity attempted 19. Knightstown’s JV shot six, the varsity three.
Coach Chad Ballenger got a technical because he stated the obvious, and Morristown Coach Scott McClelland teetered several times on drawing one in the first half. But he didn’t have a word to say to the officials after the midway point of the second quarter when a Yellow Jacket player delivered a cheap shot forearm to the head of a Panther. It happened with an official looking directly at the play from about seven feet away.
Two Morristown fans sitting behind me were embarrassed.
I call them as I see them, and that Morristown officiating crew was a trio of homers. But as another of life’s certainties, history tells us to expect that at Morristown.
Not all bad news
Quit calling me a wishful-thinking, eternal optimist, and hear me out on this one.
Any time your high school basketball team loses by 23 points, it’s easy to wonder if there’s any light at the end of the tunnel.
Despite another big setback, I still believe this team will see that light. Given the circumstances of Saturday night’s game, the Panthers played pretty good basketball. They didn’t do much right in the first half, and they were victimized by a number of bad calls. But they played the hosts to a standoff over the final two quarters.
The Yellow Jackets were no slouch opponent. Morristown has won its last four games by averaging 77.5 points per game, while allowing 53.2, nearly identical numbers to the 77-54 win over the Panthers. They did to Knightstown exactly what they’ve been doing to everyone else over the last three weeks, since the return of two top players who had been nursing injuries.
Knightstown outscored the Yellow Jackets 40-38 in the second half, putting together what was probably their most effective 16 minutes of the season. This game could have been much closer if the team hadn’t been consistently caught with their pants down on 16 fast-break baskets.
When looking at the rest of the Panther schedule, there is great potential for a couple of wins and some confidence heading into one of the weakest Sectional 41 fields in years.
Three straight games are at home, starting with Blue River, the best team on the Panther schedule this season. Then 4A (5-10) Greenfield-Central visits, and they are followed by a 7-8 Waldron team.
The Panthers close the season on the road at Hagerstown (3-8) and Rushville (7-9).
Assuming the team learns a valuable lesson in their test of courage against Blue River this weekend, they should be in pretty good shape for those last four games.
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