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 Slow Start Dooms Panthers Again; Raiders Win 50-47

January 28, 2009 -  As has been the case in the last eight games they have played, the Knightstown boys varsity basketball team found themselves in a first quarter hole against Shenandoah Friday night.

The Panthers could never quite overcome that first quarter 12-point deficit and lost a disappointing 50-47 home court battle against their White River Athletic Conference foe. Knightstown complete the final WRAC season with an 0-3 record.

The Raiders hit four of their first six shots while the Panthers turned the ball over four times and went 0-for-5 from the field in the game’s first four minutes. That enabled Shenandoah to take a 12-0 lead at the four-minute mark of the opening frame.

Knightstown would hit just 1-of-11 field goals in the first quarter, and Shenandoah eventually stretched its first half lead to 23-10 with 2:44 to play.

“I wasn’t at all happy with how slowly we started the game,” Panther coach John Howell said. “We just weren’t ready to play. We’ve got to get Zach (Apollos) more involved in the game and start to play games more aggressively at the onset.”

Despite being down 13 points in the second quarter against the Raiders, Knightstown battled back with five quick points to end the half. The Panthers managed to cut the lead to 23-15 at halftime when Anthony Hibbert scored five quick points, despite hitting just 5-of-23 from the field in the first 16 minutes.

After being shut out in the first half, Zach Apollos finally got into the game in the third quarter, scoring 10 of Knightstown’s 15 points. The big man scored eight straight points for the Panthers, and Colton Kinnaman hit a three-pointer. Two Apollos free throws tied the game at 28-all with 2:53 to play in the third quarter, completing an 18-5 run by Knightstown.

But all the Panthers would get over those last few minutes was a lay-in off a feed from Zach to Jordan Hauk, and the Raiders finished out the quarter with a 9-2 run to lead 37-30.

Shenandoah upped to lead to 39-30 before Knightstown put together another run. Kelton Lane stole the ball and hit a lay-up, and Travis Titus got a rebound basket. Lane then came back and knocked down a long three-pointer that pulled the Panthers to within 39-37 with 4:20 to play.

Brice Biehl responded with a bucket, but Shenandoah hit four straight free throws and a break-away lay-up to lead 47-39 with 1:12 on the clock. The Panthers made one more surge at the Raiders when Zach nailed two free throws and then drove inside for two more points. A Biehl lay-up off a fast break, which was started by a steal by Seth Apollos, cut the margin to 47-45 with 37 seconds left.

Shenandoah nailed two free throws, and then Biehl, who had all six of his points in the fourth quarter, scored again to make it 49-47 with 15 seconds left. Shenandoah got one free throw before the Panthers missed on a three-point try just before the buzzer.

Zach Apollos scored all 14 of his points in the second half and was the only Knightstown player in double figures. Lane scored nine points, Biehl had six, Anthony Hibbert scored five, Seth Apollos had four, Kinnaman had three, while Titus, Jordan Back and Hauk had two apiece.

Despite the setback, Howell is confident the Panthers are getting closer to figuring out what needs to be done to turn the season around.

“I think we’ll be all right by March,” Howell said. “We’re doing a lot of things better and I think we’ll be turning the corner soon.”



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