KNOXVILLE — It was the final South Central Conference game of the season and the Knoxville Panthers welcomed the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Rockets to the Panther den. It was not a real easy win for the Panthers as they had to quell a few Rocket uprisings during the game. However, in the end it was the Panthers in the winner’s circle with a 55-45 victory.
Things were looking peachy for the Panthers after the first five minutes of play as they had an 11-2 lead. That surge was fueled by a three ball and a breakaway layup by Emma Dunkin, a pair of baskets by Maggie Wilkins and single baskets by Marley McKay and Tara Uitermarkt.
But the pesky Rockets would not let the Panthers get away. And inside bucket and a triple by Brooke Shafer cut the lead to 13-7 at the end one quarter of play.
The teams matched points for the first seven minutes of the second stanza and then a three by McKay and a breakaway by Wilkins gave the Panthers a 25-15 lead going into intermission.
Knoxville threatened to blow the game open to start the second half. A mid-range jumper by Dunkin, a long ball by McKay and a shot in the lane by Wilkins gave the Panthers a 32-15 lead.
The Rockets had an answer as a 13-0 run over the next four minutes cut the lead to four points at 32-28. In that run, the Rockets found Emalee Davis on the inside and she pounded home four baskets to go with a breakaway by Whitney Klyn and a trey by Shafer.
There was no panic in the Panther camp as McKay and Uitermarkt each drained a three and Wilkins connected on a breakaway to extend the Knoxville lead to 40-28 going into the final frame. A 5-2 run to open the final eight minutes extended the lead once more to 15 points.
The Rockets countered with a 8-0 surge behind a basket from near the free throw line and a three by Lily Hynick and a pair of free throws by Klyn.
Brittnay Bacorn sandwiched a rebound put back around a pair of inside baskets by Wilkins to put the Panthers up 51-39 with three minutes to go. The Rockets were running low on fuel and they had no more answerers.
“We showed better patience tonight,” Panther coach Jim Uitermarkt said. “Some big shots were hit by some different kids and that is great. Defensively we were able to keep the score down where we need it to be. We feel that if we can hold a team in the 40’s or less points, we should win. And we were able to answer their runs when things got tight.”
Wilkins led the Panthers with 23 points while McKay had a breakout night with 13 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Dunkin also joined the double figure group with 11 points and Bacorn yanked down six rebounds.
“We played well at times,” Rocket coach Tony Fenton said. “But we need to put a full game together. It seemed that just when we would get something going, turnovers would plague us.”
Davis led the Rockets with 12 points and Shafer chipped in with 11 points while Rylee German and Sarah Schutt led the rebounding with five apiece.
The Panthers are now 13-4 and 10-2 in the SCC and they will tangle with Martensdale-St. Marys Monday night. The Rockets fall to 7-11 and 4-8 in SCC play. They will encounter North Mahaska on Monday.
EBF 7 8 13 17 - 45
Knoxville 13 12 15 15 - 55
EBF scoring (FG FTM-FTA Pts) – Whitney Klyn 3 2-4 8, Brooke Shafer 4 1-3 11, Rylee German 2 1-2 5, Emalee Davis 6 0-0 12, Lily Hynick 3 0-0 7, Aliya Wagamon 1 0-0 2. Team 19 4-9 45. Three point goals (3) – Shafer 2, Hynick 1.
EBF rebounds (25) – Sarah Schutt 5, German 5, Klyn 4, Davis 4, Hynick 3, Wagamon 3, Shafer 1.
EBF steals (8) – Klyn 2, Davis 2, German 1, Hynick 1, Wagamon 1, Schutt 1.
EBF assists (9) – Shafer 2, Hynick 2, Schutt 2, Klyn 1, Davis 1, Wagamon 1.
Knoxville scoring (FG FTM-FTA Pts) – Maggie Wilkins 9 5-7 23, Marley McKay 4 2-2 13, Tara Uitermarkt 2 0-0 5, Ashton Finarty 0 1-2 1, Emma Dunkin 5 0-0 11, Brittany Bacorn 1 0-0 2. Team 21 8-11 55. Three point goals (5) – Mckay 3, Uitermarkt 1, Dunkin 1.
Knoxville rebounds (20) – Bacorn 6, McKay 6, Wilkins 4, Uitermarkt 2, Dunkin 1, Finarty 1.
Knoxville steals (12) – McKay 4, Uitermarkt 4, Wilkins 3, Bacorn 1.
Knoxville assists (9) – McKay 3, Wilkins 2, Dunkin 2, Uitermarkt 2.