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 Panther Girls Back on Track, Shoot Well in Win Over Lady Lions

February 6, 2008 - Coming in to last Thursday night’s girls varsity basketball game, the two teams squaring off appeared to be heading in different directions. The Liberty Christian Lady Lions had won two straight games, while the Knightstown Lady Panthers had lost three of four.

But those recent records were no indicator of what would happen on the basketball court that night. After honoring lone senior Diana Trautmann, the Lady Panthers completely took the Lady Lions out of the game in the opening minutes, running away for a convincing 58-31 victory in the last regular season game.

Knightstown plays tonight (Wednesday) in the girls basketball sectional at Cambridge City.

The girls wasted no time in getting down to business in the last home game of the season. The girls exploded to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, and expanded that to 32-13 at halftime. A 17-7 third quarter run upped the lead to 49-20 and Coach Dawn Basicker finished up the game by allowing junior varsity players to see some varsity minutes.

Freshman Megan Hiner scored 10 points in the first four minutes of the game, literally exploding out of the gate. She started the game off by getting the first of her six steals, taking the ball in for a left-handed layup.

Danielle Altman hit a rebound basket, and Trautmann stole the ball, feeding Jocelyn Sturgill for two inside to make it 6-0. Then it was all Hiner and Trautmann for the next two minutes.

The freshman drove inside for a bucket, was fouled, and completed the three-point play. Trautmann came up with another steal and fed Hiner, who was posted up behind the arch. She drilled the three-pointer to make it 12-0. Following a free throw from Trautmann, Hiner hit a rebound basket that upped the lead to 15-0, and seconds later, Trautmann nailed a 15-footer that pushed the lead to 17-0 with three minutes still to play in the opening quarter. Trautmann scored again on a nice pass from Natosha Hiner a minute later. At that point, Megan Hiner had 10 points, while Trautmann had five points, three steals and three rebounds.

Liberty Christian was never able to recover from that opening-quarter onslaught. The Lady Lions got their first basket with just 55 seconds left in the first quarter. Despite leading 19-2 after one, Knightstown nonetheless had some stretches of slopping play, turning the ball over six times in the first eight minutes.

That carried over to the second quarter when the Lady Panthers turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions. Liberty Christian got a couple of quick buckets off of those turnovers and cut the lead to 19-6 when Basicker called time out to talk to her team.

Whatever she told them appeared to work. Knightstown worked the ball inside to Sabrina Hatfield for two, and Natosha Hiner followed that with a steal and lay-up. On the next possession, Natosha drilled an 18-footer, and Sturgill followed that with two straight buckets inside. Suddenly, it was 29-10 and the Lady Panthers had answered the challenge.

Trautmann nailed a long trey just before the halftime horn sounded, giving Knightstown a 32-13 lead at the half. Knightstown shot a lot better than they have been over most of the season, knocking down 14-of-27 from the field in the first half.

Any thoughts the Lady Lions had of getting back into this game would disappear quickly in the third quarter. Sturgill scored five points in the first minute of the second half, and it was quickly 37-13. Four straight points by Megan Hiner upped the lead to 43-17, and a bucket from Brittany Brown increased the margin to 30 points at 47-17. That brought the third quarter run to 15-4 in the first five minutes, essentially ending the contest.

Brown, a freshman, scored seven points in the game and got five of those in the fourth quarter. Her old-fashioned three-point play gave Knightstown its biggest lead of the game at 56-22 with just over three minutes left.

Liberty Christian closed the game during mop-up time with a 9-2 run.

Megan Hiner finished with 16 points, getting all of those in the first and third quarters. Sturgill also hit double digits with 13 points, while Trautmann and Hatfield both scored eight points. Brown had seven, Natosha Hiner four and Altman added two.

The girls will play Centerville in the sectional tonight at Centerville. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Cambridge City Lincoln High School.


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