Knoxville and Oskaloosa were looking for their first win in the Little Hawkeye Conference, but only one would get it Friday night.
The Indians were that team as a 7-0 start was enough for them to pick up the 65-58 triumph over the Panthers.
The win snaps a four-game losing streak for Oskaloosa (2-4 overall, 1-2 LHC) while Knoxville falls to 0-6 and 0-2.
Oskaloosa scored the game’s first seven points as Drew Richmond had a basket and Clay Tucker nailed a 3-pointer to get the Indians going.
Offense was not a strong suit for either team and they combined to score just six points the rest of the quarter and none after the 2:43 mark.
Then the scoring picked up quite a bit in the second quarter as Oskaloosa had 15 points and Knoxville tallied 11 points in a span of just 4 minutes. Austin Redlich keyed the scoring surge for the Indians with seven of his game-high 23 points while Tyce Sarver, Drew Richmond, Spencer Medlin and Ryan Reiter all contributed a bucket.
After the scoring barrage, Oskaloosa held a 24-15 lead with 3:55 remaining in the half.
Davis scored on a driving layup with 2:41 left in the half to cut the margin to 26-21, but that would be the last points the Panthers would manage in the opening 16 minutes of play.
Two free throws by Tucker and another one by Redlich in the final minute put Oskaloosa on top 32-21 at intermission and seemingly in charge.
The second half started with a bucket by Sarver and an offensive rebound basket by Richmond following a steal by Sarver extended the lead to 36-21 — the biggest lead the Indians would enjoy on the night.
Knoxville was able to keep the deficit to around 10 for much of the third quarter as Oskaloosa just couldn’t quite put its LHC rival away.
With 2:51 left in the game, another layup by Davis pulled the Panthers to within 55-51, but a Sarver bucket and two more field goals from Redlich on the next three Oskaloosa trips down the floor pushed the led to 61-53 with 1:31 to go in the game.
A layup by Bryce Zoutte and a 3 from Ross Shelford made it a 61-58 game with 43 seconds remaining, but Oskaloosa connected on four free throws down the stretch to hold off the stubborn Panthers.
One reason why Knoxville was unable to mount much of a rally was because Oskaloosa wouldn’t give it a chance. The Indians turned the ball over just twice in the second half and 10 on the game.
“We came out really solid on the defensive end and wished we could have got the lead up more than we did,” Oskaloosa coach Zach Tremmel said. “We talked at halftime about getting it (lead) to 15 right away and we did that. We played not to lose instead of to win. Give Knoxville credit, they made some adjustments and made a game of it.”
Oskaloosa ends the pre-Christmas part of its schedule Tuesday night with a road contest with Mount Pleasant.