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Panthers Win 7th Straight on Senior Night, 53-43
February 25, 2009 - Knightstown’s varsity boys basketball team won two games without the services of starting swingman Seth Apollos, but his older brother Zach and the Panther seniors more than made up for the loss of the team’s second leading scorer.
While Seth Apollos was nursing his way back to health, teammates picked up the slack in leading the Panthers to wins over Hagerstown Wednesday (see related story, page 11) and Waldron Friday night.
On Senior Night Friday, it was, in fact, the seniors who made the difference in a 53-43 win over the Mohawks. After suffering through a struggling shooting night at Hagerstown (1-for-8), Knightstown senior Kelton Lane lit up the scoreboard in the home finale against Waldron, scoring a game-high 18 points, including seven markers in the opening and closing quarters.
The Panther senior class combined to score 36 of the team’s 53 points during their last appearance on the home court. One of the biggest crowds of the season was more than appreciative as Knightstown won its seventh straight game and improved its record to 12-7 on the season. The seven-game winning streak is the longest for a Knightstown boys basketball team since the 2005-06 team won nine straight before losing in the regional.
The Panthers didn’t look particularly good during the first half, trailing periodically in a first quarter that featured six lead changes. In the game’s first five minutes the Panthers hit just 3-of-11 field goals and turned the ball over three times. At that point the Mohawks held a 10-7 lead.
But Knightstown responded when Zach Apollos hit a long jumper and Kelton Lane drained a pair of free throws. That gave the Panthers a lead they would never relinquish.
Lane had seven first half points, Anthony Hibbert and Brice Biehl had five as Knightstown led just 24-20 at the halftime break. The team also got a lift when Travis Titus and Jordan Hauk came off of the bench and combined for five second-quarter points.
But the team was somewhat lethargic and sloppy in the first half, shooting just 9-of-24 from the field and committing 10 turnovers. Their biggest lead occurred at 18-12 after a three-pointer by Biehl, completing an 11-2 run that occurred over four minutes.
Knightstown shot a little better in the third quarter, connecting on 7-of-13 field goals. Zach Apollos scored six of his eight points in the third frame, knocking down six of the first eight points the team put up in the period. A steal and lay-in by Titus made in 34-22 with 3:33 left in the third. Lane scored four straight points and it was 38-27 when the senior lefty electrified the crowd by making an unbelievable shot, albeit a split-second too late.
In the waning seconds of the third quarter Lane rebounded a missed Waldron shot and threw the ball nearly the length of the court. The ball barely touched rim as it hit its target perfectly and the entire crowd let out a roar.
But the shot came about a half-second after the horn had sounded.
Knightstown momentarily let the Mohawks back into the game early in the fourth quarter. Five unanswered points cut the Panther lead to 38-32 and the locals had missed their first three shots of the closing period.
But the team immediately seized back the momentum when Apollos hit Biehl with a perfect pass for an inside two. The next time down the court, Biehl found Lane open for two more points. Titus hit a pair of free throws and that increased the Panther lead to 12 points.
A long trey from Lane was followed by a couple of Biehl free throws and Hibbert scoring on a nice pass from Apollos, upping the lead to 14 points. Lane’s two free throws made it 53-39 before Waldron ended the game with two meaningless buckets in the last minute.
Waldron had focused its defensive efforts on stopping Apollos, who had scored 38 points in last week’s previous game at Hagerstown. While Apollos was held to just eight markers in the game, he also had 12 rebounds and four assists. But on this night the Panthers didn’t need the big man to get the win. The seniors took care of that.
Lane finished with 18 points, hitting two treys in the process. Biehl and Hibbert scored nine apiece, while junior Titus scored seven and Hauk added two. Despite being held to eight points, Apollos finished the week with 46 points and 23 rebounds in the two games.
Perhaps more importantly, the Panthers got the two wins with Seth Apollos sitting at home due to illness. He is expected to return this week when the Panthers close the season at Rushville.
BY THE NUMBERS
Score By Quarters
Waldron 10 20 27 43
Knightstown 13 24 38 53
PLAYER FG FT-A TP REB
Zach Apollos 4-10 0-0 8 12
Brice Biehl 3-11 2-3 9 4
Kelton Lane 6-14 4-4 18 1
Anthony Hibbert 4-8 1-2 9 3
Jordan Back 0-2 0-2 0 2
Drew Martin 0-0 0-0 0 2
Jordan Hauk 1-1 0-0 2 2
Travis Titus 2-3 3-3 7 3
Totals: 20-49 10-14 53 29
3-point field goals: Lane 2, Biehl.
Turnovers: K – 19, W – 19.
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