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 Shorthanded Panthers Falter Down the Stretch at Rushville

March 4, 2009 -  What was supposed to be a tune-up for this week’s boys basketball sectional didn’t exactly turn out that way, but the Knightstown Panthers nonetheless went up against some pretty good competition last Friday night at Rushville, losing 69-52 to complete their regular season with a 12-8 record.

Coach John Howell had to put his team on the floor for the third straight game without starting swingman and second-leading scorer Seth Apollos. He had missed the previous week of school with an illness and didn’t have enough practices in to play in the game.

Without the younger Apollos, the Panthers have no access to their second-leading scorer, top rebounder, number one assist man and team leader in steals.

Still, Knightstown was in this game from the onset and trailed by just two points until the waning seconds of the third quarter. Rushville led just 41-39 with 10 seconds left in the third frame before they closed out the game with a 28-13 run. The Panthers committed seven turnovers in the fourth quarter and hit just 9-of-24 field goals in the second half.

Knightstown spotted Rushville an early 11-4 lead by committing five turnovers in the game’s first 4 ½ minutes. Four of the Lions’ starting five stretched the tape to 6-8, 6-6, 6-4 and 6-3, and the Panthers rarely managed an offensive rebound, going one-and-done during a 4-for-12 shooting display in the opening frame.

Despite that, Knightstown rebounded from that 11-4 hole to cut the margin to 11-10 after one quarter. Zach Apollos got things started by stealing the ball from the 6-8 Dillon Sayman at midcourt, and then ramming home a dunk. He was fouled and completed the conventional three-point play.

On the very next trip down court, Apollos stole the ball from Sayman again. The Lion big man, who started because he was a senior and it was senior night, was sent to the bench for most of the rest of the game.

Travis Titus hit a bucket and later one of two free throws to pull the Panthers to within one point after the first eight minutes.

Rushville came out strong in the third quarter with a 12-5 run to take a 23-15 lead, which was their biggest of the first half. But the momentum turned again when Jordan Hauk fed a great pass to Jordan Back for two, and Anthony Hibbert scored on a nice pass from Zach Apollos. Apollos then hit back-to-back shots and the Panthers, who had started the game 4-of-16 from the field, had hit four straight shots. The Rushville lead disappeared when Titus knocked down two free throws to tie the game at 25 and complete a 10-2 Knightstown run.

Rushville’s 27-25 halftime lead was erased when Apollos scored on a rebound basket, but that would be the game’s last tie. Knightstown never led in this contest.

Apollos scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds in the third quarter and the Lions had no defensive answer for the Panther big man. When Hibbert fed Back with a great pass for two more points, Knightstown had pulled to within 41-39 inside the 30-second mark of the third period.

That’s when it all fell apart for the Panthers. Rushville went on a 17-6 run over the next four minutes as Knightstown committed foul after foul. With four minutes left in the game, the Lions were in the double bonus because the Panthers had been whistled for 11 personal fouls, compared to just four on Rushville. The Lions shot 14 free throws during a five-minute stretch of the game.

Despite going up against more big men than he has seen all season, Apollos was still the best player on the floor. He finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds – both game-highs. Kelton Lane played well, knocking down two three-pointers and finishing with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Jordan Back had six points and three boards, Travis Titus scored five, Anthony Hibbert and Brice Biehl each tallied four.

The Panthers are in action tonight (Wednesday) at Hagerstown in the Class 2A sectional. The team plays Union City at 6 p.m. and finished the year 4-2 against the sectional field.

Sectional play started at Hagerstown Tuesday night, but the two games played were completely well pas The Banner’s publication deadline.


Score By Quarters

Knightstown 10 25 39 52

Rushville 11 27 44 69

Knightstown (52)


Drew Martin 0-0 0-0 0 2

Anthony Hibbert 1-2 2-2 4 2

Travis Titus 1-3 3-4 5 2

Jordan Hauk 0-1 0-0 0 0

Brice Biehl 2-12 0-0 4 3

Kelton Lane 4-8 2-2 12 2

Zach Apollos 8-14 5-7 21 14

Jordan Back 3-6 0-0 6 3

Totals: 19-46 12-15 52 28

Rushville (69)


Spencer Coomer 6-11 5-8 17 7

Daniel Herbert 2-5 0-0 6 0

Zach Coomer 2-5 0-0 5 4

C.J. West 6-9 4-4 16 7

Jon Thompson 6-11 3-4 15 9

Anthony Harcourt 3-8 1-4 10 0

Dillon Sayman 0-1 0-0 0 3

Eric Wagner 0-1 0-0 0 0

Joas Knepp 0-0 0-0 0 0

Totals: 25-51 13-20 69 30

3-point field goals: K – Lane 2. R – Harcourt 3, Herbert 2, Z. Coomer.

Turnovers: K – 19. R – 11.



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