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 5th Graders Finish 3rd in State Tournament - Panthers Defeat Speedway 34-20 to Claim 3rd Place

March 18, 2009 -  The Knightstown Panther fifth grade boys traveling basketball team completed a phenomenal season this past weekend with a deep run in the Class 1A-2A state tournament.

Knightstown finished third in the state against some pretty tough competition.

The weekend started Saturday with two pool play games. The Knightstown boys had already qualified for Sunday’s state final four by winning the semistate pool play the week before.

So coach Don House bumped the team up to the (3A-4A) division Saturday to see how they compared to the larger schools.

“Our crowning achievement for the year came Saturday with a victory against a 4A Center Grove team that had already qualified for the state final four in the big school (3A-4A) division,” House said. “The boys stepped up and beat them!”

Knightstown’s 39-36 win over Center Grove was due in part to a superb game by Coleman Wyatt, who was named co-MVP during the season. Wyatt led a solid team effort with 19 points.

House was proud of the effort put forth by his team.

“I knew we were getting a lot better, but beating one of the state’s best big schools helped us realize just how much better,” House said. “When we play with confidence, we can compete at a very high level.”

Center Grove had beaten Indian Creek by 12 points the day before. Most state observers think that Indian Creek is the best small school (1A-2A) team in the state, with Tipton being a close second.

“At this point we are definitely in the top five small school teams in the state and closing fast,” House said. “These boys are going to be fun to watch when they get to high school. We have the tallest fifth grader in the state in six-foot Coleman Wyatt. He’s not just tall, Coleman is a good athlete too.

“Jackson Edwards is one of the quickest and most talented ball handlers I have ever seen at this age. The rest of the team really contributes as well. Jarrett Weidner’s all around game has skyrocketed in every phase, and Logan Whitaker is an excellent shooter with a strong floor game.

“Ryan Fraser brings a high level of confidence to the team, along with an impressive over all skill set,” House said. “Adam Bundy and Owen Hunt are both tenacious defenders and competent ball handlers. Brock Harding has suddenly realized how quick he is and his confidence is growing at warp speed. And Josh House (the enforcer) has really learned how to use his size and strength to the team’s advantage.”

Unfortunately for the young Panthers, Sunday’s final four didn’t go quite as planned. Knightstown lost the state semifinal game to an excellent North Decatur team, 33-23. It was a much closer than the score would indicate.

The North Decatur team converted most of its free throws in the last minute when the Panther’s were forced to foul. The team played well and got a lot of good shots, but they just weren’t falling like usual.

Knightstown’s shooting touch returned in the game for third place. The Panthers beat a Speedway team that had knocked them out of the tournament last year.

Knightstown won this year, 34-20, to take third place in the state. Jackson Edwards (team Captain and co-MVP for the season) led a balanced scoring attack.

“It’s amazing to see how much the team has improved,” said coach David Bundy. “We kept thinking they were almost there, and then all of the sudden, they were there. We started playing real basketball. We went 13-5 down the stretch and avenged three of those five losses in other games.”

Most of this year’s team experienced a taste of success in the third grade by winning the state “Classic” (runner-up) Division. But as coach House put it, “That was nice, but this year was a lot more gratifying because we made our run in the winner’s bracket.”

 

 

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