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 8th Grade Boys End Season with 44-41 Loss

February 6, 2008 - It’s been a long, grueling season for Knightstown’s eighth grade basketball team.

The team played against a very difficult schedule, and did so with half the number of kids on a normal eighth grade roster. The Panthers went through the season with just five players, enough to put a team on the court, but with no one on the bench to bring in as a substitute.

Coach Mel Matlock’s team lost their last game of the season to Hagerstown, 44-41. Knightstown played well, as they have the entire season, in suffering their 11th loss. The team did win six games this year, and the season finale against the Tigers was one that got away in the final minutes.

“We had a couple of chances to win the game, and then another chance to tie it,” Matlock said. “The boys played as hard as they have all year.”

Matlock was proud of his team and the effort they gave in every game despite being unable to get a breather due to a nonexistent bench.

“For the biggest part of the season we only had five players,” Matlock said, “and they gave us a great effort in every game. We stayed close in all but a couple of the games we lost. These boys are to be commended for a job well done.”

Eighth grade team members include William Milton, Matt Newell, Bobby Wyatt, Clay Ratliff, Jon Jordan and Garrett Palmer, who came back for the last few games of the season. Jeff Griggs in the eighth grade assistant coach.

Against Hagerstown, Knightstown played well throughout the game. Hagerstown used 11 players in the contest, while the Panthers got all of their points from four men.

The Panthers took an 11-10 lead after one quarter when Wyatt nailed three shots and Ratliff drilled a three-pointer. After a bucket by Milton the Panthers held a brief lead.

Hagerstown returned the favor by putting up 11 second-quarter points and the game was tied at the half. The Panthers got a big second period from Ratliff, who hit a trey and two field goals for eight points in the quarter. Another three-pointer by Milton kept the score tied.

The Tigers took a 29-27 lead after three quarters, holding the Panthers to just six points and one field goal. Ratliff hit a trey and a free throw, while Milton added two freebies.

Knightstown then got nine points from Wyatt in the fourth quarter, another trey from Ratliff and a pair of free throws by Newell. But the Tigers managed to hold on to the hard-fought 44-41 win.

Ratliff led the Panthers with 17 points, getting 10 of those in the first half. Wyatt also hit double figures with 15 points and was five-of-six from the free throw line. Knightstown hit 10-of-12 free throws in the game, compared to just five-of-15 for the Tigers. But Hagerstown nailed five treys in the contest.

Milton scored seven points and Milton added two for the Panthers.


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