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Raiders roll past Panthers in county girls battle

By RON GREESON - For The Courier-Times

KNIGHTSTOWN – Coach Dameon Wyatt of the Shenandoah High School girls basketball team said his team had worked on defense this week in preparation for the game at Knightstown Thursday night.

It showed.

A smothering defense from the visiting Lady Raiders took control from the outset, and they went on to post an impressive 63-23 win over the host Lady Panthers in varsity girls basketball.

With the victory, the formerly-state ranked Shenandoah team moved to 5-2 on the season, while Knightstown now stands at 2-7.

It was a quick taking control of things for the visitors, right from the opening tip and first possession of the night.

The Raiders got that tip and had a deliberate offensive possession to start the game, and the result of the team’s pattern offense was a two-point fielder from Jenna Stewart.

Moments later, Kathryn Perry drained a three and Shenandoah went on from there. A spate of Knightstown turnovers early contributed to the run, with only a Jessica Butler field goal midway through the first quarter breaking the Raider string of points.

It was 18-2 at the end of the first quarter, and solid defensive efforts on the Panthers possession after possession continued throughout the game.

And it was a huge night for Shenandoah sophomore Erikka Hill, who hit 11 of 14 field goals, more than the entire Knightstown team could connect on. With two made free throws, Hill had a game-high 24 points, while classmate Kathryn Perry added 15.

While the Shenandoah defense was special on this night, the offense was very efficient as well, hitting 50 percent with 23 buckets on 46 shots. In two pointers, the Raiders were 19 of 36, and hit 13 of 20 charity tosses as a team. Non-starters for Shenandoah were 6-of-8 from the free throw line.

Twelve Raider players saw action in the game, with eight scoring, and six recorded points in the 15-point final period. Hill and Perry led the team in scoring, but Faith Muterspaugh added eight, and Jenna Stewart, Stormie Fitch and Sydney Campbell added four. Stewart was the unofficial leading rebounder for Shenandoah with eight.

But Knightstown actually won the rebounding battle, unofficially, as turnovers limited the Panther shot opportunities, and Knightstown could hit just eight field goals in the game, and just one in each of the first and second quarters.

The game disappointed Knightstown head varsity coach Charity Smucker.

“I think we took 16 shots in the whole first half, and you can’t expect to do something great with that few number of shots,” Smucker said afterward. “I don’t know what it is about playing Shenandoah, but we are a much better team than how we played tonight (Thursday).”

The second-year Knightstown varsity head coach spoke about her impression of the team’s play after a very slow start.

“It is frustrating that we came out and played a much better second half," Smucker stated, "but you can’t play just two quarters and have a chance to be competitive in the game.”

She had high praise for one of her players.

“I thought Emma-Kate Moore had an outstanding game, and played very hard on the defensive end,” Smucker explained. “Emma is not an offensive threat, but I think she may have really helped keep Kathryn Perry in check, and did her job on that part of her play.”

Perry was limited to 15 points, and just 10 field goal attempts, which is far less on both counts than is her usual game for the sophomore guard standout.

Smucker was pleased that her team battled close to the visiting Raiders for the last portion of the game, as Shenandoah outscored Knightstown only 22-19 over the last 14 minutes of the game.

Before that, however, it was total domination by the team from the Mid-Eastern Conference (MEC) over the Tri-Eastern Conference (TEC) Panthers.

For the game, nine Knightstown girls played, with seven reaching the scoring column. Senior Kaitlyn Jackson led with just six points, three two-point fielders in the second half. Classmate Sidney Vise contributed five, including a long trey at the end. Katie Clark added five free throws.

Butler had an unofficial team-leading eight rebounds, but scored just two points on the first quarter put-back. Rena’ Witham had a two-point bucket before fouling out, as did Emma-Kate Moore. Maggie Smith hit a late charity toss for the other Lady Panther point.

Shenandoah head varsity coach Dameon Wyatt was all smiles after his team’s impressive win.

“I thought we played really well defensively,” Wyatt said after a very brief talk with his charges after the game. “We focused on that (defense) this week, and we hope that kind of play continues.”

The Raider coach went on.

“Erikka (Hill) is finishing around the basket, and that is opening up a lot of things on offense for us," Wyatt remarked.

It was a variety of defenses for the Raiders in this game.

“We mix it all up, play a trapping defense, and we have some rules on defense,” Wyatt said. “We are going to trap whenever we get the chance. We had a quick start tonight, something that we haven’t had yet this season.”

Earlier in the night, the Knightstown junior varsity also struggled offensively in losing to Shenandoah, as the Lady Raiders won 33-18. Freshman Hannah Zody led the scoring for the Shenandoah junior varsity with 14 points, while Katie Craig added eight, including two three-pointers. Molly Cupp led the Knightstown scoring with seven points, including one three-point field goal.

Next up for Shenandoah is a home game on Saturday, a non-conference matinee with visiting Indianapolis Ritter. The junior varsity game is set for noon, with the varsity contest to follow. The Raiders resume MEC play Tuesday night at state-ranked Monroe Central.

Knightstown returns to action Tuesday night at home with a non-conference matchup versus Southwestern (Shelbyville). Another state-ranked squad, Class A No. 12 county foe Blue River, visits the Panthers on Thursday.

Knightstown will play Shenandoah in the Henry County Tourney Jan. 4 at Blue River.

Shenandoah 63, Knightstown 23

SHENANDOAH (63)

Perry 6-10 0-0 15, Soden 0-3 1-2 1, Cole 0-2 0-0 0, Muterspaugh 2-7 3-4 8, Hill 11-14 2-6 24, Fitch 2-3 0-0 4, Stewart 1-4 2-2 4, Campbell 1-3 2-2 4, Zody 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 3-4 3, Shepherd 0-0 0-0 0, Jenkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-46 13-20 63.

KNIGHTSTOWN (23)

Jackson 3-12 0-0 6, Vise 2-7 0-0 5, Butler 1-5 0-1 2, Witham 1-6 0-0 2, Em. Moore 1-4 0-0 2, Smith 0-1 1-2 1, Clark 0-0 5-6 5, Newby 0-0 0-0 0, Happe 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 8-39 6-9 23.

Shenandoah`18`13`17`15`-63

Knightstown`2`2`9`10`-23

3-point goals – Shenandoah 4 (Perry 3, Muterspaugh), Knightstown 1 (Vise). Rebounds – Shenandoah 22 (Stewart 8), Knightstown 26 (Butler 8). Total fouls – Shenandoah 15, Knightstown 16. Fouled out – Witham. Turnovers – Shenandoah 18, Knightstown 38. JV score – Shenandoah 33 (Zody 14), Knightstown 18. Records – Shenandoah 5-2, Knightstown 2-7.