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 Late Chargers Run Shocks Panthers 59-57

January 9, 2008 - The Knightstown Panthers are still searching for a way to close the deal.

For the sixth time this season, the Panthers encountered a dry spell in which their opponent went on a scoring binge. The end result was another loss to a team they should have beaten.

North Decatur was the most recent benefactor. The Chargers used a 15-2 scoring run over a three-minute span of the fourth quarter and handed the Panthers a 59-57 home court loss Friday night.

Knightstown had used a 9-2 run to open the last frame and take a 45-38 lead with 5:30 left in the game. When the clock showed 2:20, just three minutes later, North Decatur was leading 53-47.

During that stretch the Panthers didn’t take many good shots, and when they rarely did, the ball caromed off the rim. Knightstown missed six straight shots while the Chargers were burying five-of-seven and adding five free throws. On both shots North Decatur missed during the run, they got the rebound and put the ball back in.

A Charger team that had managed just 38 points in the game’s first 28 minutes scored 15 in the next three. It’s been the same story for the Panthers throughout the season. The team gets out of its offense and subsequently, out of synch.

After the Chargers (7-4) forged ahead at 53-47, Knightstown responded in the same manner they have most of the season. Freshman Seth Apollos, who has nearly patented late-game dramatic three-pointers, drilled one from the left side to cut the lead to 53-50.

Charger Joe Glauck, who matched his jersey number with 21 points, nailed a pair of free throws to up the lead to 55-50.

The Panthers struck again with the long bomb. This one came from Kelton Lane on a nice pass from Colton Kinnaman, cutting the margin to 55-53. Knightstown had a chance to tie the game with 29 seconds left, but missed two free throws.

Another opportunity arose with 22 seconds on the clock, but KHS could hit just one of two freebies and the margin was down to one at 55-54.

On the ensuing play another mental error likely iced the game’s outcome. When North Decatur in bounded the ball to 6-6 sophomore Alex Pulskamp the Panthers missed the opportunity to foul him and send the 25-percent free throw shooter to the line.

Instead, Pulskamp got rid of the ball to Glauck, who sank two straight to make it 57-54 with 18 ticks on the clock.

The Panthers missed another three-pointer and again fouled Glauck, who again nailed both freebies to make in 59-54 with just five seconds showing. Lane hit a trey with eight-tenths of a second on the clock for the game’s final points.

The two teams exchanged leads several times in the first half. The Chargers held a lead as big as four points three times, and the Panthers went the first three minutes of the second quarter without a field goal. North Decatur was up 12-9 before Lane hit back-to-back treys, and the Chargers pulled ahead again at 22-18. Knightstown responded with a 9-2 run to take a three-point lead. That rally started with a trey from Seth Apollos and a bucket by Anthony Hibbert off a great pass by Lane. Two free throws from Lane gave the Panthers their biggest lead of the half at 25-22.

Knightstown’s biggest obstacle in the first half was foul trouble to big man Zach Apollos. In picking up two quick personals, he rode the bench most of the half and took just two shots, missing both. He had one point and two rebounds in the first half, but the Panthers kept themselves in the game by nailing five-of-10 three-pointers in the opening two quarters.

The Panthers finally got Zach Apollos involved in the third quarter, and he went to work. He scored six points in the frame and little brother Seth nailed a trey off a nice pass from Brice Biehl.

Biehl got another assist when he hit Bryce Cole for an open 17-footer, and a pair of free throws by Zach Apollos tied the game at 36 heading into the final quarter.

The Panthers momentarily appeared to be over their two-season-long habit of those bad stretches. Instead of being timid, they came out aggressively in the fourth quarter and took command of the game. Lane hit Zach Apollos inside for an easy two. After North Decatur answered, Zach Apollos then blocked a Charger shot on the next trip down. Zach then stole the ball and fed Seth, who drained a trey from 25 feet that put the Panthers up 41-38 and brought Knightstown fans to their feet.

Two free throws by Zach made in 43-38, and Lane then electrified the crowd with an unforeseen defensive play. Pulskamp got the ball on the inside, and the 6-6 center went up for what appeared to be an easy lay-in. Lane, who stretches elastic tape to 5-8, came in from the right side and cleanly blocked the shot.

The Panther crowd went nuts, and Lane immediately rubbed in it by nailing a jumper at the other end, extending the Knightstown lead to 45-38 with 5:30 on the clock.

That’s when the dreaded lull somehow reared its ugly head once again. The Panthers missed their next six shots and the Chargers hit five-of-seven. They also scored five more points on free throws and just three minutes later had completed a 15-2 run that turned the game around.

Lane finished with another outstanding game for the Panthers. He scored 18 points and nailed four three-pointers. Seth Apollos hit double figures with 12 points on four-of-five three-point attempts. Zach Apollos added 11 points, while Kinnaman and Biehl both scored six. Hibbert and Cole scored two points apiece.

The Panthers have little time to regroup after another disappointing loss. They stay at home to host the Centerville Bulldogs, who are 6-2 following victories over Hagerstown (62-58) and Cambridge City Lincoln (70-53) in the Wayne County tournament.


Chargers (59)

Joe Glauck 6-13 9-12 21, Neal Ploeger 7-14 3-5 19, Alex Pulskamp 3-6 1-4 7, Stephen Speer 1-4 3-8 5, Blake Litmer 0-2 3-6 3, Dustin Metz 1-2 0-0 2, Scott Kelp 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 19-44 19-35 59.

Panthers (57)

Kelton Lane 6-12 2-2 18, Seth Apollos 4-5 0-0 12, Zach Apollos 2-5 7-14 11, Colton Kinnaman 1-6 3-4 6, Brice Biehl 2-7 1-2 6, Anthony Hibbert 1-1 0-0 2, Bryce Cole 1-1 0-0 2, Jordan Bearhope 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan Back 0-0 0-0 0, Kyle Buckley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-37 13-22 57.

3-point field goals: S. Apollos 4, Lane 4, Kinnaman, Biehl.

Turnovers: ND 19, KT 18.

Rebounds: ND 36, KT 19.


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