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Clay Ratliff Lights Up Vikings for 32 Points in Panther Romp
January 23, 2008 - Knightstown’s eighth grade basketball team struggled from the field and didn’t as well as they could have in their first Henry County Tournament game Saturday, losing 34-33 to Tri. Blue River paid the price for that lackluster performance in the second game as the Panthers blistered the nets in a 60-32 triumph over the Vikings in the consolation game.
The Panthers played well enough to beat the Titans, but couldn’t come up with a key basket down the stretch. That loss sent them into the third place game against the Vikings, and Knightstown exploded with one of the most dominating first half performances in school history for an eighth grade basketball team.
The Panthers unloaded on Blue River with 45-point first half points, and Clay Ratliff was the primary reason. Ratliff was almost unconscious, scoring 26 first-half points in leading the Panthers to a 45-19 lead at the intermission. The Vikings never stood a chance as the Panthers unloaded from the tip-off and never left up, taking their frustrations of the Tri loss out on their afternoon opponent.
“We played well in the first game, we just didn’t make the shots we needed,” Panther coach Mel Matlock said. “We didn’t get any breaks in the fourth quarter of that game. Ninety minutes later (against the Vikings) we just shot the lights out. We don’t keep track, but we had to shoot 75 percent in the first half.”
Ratliff scorched the nets with a trio of three-pointers in the first quarter against the Vikings, and he had plenty of help. Matt Newell also hit a trey and added another field goal for five first quarter points. Buckets by William Milton and Bobby Wyatt spotted the Panthers to an impressive 18-12 first quarter lead.
However impressive that was, it was nothing compared to what followed in the second quarter. Ratliff was clearly in another stratosphere. He nailed seven field goals, including three more treys, and scored 17 points by himself in the second period. Wyatt added seven more points, Newell had two and Milton had one as the Panthers put up what was an eighth grade school scoring record 27 points in the quarter. The 1974 Panther eighth grade team scored 42 points in one half, including 24 in one quarter.
That barrage increased Knightstown’s lead to an unbelievable 45-19. The Panthers outscored the Vikings 27-7 in that six-minute stretch. Ratliff alone put up 10 more points than the entire Blue River team.
Ratliff had 26 of his game-high 32 points by intermission. He added six more second-half points. Wyatt scored 11 points and all came in the first half. Newell scored seven of his 10 in the first half and Milton finished with seven points. John Jordan and Garrett Palmer also played well in the victory.
Knightstown let one slip away against the Titans, losing 34-33 and costing themselves a shot at the Henry County title in the tourney’s first round.
The Panthers trailed early 11-4, but turned the game around after the first period. They cut the Titan lead to 15-14 at the half, and then claimed a 26-23 lead after three quarters. But Knightstown couldn’t get key shots to fall in the closing minutes and fell to the Titans.
Ratliff had another outstanding game, rallying the Panthers by scoring 13 of his game-high 15 points in the middle two quarters. Knightstown outscored the Titans 22-12 during that stretch, but Tri went on an 11-7 fourth quarter run to pull the game out.
Milton scored seven points, Newell had five, Jordan scored four and Wyatt added two.
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