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Shenandoah girls race past Knightstown again

By RON GREESON - For The Courier-Times

MOUNT SUMMIT — The defense was stifling, at least for one half.

The Shenandoah varsity girls basketball team was at its dominating best on the defensive end Friday night in its opening-round game at the 2019 Henry County Tournament.

Racing out to a huge lead in the second quarter, the 12-4 Lady Raiders went on to a 67-27 win over Knightstown, punching a ticket for Saturday night’s 6 p.m. girls championship game.

Later in Shelton Gymnasium, the host Blue River team bested Tri 47-31 to move to 13-4 and take the slot opposite Shenandoah in the title tilt.

But before that game, it was defense, defense and more defense for the athletic Shenandoah team, which won in convincing fashion for the second time this season against the Lady Panthers.

In the early going, it appeared that 3-13 Knightstown might stay close, as neither team could score well, or handle the ball well, in the game’s opening minutes.

Shenandoah led only 6-1 with just over two minutes remaining in the first period, but nudged ahead 11-4 at the first break.

To say the second quarter was different for Shenandoah is a big understatement.

By the 5:25 mark of the second quarter, the Raiders had put 12 quick consecutive points on the scoreboard to lead 23-4, and the run wasn’t nearly over. Sixteen more consecutive points took the lead to 39-4 by halftime, as the defensive focus stayed razor sharp for Shenandoah, forcing a rash of Knightstown turnovers and missed shots, bewildering a struggling Panther team.

But to Knightstown’s credit, the second half was much better in all aspects for the black-clad Knightstown athletes. Senior guard Kaitlyn Jackson scored six points herself in the third quarter, and then added a trey in the fourth for a team-high nine points. Classmate Sidney Vise scored five points, Rena’ Witham three charity tosses, Emma-Kate Moore two free throws and Maggie Smith a two-point field goal.

Late in the game, juniors Trinidie Newby and Alexis Howard sank treys for the Panthers, who were outscored only 28-23 in the second half. But the better second half performance couldn’t get Knightstown back into the lopsided game.

“I don’t know what new to say but our struggles to score and hit shots continue, just like it has been the case for almost all season,” said second-year varsity Head Coach Charity Smucker of Knightstown. “Our girls did compete much better in the second half, and at the half I just said come out and play with some pride, and I think the girls did that. We have good kids that always try.”

Coach Smucker did admit that in the second quarter her team almost went into a shell in facing the swarming half-court defense of Shenandoah.

“I do think the players just got overwhelmed with the length and athleticism of some of the Raider players,” Smucker concluded. “They are dedicated and skilled basketball players.” Smucker concluded.

Knightstown returns to action Tuesday night at Lapel for a non-conference game.

It was the usual players that set the scoring pace for Shenandoah in sophomore standouts Erikka Hill and Kathryn Perry, but senior posts Sydney Campbell and Hannah Cole saw a lot of minutes and combined for double-figure totals of 13 points and, unofficially, 13 rebounds.

Hill had a game-high 18 points on 8-of-12 in two-point fielders, hitting five of her last six shots from the floor, and was rested for much of the second half. Likewise, Perry played little in the second half, scoring 15 points, with three treys, while sitting out much of the second half.

Campbell had 11 points in reserve for Shenandoah, hitting a three-point field goal in the second quarter, then scoring eight points in the second half. Cole had four big rebounds inside late in the game, hit two free throws, and both Hill and Perry received more than the usual rest in the back-to-back game nights.

“We didn’t start well tonight, but the girls played really well in the second quarter, and a pretty good third quarter,” said Shenandoah Head Coach Dameon Wyatt.

When asked about the strength of his team, Wyatt didn’t hesitate.

“We hang our hat on defense, we played well tonight, and for us to continue to have success, defense is the key,” the Raider coach added. “Our seniors Muterspaugh, Campbell, and Cole have done a great job handling their roles on the team.”

Shenandoah 67, Knightstown 27

KNIGHTSTOWN (27)

Vise 2-7 1-2 5, Jackson 3-10 2-4 9, Butler 0-4 0-4 0, Smith 1-5 0-0 2, Witham 0-3 3-4 3, Clark 0-5 0-0 0, Em. Moore 0-3 2-3 2, Happe 0-3 0-0 0, El. Moore 0-3 0-0 0, Newby 1-1 0-2 3, Howard 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 8-46 8-19 27.

SHENANDOAH (67)

Perry 5-10 2-3 15, Hill 8-12 2-3 18, Muterspaugh 1-5 4-6 7, Stewart 2-4 0-0 4, Soden 1-5 3-4 5, Fitch 2-7 1-4 5, Campbell 4-8 2-6 11, Cole 0-4 2-4 2. Totals 23-55 16-30 67.

Knightstown 4 0 10 13 - 27

Shenandoah 11 28 16 12 - 67

3-point goals – Knightstown 3 (Jackson, Newby, Howard), Shenandoah 5 (Perry 3, Muterspaugh, Campbell). Rebounds – Knightstown 29 (Butler 7, El. Moore 6), Shenandoah 37 (Campbell 9, Hill 8). Total fouls – Knightstown 21, Shenandoah 18. Turnovers – Knightstown 30, Shenandoah 15. Records – Knightstown 3-13, Shenandoah 12-4.