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 Lions Maul Panthers in Season Finale, 71-40

February 28, 2007 - Knightstown’s shooting woes continued last Friday night at Rushville, where the Panthers hit just 23 percent of their shots in losing their 20th game of the season, 71-40.

While the Panthers were hitting on just 13-of-57 field goals, Rushville senior Jacob Laird was putting on a shooting clinic. He nailed four three-pointers and scored 16 of his 28 points in the first quarter, when the Lions opened up a 21-8 lead with a 15-3 run.

After hitting just 3-of-16 fielders in the opening eight minutes, the Panthers connected on just 3-of-14 in the second quarter. Rushville extended its lead to 39-20 at the half, and scored what would eventually be the game-winning points just ten seconds into the third quarter.

The Lions jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead when Laird nailed back-to-back treys in a span of one minute. Nathan Hibbert responded with a trey, and Zach Apollos drove inside for two that pulled the Panthers within one at 6-5.

But Laird personally slammed the door on Knightstown, drilling a trey and following that with a nice drive and subsequent old-fashioned three-point play. A minute later 6-4 senior Dakota James picked up his third foul – the sixth on Knightstown – and with 2:30 left in the opening quarter he took a seat on the bench.

Rushville upped the lead to 17-5 on another bucket by Laird. Less than six minutes into the game the Panthers had turned the ball over five times, committed six fouls (Rushville had none) and was 2-10 from the field.

Apollos opened the second quarter with a bucket on a nice feed from Hibbert, cutting the Lion lead to 21-12. But that was the last time the deficit would be fewer than double digits, as Rushville went on an 18-8 run the rest of the half and led 39-20 at the break.

Knightstown’s best quarter of the night was the third, when they put up 13 points. Apollos asserted himself in that period, scoring eight points. Buckets from Kelton Lane and Bryce Cole were followed by a pair of free throws from Apollos. That marked the last time the Lion lead was less than 20, at 50-31.

The Lions then went on a 16-2 run to increase their margin to 66-33 with 4:19 to play. James ended a six minute scoring drought that included six air balls, with a three-point play at the 3:40 mark. It was the first field goal since Cole hit with just under two minutes to play in the third quarter.

Throughout the season Knightstown has struggled with scoreless stretched in games that lasted several minutes. In this game, the Panthers had three scoring droughts that lasted more than four minutes.

Apollos led Knightstown with 14 points, getting those on six field goals and an uncharacteristic 2-of-6 from the foul line. He was the only Panther in double figures. Bryce Cole scored seven points, Nate Hibbert and Colby Lane had five apiece. Brice Biehl scored four, Dakota James had three and Kyle Buckley scored two.

The loss was the 10th straight – the second time this season the Panthers have endured a losing streak that long. Now 1-20, they will battle Shenandoah in the second night of Sectional 41 action at Alexandria.

The Raiders are 17-3 on the season, have won 11 straight games, and are ranked 7th in the Class 2A polls. The Raiders defeated Knightstown earlier this season 68-50.


Apollos 6 2-6 14, Cole 2 3-5 7, N. Hibbert 1 2-4 5, Lane 1 3-4 5, Biehl 2 0-0 4, James 1 1-1 3, Buckley 0 2-4 2, A. Hibbert 0 0 0, Hood 0 0 0, Kinnaman 0 0 0.

Totals: 13 13-24 40.

3-pointers: N. Hibbert.

Turnovers: 20.


Laird 10 4-4 28, Niehoff 5 2-2 12, Stevens 2 7-8 11, Morgan 2 3-4 7, D. Coomer 2 0-0 4, Harcourt 1 0-0 3, Newbold 1 0-0 2, Gosnell 1 0-0 2, Sayman 1 0-0 2.

Totals: 25 16-19 71.

3-pointers: Laird 4, Harcourt.


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