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Fifth Grade Panthers Win Semistate; Eye State Title
March 11, 2009 - The Knightstown’s fifth grade boy’s basketball team qualified for the state Final Four in the ISSAA State (1A & 2A) Tournament last weekend. During the last month, the team has reached peak performance by winning six of its last seven games and 11 of the last 14. Two of those three losses were later avenged with victories over the same teams. After dominating the Union County Invitational Tournament on Valentine’s Day in the Sectionals the Panthers repeated their stellar performance by winning back-to-back games in Noblesville at the Regionals two weeks ago.
Continuing on their roll they really showed up to play last weekend in Southport at the Semistate. The players hope to continue their hot streak into the state tournament.
“They’re peaking at the perfect time,” coach Don House said. “Everything is coming together just in time for the tournament season. If we keep bringing our ‘A’ game, we can knock off anybody. We’re doing great and I think we can keep right on rolling through State next week.”
After a disappointing loss to the Noblesville Millers on February 7, the Panthers bounced back strongly at the Union County Tournament. Six-foot center Colman Wyatt contributed an amazing 19-point-game to lead the team to victory over Centerville and a spot in the finals against the Union County Patriots. Strong defense and rebounding helped the Panthers defeat the host team and secure the title. Knightstown Intermediate School held a ceremony the following Tuesday to place the trophy in the school’s trophy case.
One week later, the boys added two more wins to the streak. All the players turned in a strong defensive effort and perfect free-throw shooting to defeat the Noblesville Millers. Jackson Edward, the team’s point guard, led all scorers with 16 points. During the next game, guard Jarret Wiedner contributed 13 points as the squad easily handled Frankton 39-11.
Ryan Fraser, the team’s starting forward, identified the three keys to the team’s recent success. “First, we’re playing good defense,” Fraser said. “At the beginning of the season we would play good defense in the fourth quarter, but now we are doing it all game. The second key is everyone pays attention, and we run our plays together instead of just a few of us doing it. And we are playing very well in the post; rebounding as a team.”
The team showed glimpses of greatness in the first half of the season, but they struggled to win against a few of the 4A schools from Indianapolis.
“Playing the big schools early in the season was rough, but we learned a lot,” coach House said. “Now that we are playing schools our own size, the experience has sure paid off.”
The Panthers will hit the practice courts hard this week in preparation for the season finale. Coach House wants to make sure that they tighten up all loose ends before the last tournament. “We want to leave nothing to chance,” said assistant coach Dave Bundy.
As of Monday, the tournament directors had not yet announced the time or opponent for the Panthers’ final four game.
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