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 Panthers Back on Track; Boys Crush Morristown 67-49, End Losing Streak

February 4, 2009 -  After losing four straight games and seven of their last nine, the Knightstown Panthers went searching for the answer to their problems Saturday night. They found that answer in Morristown.

Ten different players scored and the Panthers crashed the offensive boards early in a 67-49 win over the Morristown Yellow Jackets. In the process, the team hopes it solved some of the previous problems that resulted in slow starts and a lack of intensity, causing them to lose several games they probably should have won this year.

There were no slow-starting issues on this night. Knightstown scored early and often in breaking out to a 22-10 first quarter lead on the Yellow Jackets’ home court. After stumbling a little in the second quarter, the Panthers came out strong again after the halftime break and opened up a 54-33 lead.

The game was one of the better efforts this season by a team that has been struggling to find its identity. Knightstown is now 6-7 on the season with more winnable games on the horizon.

The Panthers showed a level of intensity from the opening tip Saturday, unlike the majority of the games the team has played this season. For the first time in nine games, Knightstown led at the end of the first quarter.

Part of that quick start was due to the team getting big man Zach Apollos involved in the offense from the onset. Zach scored 10 first quarter points – matching Morristown’s team total - in the opening eight minutes. He scored Knightstown’s first six points of the game, hitting a trey that put the Panthers up 6-2 early.

After a Yellow Jacket bucket that made it 6-4, the Panthers went on a 9-0 run and the game started to get out of hand early. Seth Apollos scored and Brice Biehl hit a jumper off a great pass from Zach Apollos.

Knightstown kept crashing the offensive glass, getting eight rebounds in the opening frame. Travis Titus came up with a steal and fed Biehl for another jumper, and Anthony Hibbert scored on a nice pass from Seth Apollos to make it 15-4.

Back-to-back treys by Morristown cut the lead to 15-10 and gave the Yellow Jacket fans reason to believe their team would made a game of this one. But Zach Apollos scored four straight points and Titus closed the opening period with a three-pointer to increase the lead to 22-10.

It was an impressive opening quarter for the Panthers, who hit on just 8-of-20 field goals, but came up with those eight offensive rebounds to control the momentum. Knightstown committed just four first quarter turnovers, well under half of what they’ve been averaging in the first period this season.

The Panthers committed 10 turnovers in the second quarter, temporarily losing the intensity they hard started the game with. Kelton Lane and Seth Apollos scored, and Biehl drilled another trey as Knightstown extended its lead to 29-12 with just under four minutes to play before the halftime break.

But the Panthers would be outscored 6-3 over those last four minutes. The team turned the ball over six times in the last three minutes of the half and led 32-18. The intensity returned with a flurry in the third quarter after Morristown scored to cut the margin to 32-20. Lane and Colton Kinnaman both scored six points in the quarter and Knightstown matched its first quarter outburst with 22 more points in the third frame.

The Panthers were leading 42-30 when coach John Howell went with a wholesale lineup change and had Kinnaman, Drew Martin, Jordan Back, Jordan Hauk and Anthony Hibbert on the floor with 3:30 to play. The five starters were resting.

The backups closed out the third quarter with an impressive 12-3 run to put the game out of reach. Kinnaman got it started with his first three-pointer, but the Yellow Jackets’ Dylan Langkabel answered with a three of his own.

But Kinnaman came right back down and nailed another trey. Hibbert then scored four straight points on two free throws and a bucket after a nice inside pass from Back. Kinnaman then hit Back with a great pass for two more and the Panther backups had increased the lead to 54-33 heading into the final frame.

In the fourth quarter Knightstown showed both sides of its personality. Lane scored five straight points on a lay-in and three-pointer to put the Panthers ahead 60-37. An 18-footer by Biehl held the margin at 23 points, 62-39, with just over four minutes to play in the game.

Enter the other side of the personality.

The Panthers turned the ball over seven times during the next three-plus minutes of action, allowing Morristown to put together a 10-0 run and cut the lead to 62-49 with 50 seconds on the game clock.

Buckets by Fields and Back, and a free throw from Martin, capped the scoring and secured the 18-point win that probably should have been a lot more.

Knightstown played perhaps its most unselfish basketball of the season, as 10 different players got into the scoring column. Zach Apollos scored 13 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had six steals. He did most of his damage in the first quarter.

Lane scored 11 second half points and also finished with 13 on the night. Biehl had another consistent outing with 12 points, hitting two first-half treys.

Hibbert had a workmanlike eight points, Kinnaman hit two treys for six points, Seth Apollos and Back both knocked down four markers.

Titus scored three points on a trey, Martin and Lane Fields scored two apiece.

Morristown’s Langkabel, a 6-2 freshman, led all scorers in the game with 22 points.

The Panthers improved their record to 6-7 on the season and will have a chance to get that back over the .500 mark this weekend. The boys host Blue River Friday night and travel to North Decatur Saturday.


Score By Quarters

Knightstown 22 10 22 13 - 67

Morristown 10 8 15 16 - 49

Knightstown (67)

Z. Apollos 13, Biehl 12, Lane 13, Hibbert 8, Kinnaman 6, S. Apollos 4, Back 4, Titus 3, Fields 2, Martin 2, Hauk 0.

3-pointers: Biehl 2, Z. Apollos, Kinnaman 2, Titus, Lane.

Totals: 26 8-15 67.

Morristown (49)

Langkabel 22, Nolen 11, Shannon 9, Jarvis 5, Tracy 2, Schenck 0, Haycock 0, Shelton 0, Cox 0.

3-pointers: Langkabel 4.

Totals: 17 11-17 49.



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