KNOXVILLE — The Knoxville Panthers opened regional play on Saturday at home when they hosted a familiar SCC foe in Chariton. The Panthers bounced back from a slow start and were able to finish strong on their way to a 44-33 regional quarterfinal win over the Chargers.
Knoxville got off to a slow start offensively as they found themselves trailing 8-4 after one quarter of play. Play picked up in the second quarter but they still found themselves behind 17-15 at the break.
The Panthers locked in on the defensive end and shifted the tide by outscoring the Chargers 12-4 in the third to take control. The offense continued in the fourth quarter as they were able to run to an 11-point victory.
Maggie Wilkins battle a tough shooting night, going just 5-of-19 but would finish with a game-high 19 points with four rebounds, four steals and two assists. Emma Dunkin added 15 points, five rebounds and four steals from a strong game from the sophomore guard. Marley McKay chipped in seven points and eight rebounds for the Panthers.
Perhaps more impressive was the Knoxville defense, who held Chariton to 27.9% shooting from the field and just 3-of-17 from three. Wilkins and Dunkin combined for eight steals on the night and held Chariton’s best shooter Emma Rector scoreless as she finished 0-of-7 from the floor. Avery Hall had a solid night for Chariton, ending with 18 points and eight rebounds.
Knoxville would win the rebounding battle 35-27 and were very good from the free throw line, going 11-of-17.
Knoxville (15-5) will hit the road on Wednesday at 7 p.m. when they go to No. 8 Roland-Story (15-4) for a regional semifinal matchup.