LEWISVILLE – Coming into Friday night’s second opening-round game of the Henry County Girls Basketball Tournament, both Knightstown and host Tri had not played a game since Tuesday, Dec. 22.
That may have been a factor in the low shooting percentages from the field posted by each team, but the Titans’ shooting merely was chilly while the Panthers’ was downright ice-cold as Tri romped to a 51-7 victory.
Since the result of this game counted in the Tri-Eastern Conference standings, Tri improved to 3-0 in the TEC and 6-3 overall while Knightstown slipped to records of 0-3 in the conference and 1-12 for the season.
Tri played Shenandoah for the championship Saturday evening. The Raiders defeated Blue River Valley 52-33 in Friday’s first game to reach the title contest.
“We hadn’t played for a while, so I didn’t know how we’d come out,” Tri Head Coach Jeff Miller said after the game. “I thought we executed and got some good looks, but a lot of our shots didn’t go in. But enough did, so we advanced to play tomorrow night. I thought our defense was good the entire game.”
The pesky Titan defense hounded the Panthers into miserable 1-for-32 (3.1 percent) shooting from the floor. Tri certainly wasn’t scorching the nets, either, but its 16-for-64 (25 percent) from the field was better.
Knightstown committed 33 turnovers in the contest compared to 16 for the tourney hosts. The Titans also won the battle of the boards 49-33.
“Shooting has troubled us all season,” Knightstown Head Coach Darren Kessler said afterward. “We’ve been averaging under 20 percent per game and it wasn’t that high tonight. We practice it every day, and games like this give us an opportunity to test it. We also failed to catch the ball eight or nine times. We’re still working with a relatively young team and want to give the players as much experience as possible.”
Tri rolled out to a 6-0 lead at the 5:42 mark of the first quarter after Maddie Burchett sank two free throws and a three-pointer and Bailey Parham hit one of two charity tosses.
The Panthers’ Mattie Manning hit a basket at the 4:27 mark of the opening period for Knightstown’s only field goal of the game.
The Titans then got a trey from MacKenzie Neeley, an Abi Clarke bucket, and another Burchett free throw, and led after one 12-2.
The Panthers did not score at all in the second quarter while Tri put 15 more points on the scoreboard, and the Titans held a 27-2 advantage at intermission.
Burchett scored another 10 points for the tourney hosts in the second period.
In the first half, the Panther were 1-of-19 from the floor and 0-for-2 from the free throw line, while the Titans shot 6-of-33 (18.2 percent) from the field and 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) from the charity stripe.
Tri scored the first six points of the third quarter for a 33-2 lead before Knightstown’s Rena’ Witham ended a 27-0 Titan run by hitting one of two free throws to make it 33-3 with 5:08 left in the third period.
Tri then tallied the final 12 points of the stanza and led 45-3 after three.
Parham scored six points and Burchett five for the Titans in that frame.
The Panthers’ Avery Bever hit a charity toss and teammate Taylor Reagan two more for the first three points of the fourth quarter, pulling Knightstown to within 45-6 at the 6:26 mark of the period.
Tri then got a three-pointer from Ally Wissler, a bucket from Cayla Claar, and a Maleah Hewitt free throw to offset a charity toss from the Panthers’ Brachelle Wisner to account for the 51-7 final score.
The Titans finished the game hitting 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) from the foul stripe for the game, compared to 5-of-10 (50 percent) for Knightstown.
Ten players scored for Tri, led by Burchett with a game-high 21 points, and Parham had nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Averi Phelps and Clarke had six rebounds apiece, and Hewitt and McKaela Betsch had four boards each.
“I didn’t start out that well shooting,” Burchett remarked afterward. “But I finally got some of my shots to drop and my teammates followed. We always like playing Shenandoah because they are good competition and help us prepare for our sectional and what may lie beyond.”
Witham led the Panthers in rebounding with seven boards., Wisner had five, and Bever and Reagan four apiece.
Knightstown plays at Hagerstown tonight in another TEC game.
Tri 51, Knightstown 7
Witham 0-8 1-2 1, Kopp 0-2 0-0 0, Manning 1-6 0-0 2, Bever 0-4 1-2 1, Reagan 0-2 2-2 2, Wisner 0-3 1-4 1, Smith 0-2 0-0 0, McGlothin 0-1 0-0 0, Beckstrom 0-2 0-0 0, Mefford 0-2 0-0 0, Bertram 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 1-32 5-10 7.
Burchett 5-15 8-10 21, Gentry 1-6 2-2 4, Neeley 1-3 0-0 3, Parham 4-10 1-2 9, Phelps 1-4 0-0 2, Harvey 1-4 0-0 3, Clarke 1-5 0-0 2, Wissler 1-4 1-2 4, Peggs 0-2 0-0 0, Betsch 0-2 0-0 0, Hewitt 0-2 1-2 1, Claar 1-3 0-0 2, Boyd 0-2 0-0 0, Rich 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-64 13-18 51.
3-point goals – Knightstown 0, Tri 6 (Burchett 3, Neeley, Harvey, Wissler). Rebounds – Knightstown 33 (Witham 7, Wisner 5, Bever 4, Reagan 4), Tri 49 (Parham 12, Phelps 6, Clarke 6, Betsch 4, Hewitt 4). Total fouls – Knightstown 14, Tri 10. Turnovers – Knightstown 33, Tri 16. Technical foul – Reagan. Records – Knightstown 1-12, 0-3 TEC; Tri 6-3, 3-0 TEC.