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2008-09 KHS Sports Programs Have Promising Outlook
July 9, 2008 - The beginning of July, to many local high school sports fans, signals the start of the new school year for athletics at Knightstown High School.
For some, the new school year will be a welcome sight. The 2007-2008 high school sports year had some ups and downs, probably more of the latter.
Overall, KHS sports for the upcoming school year should improve on most fields and courts. Let’s take a little sneak peek at the upcoming school year.
The one sport that probably couldn’t start soon enough for Panther fans is football, which ended on a note Knightstown gridiron followers are unaccustomed to seeing.
Knightstown is coming off a disappointing 4-6 season after starting last year with such promise. The Panthers won their season opener over Centerville, which would be the only loss of the regular season for the Bulldogs, who then won eight straight. But injuries decimated the Panther team and it was never the same.
Coach Bob Prescott will enter this season without nine seniors from last year, including quarterback Joe Haase and fullback Trey McColley. Both of those guys really weren’t available last season after being injured in the opener, each playing sparingly in a couple of games after that.
The season ended on an extremely sour note, as the Panthers lost their last three games, including the sectional opener to Triton Central by 40 points.
Roughly 21 players who contributed last year should return, but the team will be undersized at a lot of positions, including both lines. They’ll hope to counter that with a significant amount of speed that should be available this season.
Returning players include seniors quarterback Brice Biehl, Ethan Pearson, Kelton Lane and Cody Overbay; juniors Levi Blair, Drew Martin, Travis Titus, Jordan Hauk, Aaron Forshey, Anthony Forshey, Zach Sanders, Rusty Asberry, Dillon Silver, Cory Wisehart, Nick Hochstedler, Lucas Hochstedler, Kasey Johnson and Ethan Paul; sophomores Brandon Carrender, Zach Smith, Taylor Cox, Nolan Hall, Ronnie Lawrence, Cory Cox, Jacob Thompkins, Danny Ortman, Lane Fields, Wes Hammer, Ben Angel and Colin Kennedy.
It was a long year for Knightstown as a young team lost 25 games after having back-to-back 20-win seasons. The Lady Panthers lost just two seniors to graduation: Janice Ortman and Megan Grant. There will be a slew of girls returning, including the rest of the starters. Last year the junior varsity team won the Henry County Tourney. With the bulk of the players returning from last year and much help from the junior varsity, the Lady Panthers could be much better this season for new coach Chris Underwood.
Key returnees will include seniors Crystal Heim, Brandi Lightner, Brittany Driesbach, Ashley Goller; juniors Ashley Griggs and Haley Cruse; and sophomore Hannah Jackson.
Larry Loveall will return to coach the Panthers this year after guiding the program for several seasons. Despite having a winning record, Knightstown struggled at times last year. The team returns a good nucleus this season and could be more than competitive.
Lacking numbers in an already weak program, the netters struggled again last year. Gone for the boys are Jordan Van Hoy and Kyle Edington, who both graduated. Incoming senior Michael Hurst will be joined by a slew of youngsters, including incoming sophomores Nicholas Dalton, Braxton Walker and Mitch Marsischke, among others. Although it may be another long year, there are golden opportunities for the younger players to get some valuable experience this season, and the team could be vastly improved over last year.
In girls tennis, Knightstown returns incoming seniors Crystal Heim, Brittany Driesbach, Lydia Long and Pam Crawford; and juniors Lindsay Kennedy and Brittney Horth.
Top players Pam Crawford returns for the girls and Joey Wyatt for the boys in what should be better seasons for both teams. The rosters have been dominated by underclassmen for years and both squads should see a better 2008-09 season as those younger players continue to improve. Kelton Lane, Nick Hochstedler, Luke Hochstedler, Craig Denney and a slew of other players return for the boys.
The Lady Panthers lost all-time track and field career points lead Diana Trautmann to graduation, but return some talent at various events. Coach Dan Clevenger had just 15 participants last season. If the numbers are going to be bigger than that this year, it will have to be due to a solid incoming class of freshmen and sophomores.
The boys had three sectional winners last year in juniors Anthony Hibbert and Sam Rech, and freshman Lane Fields. They will be the nucleus of a solid, but still short on numbers, group that will return this season for coach Bob Prescott.
This could end up being the strongest of all of the boys sports. Knightstown will likely be a heavy favorite in Sectional 42 and the team returns nearly all of its top players from last season. Gone are seniors Jordan Bearhope, Bryce Cole and Kyle Buckley. Returning is a collection of players that will make coach John Howell’s life a lot more enjoyable this season.
He’ll be picking varsity and JV rosters from one of the best talent pools the Panthers have had since their run to three consecutive sectional titles from 2004-06. That list includes last year’s leading scorer and rebounder, junior Zach Apollos; seniors Kelton Lane, Brice Biehl, Anthony Hibbert, Colby Lane, Chris Mefford and Jordan Back; juniors Colton Kinnaman, Aaron Forshey, Anthony Forshey, Bryce George, Jordan Hawk, Lucas Hochstedler, Nick Hochstedler and Drew Martin; sophomores Seth Apollos, Lane Fields, Brandon Carrender, Cody McDowell, Danny Ortman, Dillon Pugsley, Wes Hammer, Kamron Beavers, Nolan Hall and Joey Wyatt; and possibly freshmen Clay Ratliff, Bobby Wyatt, Matt Newell, William Milton and Cambridge City transfer Nic Morris.
The varsity, JV and freshman teams will all be more than competitive, but there may not be enough roster spots to go around.
This could end up being coach Dawn Basicker’s best year at the helm of the Lady Panthers. Like the boys basketball team, this will be the strength of the Lady Panther athletic program in 2008-09.
It will without a doubt be Basicker’s best team. The girls only lost graduate Diana Trautmann off of a 9-13 team.
Returning are seniors Natosha Hiner, Sabrina Hatfield, Jocelyn Sturgill, Cassie Hammer, Miranda White and Brittany Jolley; juniors Danielle Altman and Haley Cruse; sophomores Megan Hiner, Hannah Morgan, Hannah Smith, Haley Morgan, Brittney Brown, Ashkia Howard, Meghan Chew and Taylor Webber. A strong freshman class led by Kaelee Kuhn and Michelle Hochstedler could also have an impact.
If ever there was the opportunity to end the sectional drought for Knightstown, this will be the season. The Lady Panthers have not won a girls basketball sectional since 1980.
Coach Donnie Martin may have the most difficult task of all ahead of him in the upcoming school year. He lost all-state shortstop and pitcher Joe Haase to Purdue University. Jordan Bearhope, the team’s second-best pitcher and hitter, is off to play college baseball as well. Also gone will be graduates Chad Oakes, Trey McColley and Rayburn Steinwachs.
That’s a lot to lose off one baseball team. But the team will return Brice Biehl, Mike Hurst, Isaac Imel, Jared Kayajan, Zach Burchett, Drew Martin, Levi Blair, Travis Titus, Zach Apollos, Danny Ortman and Nolan Hall, so the cupboards won’t exactly be bare.
The Lady Panthers struggled through a one-win season, and as of this writing, are officially without a coach. They lost Ashkia Howard and Ashlee Wilkerson to graduation, but return 10 players who saw considerable action last season.
Karsyn Mohler, Natosha Hiner, Caitlan Marsischke, Kelsi McRoberts, Hannah Jackson, Brittany Brown and Mariah Roland headline that group.
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