The Knox Central Panthers met their first 51st District opponent of the season on Jan. 2 in the Pineville Mountain Lions. The Panthers handed Pineville a 35 point loss behind a 33 point performance by Senior Matthew Barger.
Head Coach Jamie Voight said about the game, “I thought the second half of the game was a lot better than the first half. We came out with some intensity and we built a quick lead but then it evened out the rest of the half.”
“Even if we get some guys with fouls the intensity can not drop. We have to keep the same intensity that we start the game all the way through.”
The Panther’s Nate Cole opened up the game with a quick three. After a basket by Pineville’s Trent Lefevers, Knox Central scored six unanswered that included two baskets by Matthew Barger and one by Dustin Hensley to force Pineville Head Coach J.D. Strange to call a time out.
The Panthers continued to pour on the pressure that led to quick strike baskets. The score at the end of one quarter was 21-10 in favor of the Panthers.
Pineville regained its composure in the second quarter and played even with the Panthers. The Panthers led by 12 at the half, 41-29.
Knox Central upped the intensity in the opening minutes of the second half. Their pressure forced Pineville into turnovers that led to nine unanswered points to extend the lead to 50-29.
Pineville could not recover and trailed 72-47 at the end of three which ballooned to 95-60 by the time the final horn sounded.
“I think we are progressing but I don’t think this is the best we have played this year”, said Voight. “If you look at some of the losses like the Hopkinsville and Bryan Station ones; if we bring that intensity to a game like this then we could get a lot more.”
In other action, the Panthers traveled to Somerset where they competed in the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic. Knox Central went 2-2 in the tournament, defeating Butler and Somerset before falling to Hopkinsville and Warren Central.
Voight said about the tournament, “We went up against Hopkinsville for the right to go to the championship game and got beat at the buzzer 73-71. The next night we played Warren Central and didn’t start the game out very well. We battled and clawed back but came up short.
Coach Voight said he had heard a lot of talk about the upcoming region tournament but plans on keeping his team focused on each game. “We won’t overlook anybody”, said Voight.
Note: Knox Central defeated June Buchanan at home on Jan. 3, 100-61.