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 Freshmen Roll to WRAC Tourney Title

February 7, 2007 - Knightstown’s freshman basketball team suffered through several cold shooting spells, but when the team really needed a basket, they put the ball in the hands of Levi Blair.

The 5-10 swingman responded by scoring 17 points as the Panthers defeated Lapel 30-23, to win the White River Athletic Conference tournament Saturday at Shenandoah.

Blair scored all eight of his team’s points in the second quarter when the Panthers advanced an 8-7 lead to 16-9 at the break.

That lead was increased to 18-9 when Drew Martin hit Blair with a great pass for an easy basket. But Knightstown went the last 4:40 of the third quarter without a point, and Lapel managed a couple of buckets to cut the margin to 18-13 after three quarters.

Knightstown had been enjoying dominance on the boards until Lucas Hochstedler picked up his third foul in the third frame, and Lapel then went on a 10-4 to cut the lead to 22-19 with just 2:30 to play in the game.

The Panthers had committed turnovers on four consecutive possessions, but played aggressive defense and forced three the other direction.

Then Blair made a nice drive and baseline jumper to push the lead back to five at 24-19. After a Bulldog basket, a series of events occurred that enabled the Panthers to put the game away. Pounding the offensive glass hard, the Panthers got three shots on the next trip, with Blair fouled on the last attempt.

He nailed the first free throw, but missed the second. Aaron Forshey slipped between the defenders and stole the rebound, dropping the ball in off the glass to push the lead to 27-21.

Seconds later, Martin hit Lucas Hochstedler with a slick pass, and his jumper iced the game at 29-23 with just 27 seconds showing on the clock.

Blair finished with a game-high 17 points, adding four rebounds and two steals in a great all-around performance. Martin also played a superb game, finishing with five points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Aaron Forshey had two points and six key rebounds. Anthony Forshey, who played sparingly due to back problems, scored two points, as did Lucas Hochstedler and Zach Sanders.

Nick Hochstedler didn’t score, but had four rebounds and two blocked shots. Bryce George had two steals, two assists and one rebound.

The WRAC tourney championship capped an outstanding season for the freshmen, who finished with an overall record of 14-5.

 

Knightstown held Eastern Hancock without a field goal in the second quarter, increasing a 5-4 lead to 17-8 by halftime, in cruising past the Royals 34-18 in the second round of the White River Athletic Conference Tournament last Saturday morning.

The win enabled the Panthers to advance to the tourney final against Lapel.

In the early going the game took on the appearance it would be close to the finish. Royal Steve Huber scored quickly, and Knightstown missed its first five shots before Levi Blair nailed a three-pointer at the 1:48 mark of the first quarter. That put the Panthers up 3-2, and they would never trail in the game.

But the Royals were going away without a fight. A bucket by Lucas Hochstedler was followed by one from Casey Goode, and the first quarter ended at 5-4. In the second quarter, consecutive driving lay-ups by Bryce George and Blair upped the lead to 12-6 before Cameron Neisler hit a pair of free throws for the Royals. Eastern’s problem was, those two freebies and another pair from Huber were all the points they would get in the third quarter.

Two quick baskets by Zach Sanders enabled the Panthers to take a 17-8 lead into the locker room at the halftime break.

The Royals were unable to regroup, and instead, Knightstown struck hard and quick in the third quarter. A half-court trap forced a Royal turnover, and Aaron Forshey scored on a fast-break lay-up.

Forshey quickly scored again when Blair fed him with a good pass, and Forshey then drilled a three-pointer, scoring seven consecutive points. By the time the dust settled from Forshey’s blitz, the Panthers had increased their lead to 24-8.

When Goode hit an 18-footer at the 3:10 mark of the third quarter, Eastern Hancock had brought an end to a nine-minute stretch in which they had gone without a field goal.

Steve Huber then got Royal fans on their feet when he drilled a trey to cut the lead to 24-13, but back-to-back buckets from Lucas Hochstedler and Drew Martin punched the lead back to 15 points heading into the final frame.

The Royals got the deficit down to 11 one more time, when Goode and Huber hit consecutive baskets and Knightstown missed three straight free throws, cutting the lead to 28-17 with 4:36 to play. But a rebound basket by Aaron Forshey, followed by a pair of free throws from Bryce George iced the game for the Panthers.

Aaron Forshey paced a balanced Panther attack with nine points, four rebounds and two steals. Brother Anthony Forshey sat out the game with an injured back.

Levi Blair scored nine points and had three assists, while Lucas Hochstedler had four points and five assists. Bryce George scored four points, had two rebounds and two assists, while Zach Sanders had five points and four rebounds.

Drew Martin scored two points, while Nick Hochstedler scored one point and had three rebounds. Steve Huber led the Royals and all scorers in the game 10 points. Casey Goode had six points, while Cameron Neisler added two.

 

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