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 Panthers Fall to #4 Rockville at Conseco, 61-59

January 21, 2009 -  The Knightstown Panthers walked away from the Mid-Winter Invitational at Conseco Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon knowing they were one clutch play away from a huge victory. They just couldn’t make that key play.

The Panthers battled the Class A 3rd-ranked Rockville Rox to the wire, but lost 61-59 in the first basketball game ever played by a Knightstown boys team at Conseco. There were plenty of reasons why the Panthers played as well as they did and still lost, but none bigger than the same problem that has plagued the team throughout the season. Ill-advised passes resulted in 11 of 15 turnovers Knightstown committed in the game.

Rockville collected 10 steals off of those bad passes and turned those into 14 points.

Knightstown dominated the game in the second quarter after Rockville had forged ahead 12-10 in the first frame. The Panthers managed just 5-of-17 shooting in the opening period.

But the Panthers came storming back to take a 34-28 halftime lead. Rockville then seized the momentum with a 15-6 run to lead 45-44 heading into the final quarter. That third quarter dead zone Knightstown fell into has been a problem throughout the season for the team.

A Rockville bucket one minute into the final quarter put them ahead 49-44 and completed a 19-6 run that erased an earlier 38-30 Panther lead. The run occurred over an eight-minute span in which Knightstown turned the ball over on bad passes six times.

But the Panthers didn’t fold up the tent. Seth Apollos scored on a nice feed from Colton Kinnaman, and Zach Apollos hit a rebound basket that cut the lead to 49-48 with 5:10 to play.

Rockville’s RJ Mahurin, a 6-8 senior and son of the team’s coach, then traded baskets with Kelton Lane to make it 51-50. But Knightstown misfired on three straight shots. A rebound basket by the Rox Aaron Bridge and subsequent old-fashioned three-point play put the Panthers down 56-50 with 2:41 on the clock.

The Apollos brothers then electrified the Knightstown crowd with back-to-back baskets to cut the lead to 56-54 with 1:21 on the game clock. That’s when Rockville went to a four-corner offense and tried to run out the clock. After Knightstown fouls, the Rox hit four straight free throws, sandwiched around a Panther miss, and pulled ahead 60-54 with just 33 seconds to play.

Lane scored Knightstown’s last five points on a fielder with 18 seconds left and a three-pointer just before the buzzer to bring an end to the dramatic game.

The Panthers were up against some powerful odds before the tip-off because the Rox brought a huge lineup to the floor. Mahurin, at 6-8, was joined by 6-5 Bridge and 6-4 Matt King on the front line. But Knightstown had more quickness and actually out-rebounded the Rox 38-30 on the night.

The biggest reason for that was the play of Panther big man Zach Apollos, who finished the game with 18 points and 13 rebounds. When Apollos was heavily involved in the Knightstown offense, the team controlled the game.

Rockville led 12-10 after one quarter and Knightstown coach John Howell used nine players in the first quarter. The Panthers got buckets from Zach and Seth Apollos, Lane, Jordan Back and Jordan Hauk. There were four ties in the opening quarter, but the Panthers never led.

Knightstown took control of the game in the second period, when Zach Apollos scored 12 points and pulled down five rebounds. A trey from Lane and a jumper by Seth Apollos gave the Panthers their first lead, 15-14, at the 7:06 mark. A pair of free throw from Seth and a long three by Zach put the Panthers up 20-16.

Zach scored again inside and Brice Biehl followed with a three-pointer to make it 25-18 at the 4:21 mark. That trey completed a 15-4 Knightstown run from a four-point deficit. Zach then scored the next seven Panther points on assists from Seth and Biehl, and a pair of free throws by Anthony Hibbert increased the Knightstown lead to 34-25, the biggest of the night by either team.

Rockville scored the last four points of the half to close the gap to 34-28.

Lane and Travis Titus hit early third quarter field goals to put Knightstown ahead 38-30, but that’s when the team went into its patented third quarter dive, getting outscored 15-6 over the last six minutes of the period.

The last Knightstown lead was 44-42 after Kinnaman drilled a three-pointer with 1:17 to play in the third quarter.

Despite the loss, the teams’ fifth against five wins, Knightstown played its best game of the season. The Panthers still suffered through droughts of concentration in the first and third quarters, but battled their way back into the game against the biggest team they will face this season.

Zach Apollos was the best player on the court, knocking down 9-of-14 field goals to finish with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Rockville utilized their big man Mahurin inside initially, but moved him to more of a swingman position due to the physicality of Knightstown’s inside game. Mahurin scored a game-high 19 points, but needed 17 shots to hit his eight field goals and spent more time behind the three-point arc than he did under the basket.

Lane scored 14 points, Seth Apollos had 13, Biehl and Kinnaman both had three on treys, while Back, Hauk, Hibbert and Titus had two apiece. Rockville outscored Knightstown 13-5 from the free throw line, attempting 12 more charity stripe tosses.

Knightstown’s schedule continues its brutal stretch this weekend with a pair of home games against Shenandoah Friday night and Mt. Vernon Saturday. The Raiders are 6-4 and Mt. Vernon is 7-3 on the season.


Score By Quarters

Rockville 12 16 17 16 - 61

Knightstown 10 24 10 15 - 59

Rockville (61)

Player Fg-A Ft-a TP REB

RJ Mahurin 7-17 4-4 19 7

Caleb McMullen 1-2 4-4 6 2

Josh Reed 5-9 0-0 10 3

Aaron Bridge 4-11 1-3 10 9

Matt King 4-9 4-6 12 3

David Parsons 2-4 0-0 4 3

Totals: 23-52 13-17 61 27

Knightstown (59)

Player Fg-A Ft-a TP REB

Travis Titus 1-4 0-0 2 3

Seth Apollos 5-13 2-2 13 9

Zach Apollos 8-12 1-1 18 13

Brice Biehl 1-6 0-0 3 1

Kelton Lane 6-14 0-0 14 1

Drew Martin 0-0 0-0 0 1

Anthony Hibbert 0-3 2-2 2 1

Colton Kinnaman 1-3 0-0 3 2

Jordan Hauk 1-3 0-0 2 0

Jordan Back 1-2 0-0 2 2

Totals: 24-60 5-5 59 33

3-point field goals: R (2-12) Mahurin 1-7, Bridge 1-3. K (6-23) Lane 2-7, S. Apollos 1-5, Biehl 1-4, Kinnaman 1-3, Z. Apollos 1-2, Hibbert 0-1, Titus 0-1. Person Fouls: R 12; K 15.

Turnovers: R 12; K 16.

Assists: K 13 (S. Apollos 2, Z. Apollos 2, Lane 2, Martin 2, Kinnaman 3, Biehl 2)



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