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 WRAC Tourney Title Eludes Knightstown; Eastern Hancock Upsets Panthers 29-24

February 18, 2009 -  Knightstown’s ‘C’ basketball team picked a bad time to have its worst shooting night of the season. The Panthers missed all seven of their free throw attempts in the fourth quarter while Eastern Hancock knocked down nine freebies and upset Knightstown in the White River Athletic Conference Tournament 29-24.

The loss ended the Panther season with a 12-3 record, bringing with it the disappointment of closing an outstanding year on a sour note.

The game was tied heading into the final quarter, but Eastern Hancock’s 9-0 advantage from the free throw line made all of the difference.

“This was probably the worst shooting game we’ve had this season,” coach Darrin Haines said. “We had a lot of good looks, but just couldn’t get the ball to drop. Missing all of those free throws in the fourth quarter pretty much told the story.”

Knightstown beat Shenandoah in its other tournament game 41-30.

The battle against Eastern Hancock was not supposed to be that close. The Panthers had already beaten the Royals earlier this season, 48-35, when Nolan Hall drilled 22 points. But on this night, Hall and his teammates didn’t have the touch after the first quarter.

Hall and Zach Smith made it look like this would just be another game in the first quarter. Smith hit three field goals and scored six points in the opening frame, while Hall swished a three-pointer. Knightstown jumped out to an early 9-5 lead over the Royals.

But the Panthers went stone-cold from the field in the second quarter, getting just one point on a free throw from Cody Juday. The Royals tied the game at 10-all at halftime.

Knightstown hit just two shots in the third quarter, getting a trey from Brandon Carrender and a two-point field goal out of Cody McDowell. That tied the game at 15 apiece heading into the final six minutes.

The Panthers hit three shots in the fourth quarter, and all were treys by Dillon Pugsley. His nine points over the final six minutes would have kept Knightstown in the game if any of his teammates could have hit their free throws. But the Panthers went 0-for-7 from the charity stripe in the final frame, opening the door wide for the Royals to steal away the upset win.

Eastern Hancock scored nine points from the free throw line in the final frame, although they weren’t exactly lighting it up. The Royals attempted 14 freebies.

Pugsley’s nine fourth quarter points on those treys gave him team-high honors. He also had five rebounds and four steals. Smith scored six points and all of those came in the opening quarter. He contributed three rebounds and two steals. Carrender had three points and three rebounds, while Hall had three points, four rebounds, two steals and drew two offensive fouls on defense.

McDowell scored two points, had four boards and three steals. Juday added one point, while Clay Ratliff had three rebounds and a blocked shot.

Fouts led Eastern Hancock with 13 points, hitting 3-of-4 free throws in the fourth quarter. Collis added eight, Clark had four, Gilbert scored three and Hards had one. Knightstown 41 Shenandoah 30

The Panthers toyed with Shenandoah for three quarters before blowing the Raiders out in the final frame in another WRAC tourney game. The Panthers led by just one point entering the fourth quarter, but blew the game wide open with a 17-7 run over the last six minutes. This time, the team made good on 7-of-9 fourth quarter free throws.

The game was tied after one quarter at 10-10 when Nolan Hall canned a pair of three-pointers and Brandon Carrender and Zach Smith both hit fielders. Shenandoah took a 17-16 halftime lead, although Cody McDowell hit for four points and Smith added two more in the second frame.

Hall scored on a conventional three-point play and Knightstown got buckets from McDowell and Smith in the third frame. Dillon Pugsley added a free throw and the 8-6 third quarter put the Panthers up 24-23 entering the last quarter.

That’s when Knightstown made its run. Wes Hammer, Cody Juday and Clay Ratliff all hit field goals, and Hall scored on buckets twice. Carrender nailed all four of his free throw attempts, Pugsley added two more and Bobby Wyatt knocked down a freebie as the Panthers put up 17 fourth quarter points.

Hall finished with a game-high 13 points, also getting four rebounds, an assist, a steal and one blocked shot. Smith had six points, seven rebounds and three steals. Carrender scored six points and passed out three assists, while McDowell had six points and seven boards.

Pugsley scored three points and had two assists, and Ratliff had two points, four rebounds and an assist.

Wes Hammer and Cody Juday both scored two points and Bobby Wyatt added one.



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