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 Lady Panthers Lose WRAC Match at Shenandoah 44-34

January 23, 2008 - Knightstown’s girls varsity basketball team didn’t get off on the right foot last Friday and Shenandoah, and the girls paid the price for that the entire game. The end result was a disappointing 44-34 loss to their White River Athletic Conference rivals.

The Lady Panthers started off the game slowly, missing their first six shots falling behind to the Lady Raiders 8-0 before they could even get on the scoreboard. The Lady Panthers managed just one first quarter field goal by Brittany Brown and committed eight turnovers in the opening quarter. Despite shooting one-for-10 and all those turnovers, the Knightstown girls still trailed just 10-6 when Megan Hiner and Brown both hit a pair of free throws.

The Lady Panthers never got in a rhythm in the first half and committed six more turnovers, giving them an uncharacteristic 14 in the first half. Shenandoah scored six straight points to take their first double-digit lead of the night at 16-6, and increased that to 20-6 with five minutes to play in the half. At that point the Lady Panthers still had just one field goal despite playing more than 11 minutes.

Knightstown then showed signs of life over the last four minutes of the first half. Haley Cruse scored on nice inlet pass from senior Diana Trautmann, and Sabrina Hatfield grabbed a rare offensive rebound and was fouled. She hit one free throw. On the next trip down the floor Hatfield scored inside on a great pass from Natosha Hiner that made it 20-11.

The Lady Panthers ended the half when Jocelyn Sturgill knocked down a jumper with her foot on the three-point line. That shot came at the 1:33 mark and extended the Knightstown run to 7-0, cutting the lead to 20-13. The rally got the team back into the game at the halftime break, but disaster would follow in the third quarter.

Shenandoah opened the next period with an 11-0 run that turned a close game into a blowout. The Lady Panthers did not manage a point until just 1:12 showed on the clock – a span of more than eight minutes going back to the first half. That 20-13 halftime deficit changed to 31-13 before Megan Hiner stopped the flurry with a free throw and Natosha Hiner stole the ball and fed Trautmann for a layup. A Raider bucket made it 33-16 after three quarters.

Forced into a pressing mode, the Lady Panthers put on the pressure over the final eight minutes, and that worked rather well. Shenandoah had increased its lead to 35-17 when the Lady Panthers went on an 11-2 run to make it interesting. Two fourth-quarter buckets by Megan Hiner and Hatfield, another bucket by Danielle Altman and a pair of free throws from Natosha Hiner enabled the Lady Panthers to cut the margin to 37-28 with 2:50 to play.

But the Lady Panthers couldn’t get any closer than that, and Shenandoah used the free throw line to pull back up by 13 points. Megan Hiner’s trey before the buzzer cut the final margin to 10 points.

The Lady Panthers didn’t play well in this one, turning the ball over 24 times and sending Shenandoah to the free throw line for 26 attempts. The Lady Raiders had a 10-point advantage from the charity stripe as the officials did as much as anyone in dictating the outcome of this game.

The loss left a sour taste in the mouth of the team’s lone senior, Diana Trautmann.

“We didn’t play well at all because this was a game we should have won,” Trautmann said minutes after the tough loss. “I would love to get another shot at them (the Raiders) in the sectional because I know we can play a lot better than we did tonight.”

Megan Hiner recorded a double-double in an outstanding game for Knightstown. The freshman sparkplug had 11 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and five steals. Hatfield had eight points, Brown scored four, Trautmann had three points, five assists the three steals.

Sturgill, Natosha Hiner and Altman added two points apiece.

The Lady Panthers will next be in action next Tuesday when they host Waldron. The junior varsity tip-off is at 6 p.m.

The Lady Panthers are idle for eight days, playing again on Jan. 29 at home against Waldron. The girls close the regular season at home Jan. 31 against Liberty Christian.


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