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Boys and Girls Teams Look Poised for Good Stretch Run
At the midway point of the season, the similarities of the Knightstown girls and boys basketball teams are almost striking.
The Panther boys completed the first half of the season with a 4-7 record. Easily they could have won at least four of those games they lost, so their record is deceiving. The boys lost in overtime at Wes-Del and at Union County on a last-second shot. They should have beaten Eastern Hancock, and dominated Guerin Catholic until a disastrous fourth quarter.
The girls completed the first half of their season with a 5-6 record. They played well in spurts, and in a rematch could easily have reversed two of those setbacks.
The Panther boys’ opposition through the first 11 games had a combined record of 46-45. The remaining 10 teams on the Knightstown boys schedule are a combined 30-45.
On the girls side, the Lady Panthers battled the first half of the season against a schedule with a combined record of 70-52. The second half of the season the opposite is true. Knightstown’s schedule is a combined 39-58.
The second half of the season is a perfect opportunity for both of the teams to continue to jell with extremely young lineups.
Coaches Dawn Basicker and John Howell have both done an outstanding job with the challenges they have faced. Basicker has just one senior on her roster in Diana Trautmann, and is constantly trying to get her girls to play into the team concept and use each other’s strengths.
Howell is constantly trying to get his boys to play their respective roles and feed off of each other’s strengths.
When the Lady Panthers are most effective, they are pushing the ball inside to the strength of their game, and then if the shot is not there, kicking the ball back out for the open trey.
Ditto the plan of the boys.
The boys will be facing a second half schedule that includes teams who won 16 fewer games than those they’ve already played. Four of those teams have won fewer than two games, and two are winless.
The girls’ schedule will include teams with 31 fewer wins. Three of those teams have won less than two games, and two are winless.
Both the boys and the girls get a good number of their points from underclassmen. That means the faster those kids grow up, the better both teams will be when the sectional rolls around.
It’s hard to imagine a more wide-open sectional field in Knightstown High School history for the boys. Just two teams in the Sectional 42 field of eight have a winning record at the midway point, and they include Centerville at 4-2 and Northeastern at 5-2. Both have already lost to a Sectional 42 opponent.
The girls have a rougher road in Sectional 42 because it includes 10-3 Cambridge City, 8-3 Hagerstown, and 7-5 Shenandoah. The girls have Lincoln and Shenandoah on the schedule yet this season, and lost to Hagerstown by 10 points in a game they could have won. The Lady Panthers have a 2-1 record against teams in that sectional field.
The Knightstown girls have already played a brutal schedule and save the game against Lincoln, should not play a better team the rest of the season. North Decatur, Shenandoah and Waldron are all 7-5, but are all teams the girls could beat if they are playing to their potential. The rest of the schedule is a combined 8-40.
The boys have some immediate tough games against North Decatur (6-4) and Centerville (4-2), and both games are at home. A pair of wins against those quality teams could send this team rolling in the second half of the season. After that, only Mt. Vernon (5-2) and Waldron (4-3) have a winning record, and four teams combine for a 4-25 record.
Howell has his team playing better, although certainly not as good as they can. The boys played two holiday tourney games against teams they had already met, and those games were a great measuring stick as to where this team stands.
On November 30 the Panther boys lost on a last-second shot at Union County, 53-52. Roughly four weeks later they beat the Patriots 60-52 and held a 19-point lead in the third quarter. Knightstown defeated Cambridge City Lincoln in overtime 60-54 on December 7, and three weeks later beat them 55-46, holding a 16-point lead in that game. Those rematches and the end results are evidence the team is getting better.
The fact that they lost double-digit leads in both games presents another problem. The boys also led Eastern Hancock, Wes-Del and the Patriots before losing earlier this season. That means they failed to hold on to leads in five of seven losses.
So what’s the second half of the season have in store for the boys and girls basketball teams at KHS? That probably depends on how much they listen to their coaches and how much growing up the younger players do in the coming weeks.
If both of those things happen, Panther fans of both programs are in for a pretty exciting stretch run this basketball season.
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