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Panthers Whip Class 4A Cougars 69-59
February 13, 2008 - Knightstown Panther head coach John Howell has been asking his team to work the ball for the good shot and not be a one-pass-and-shoot team. The players heeded his advice in the second half and dismantled Class 4A Greenfield-Central in the process, 69-59.
Through the game’s first two quarters, Knightstown wasn’t running their coach’s game plan, and found themselves down 27-22 at the halftime break. The Panthers had shot just 10-for-30 from the field and turned the ball over six times.
But a different team took the floor in the third quarter and the Panthers went on a 24-10 run to turn the game around and take a 46-37 lead into the final period. That third quarter onslaught was exactly what the Panther mentor wanted.
“I was very happy with the way we worked the ball for a good shot,” Howell said. “I was proud of the fact that we had 18 assists between three players. We moved the ball well and penetrated the gaps.”
Panther big man Zach Apollos once again proved he can play inside with another team’s big man. Apollos had another dominating night, scoring 21 points and pulling down 14 rebounds with another double-double performance. Apollos had 11 points in the fourth quarter and 17 in the second half.
“Zach took over the game on the inside and that was a lot of fun to watch,” said Howell, who got the win against his old high school in the first game he coached against the Cougars. “For me it was nice for the boys to play well and get the win. Any time you go back to where you played and get a win as a coach, it’s a pretty nice feeling.”
Knightstown didn’t start this one with the game plan that worked in recent wins against Shenandoah and Morristown. The Panthers shot one-and-done several times and hit just 33 percent of their shots in the first half.
Knightstown hit just five-of-16 field goals in the first quarter and fell behind by as many as five points. The Cougars settled for a 13-10 lead after one quarter, but the Panthers took a 20-19 lead on a long trey by Colton Kinnaman. Knightstown then hit just one of its next five shots and fell behind 27-22 at the half. The Panthers shot just five-of-14 in the second quarter, giving them a 10-for-30 mark over the first half.
In the third quarter the momentum took a dramatic turn in Knightstown’s favor. Kinnaman started things off by swishing the nets on another three-pointer, and Zach Apollos scored inside to tie the game. Kelton Lane then knocked down a long trey and the 8-0 run put the Panthers up 30-27. They would never trail again.
“I felt like we were really out of synch in the first half,” Howell said. “We weren’t rebounding and we never really got the ball inside. In the second half we penetrated, and then got a couple of outside shots to fall. That made Greenfield spread their defense a little farther out, and then the inside game just opened up.”
Those treys by Kinnaman and Lane did spread the Cougar defense. Lane, who scored nine points in the third quarter, drilled another three-pointer to make it 34-29. Greenfield answered with a couple of buckets, but Jordan Bearhope hit two free throws and Lane dropped in a slicing finger roll. A three-pointer by Brice Biehl was followed by a free throw from Bryce Cole that put the Panthers up 46-37 after three quarters.
The 24-10 period was eight of the best minutes the team had played this season, and should have drained the last of the gas from the Cougar tanks.
It didn’t, however, as Knightstown led up defensively in the final quarter and allowed the Cougars to get a lot of easy buckets inside. Greenfield scored 22 points in the final period, but the Panthers answered with 23 of their own, including 11 from Zach Apollos and eight from Seth Apollos. The brothers combined for 19 fourth quarter points and 33 in the game.
“We let up defensively in the fourth quarter and I wasn’t happy about that,” Howell said. “They got some easy rebound baskets and that kind of kept them in the game. We’ve got to work on maintaining the defensively intensity when we get a lead on someone.”
Knightstown maintained the lead near 10 points through most of the fourth quarter before the Cougars made one last run. The Panthers had scored four straight baskets on three assists from Kinnaman and another from Seth Apollos to lead 57-46 with 2:50 to play. But Greenfield’s Isaac Galbraith, who had a game-high 23 points, hit an old-fashioned three-point play. Seth Apollos answered with a jumper, but Cougar Jake Bryant then completed another three-point play to cut the lead to 59-52.
After Zach Apollos hit inside to make it a nine point lead, Galbraith struck again on another trey and the lead was six points at 61-55 with 1:30 on the clock. Free throws would be key at this point, and the Panthers answered the call. Seth Apollos dropped in two, and Bearhope hit two more with just 45 seconds to play to make it 65-57.
Greenfield got a quick bucket to make it a two-possession game at 65-59, but Knightstown broke the full-court press and Seth Apollos hit Zach with a nice pass for an easy two to ice the game.
The Panthers got one more bucket in the game’s final seconds when the Cougars pressed and it was once again easily broken. Seth Apollos was wide open under the basket, and instead of laying the ball in, he attempted an underhanded alley-oop pass to his big brother, who was moving in for the slam dunk. The play didn’t work because Seth’s pass actually went in the basket.
Zach Apollos chalked up another double-double with his 21-14 night. Lane knocked down two three-pointers and had 13 points, while Seth Apollos scored 12. Kinnaman hit two treys for six points, but more importantly dished out five assists and had three steals in a great all-around game.
Bearhope nailed all four of his free throws for four points, and Anthony Hibbert hit a clutch second-quarter three-pointer that tied the game at 17-all, keeping the Panthers in it early on.
Biehl played a better floor game and contributed with seven points and four assists. Bryce Cole scored three points.
The Panthers are 7-11 on the season and have won three of their last five games. They play their final road game of the regular season Friday at Waldron, and host Hagerstown at home Saturday night.
Zach Apollos 10-17 1-2 21, Seth Apollos 5-6 2-2 12, Jordan Bearhope 0-2 4-4 4, Colton Kinnaman 2-3 0-0 6, Kelton Lane 5-12 1-2 13, Brice Biehl 3-7 0-0 7, Bryce Cole 1-6 1-2 3, Anthony Hibbert 1-2 0-0 3, Jordan Back 0-0 0-0, Kyle Buckley 0-0 0-0 0. 3-pointers: Kinnaman 2, Lane 2, Biehl, Hibbert.
Totals: 27-55 9-12 69.
Will Hamilton 9-19 1-2 23, Isaac Galbraith 5-14 1-1 14, Jake Bryant 5-12 0-5 10, Weston McQueeney 2-5 3-3 7, Isaac Beal 1-2 1-1 3, Jordan Conley 1-5 0-0 2. 3-pointers: Hamilton 4, Galbraith 3-pointers: 7-29
Totals: 23-58 6-7 59.
Rebounds: K 36 (Apollos 13); GF 23 (Hamilton 7)
Assists: K 18 (Kinnaman 5); GF 6 (Galbraith 3)
Turnovers: K 14; GF 13.
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