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 Panthers Make Statement with Huge Win Over Raiders

January 23, 2008 - Throughout the season the young Knightstown Panthers have been confined to the notion that eventually, they would find a way to lose a basketball game by suffering through some type of three-to-five-minute breakdown.

Over the weekend the boys basketball team may have served notice to potential Sectional 42 opponents that those growing pains may be a thing of the past.

Coach John Howell’s crew went on the road for two difficult games last weekend and gained a split, playing well in both contests. Friday night the Panthers picked up a huge 58-54 win over Shenandoah. The team didn’t play as well Saturday (see related story, page XXXX), but still held their own against Mt. Vernon, the best opponent on the schedule this year and no doubt better than anyone they will face in the sectional.

The win over Shenandoah didn’t come without another one of those patented Panther scoring droughts, however. Knightstown had an early 15-10 lead, and then the Raiders responded with a 14-4 run over eight minutes that gave them a 24-19 lead in the second quarter.

But the Panthers responded to that challenge with a 17-13 third quarter that gave them the lead at 41-39 entering the final period. Colton Kinnaman, Kelton Lane and Anthony Hibbert all hit crucial three-pointers, and Zach Apollos, Seth Apollos and Jordan Bearhope all had clutch buckets in the third quarter run.

Then the fireworks started.

Travis Titus forced a Raider turnover, which led to the first of three fourth quarter treys from the freshman Seth Apollos. That gave the Panthers another five-point lead at 44-39. The Raiders responded with a trey from Cory Criswell and a pair of freebies by Brandon Barnell to tie the game at 44.

Back again came the younger Apollos, nailing another trey. A Brice Biehl free throw upped the lead to 48-44 with 5:06 to play. Shenandoah’s Eric Streit, who scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, put up seven consecutive markers to give the Raiders a 51-48 lead with just 3:21 on the clock.

Panther coach John Howell called a time out and attempted to settle down his team. They worked the ball inside to Zach Apollos, who converted one-of-two free throws. Kinnaman then tied up Streit and forced a jump ball on a great defensive play, giving Knightstown a key possession.

The Raiders fouled Kinnaman moments later, and the sophomore nailed both free throws to tie the game at 51 with 1:59 to play. Both teams traded misses until Zach Apollos hit inside to make it 53-51. But Streit answered with a bucket and converted a three-point play that put the Raiders up 54-53 with 41 seconds left in the game.

Just as he has done on several other occasions this season, Seth Apollos answered the call. He drilled a long three-pointer with 28 seconds left that put the Panthers back up by two points, 56-54. The shot was a back-breaker for the Raiders, who could not manage a response.

After missing, the Raiders fouled Biehl with 7.8 seconds showing on the clock. Raider coach Aaron Cain tried to ice Biehl by calling three consecutive time outs before the junior point guard could take his free throws. It didn’t work.

Biehl knocked down both freebies to ice the game.

The Panthers led 15-12 at the end of the first quarter when Zach Apollos scored six of his 11 points. The Raiders took a 26-24 halftime lead when they put together that 14-4 run, erasing a five-point deficit and replacing it with a five-point lead.

The Panthers made their statement in the third and fourth quarters, getting buckets from six different players in the third frame. Seth Apollos knocking down three clutch treys in the final stanza prevented the Raiders from stealing a win.

The Apollos brothers both turned in a double-double, the first time that has happened but likely not the last. Seth led the Panthers with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Zach scored 11 points and also pulled down 10 boards. Lane hit double figures again with 10 points, and Kinnaman showed signs of coming out of his shooting slump with eight points and a pair of treys. Biehl played a better floor game and finished with eight points, including the two free throws in the final seconds that iced the game.

Anthony Hibbert came off the bench to add five points, including a clutch three-pointer that put Knightstown ahead going into the fourth quarter. Jordan Bearhope also scored four points, while Kyle Buckley, Jordan Back and Bryce Cole did a great job against the bigger Raiders under the bucket. Kyle Brinson (eight points) and Cory Criswell (seven points) were mostly ineffective, and Branden Barnell (one-for-seven shooting) was consistently tied up by the Panther backup big men.

Now 5-10 on the season, the Panthers will try to keep honing the improved play when they host Morristown Saturday. They then visit Blue River on February 1.



Panthers (58)

Zach Apollos 5-11 1-3 11, Colby Lane 4-8 0-0 10, Seth Apollos 4-10 2-2 13, Jordan Bearhope 2-3 0-0 4, Colton Kinnaman 2-7 2-3 8, Bryce Cole 0-4 0-0 0, Brice Biehl 1-3 5-8 7, Anthony Hibbert 2-4 0-0 5, Kyle Buckley 0-2 0-0 0, Jordan Back 0-0 0-0 0, Travis Titus 0-0 0-0 0.

Totals: 20-52 10-16 58.


Shenandoah (54)

Eric Streit 7-9 7-10 21, Brandon Barnell 1-7 7-8 10, Cory Criswell 1-6 4-5 7, Kyle Brinson 4-7 0-0 8, Joshua Bousman 0-1 0-0 0, Adam Runyan 1-2 2-2 4, Jake McClurg 0-4 0-0 0, Cory Smith 2-6 0-1 4.

Totals: 16-42 20-26 54.


3-point field goals: K – Seth Apollos 3, Lane 2, Kinnaman 2, Hibbert. S – Criswell, Barnell. Turnovers: K – 13, S – 19.

Rebounds: K - 32 (Z. Apollos 10, S. Apollos 10, Cole 5) S - 25 (Smith 8).


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