To say that Knightstown's girls basketball team has a tough assignment today is the understatement of the month.
The Panthers (15-8) play Triton Central (22-1) at noon in the second game of the Class 2A regional tournament at Speedway. The other game, at 10 a.m., is between Heritage Christian and Speedway. The final is at 8 p.m.
Triton Central's only loss was to Southwestern early in the season, and the Tigers later avenged that loss in the Shelby County tournament. Coach Bryan Graham's team has an offensive average of 62.8 points per game and a defensive average of 31.1. Only four teams all season have broken 40 against the Tigers.
On top of that, Triton Central vanquished its three sectional opponents last week by a combined score of 193-69.
"They've definitely got a solid team," Knightstown Coach Dawn Basicker said. "Triton Central is not on our season schedule, but we played them in a summer shootout."
Triton Central, like Knightstown, is a team heavy with juniors and sophomores. According to Basicker, the Tigers' three standout players are Samantha Dewey, Natalie Stephenson and Sara Rogian.
"The Dewey girl is a fine young sophomore who averages over 20 points a game," Basicker said. "We're going to have to keep after her and push her off her spot."
Rogian is 6-foot-3 and will be opposite Knightstown junior center Emily Thomas.
"I think Emily is more athletic, but Rogian is taller and very strong," Basicker said. "It should be quite a battle."
Knightstown's other starters are juniors Jill Gross and Kiersten Hammer and sophomores Kori Biehl and Macy Burton. Gross, Thomas and Biehl have been the main scorers this season.
Basicker is hoping for improved free throw shooting. In the three sectional games, the Panthers were 43-of-88 at the foul line, a .489 percentage.
"We've struggled with free throws all year," Basicker said.
The Panthers got off to a slow start, having only a 1-3 record after the first four games. Then they won five in a row, with victories over South Decatur, North Decatur, Edinburgh, Blue River Valley and Union County.
With the sectional championship victory over Centerville, Knightstown reversed its regular-season loss to the Bulldogs.