Knox Central third in Holiday Shootout

Whitley County takes home title.

The Knox Central Panthers hosted the first annual Knox Central Holiday Shootout this past weekend. The Whitley County Colonels walked away with the title after defeating Knox Central 71-61 in round two and then Boyle County 55-54 in the championship game.

The Panthers (5-3) opened the tournament with a win over Powell County (3-5) by six points 89-83. Knox Central jumped out to a five point advantage by the end of the first quarter behind 11 points from Dustin Hensley that included two three pointers. Hensley tossed in nine more points in the second quarter to push the Panther lead to seven at the half, 39-32.

Knox Central came out with more intensity to open the second half. Matthew Barger scored the opening basket of the half and the Panther full court press forced two quick turnovers that allowed Dustin Hensley and Nate Cole to score on easy lay-ups to push the lead to 13 at 45-32.

Powell County continued to struggle at the offensive end allowing Central to score on their next four possessions to push the advantage to 20 points half way through the third quarter.

Knox Central’s lead remained in double digits through the third quarter and held on to a six point victory at 89-83 in their opening round of the tournament.

The Panthers faced off against the Whitley County Colonels (6-2) in round two of action on Saturday. The Colonels came out and jumped all over Knox Central in the opening minutes by hitting two three pointers and adding two more baskets for a 10-0 advantage. Matthew Barger finally got the Panthers on the score board with a three pointer and added another basket in the first quarter along with six points from Nate Cole to pull Knox Central to within three at the end of the quarter, 13-16.

Whitley County continued to control the tempo of the game forcing Knox Central into poor defensive plays that allowed the Colonels to extend their lead to seven by halftime 29-36.

Whitley extended their lead to 11 early in the third quarter. The Panthers clawed back to within four at 41-45 midways through the third but was unable to contain the Colonels as they pushed the lead back to nine by the end of the quarter and went on to finish off the Panthers by 10, 61-71.

As Whitely County moved on to face Boyle County in the championship game on Sunday, the Panthers had to settle for a consolation bid against Corbin earlier in the day.

Knox Central, like the Whitley County game, allowed the Redhounds (6-3) to gain an early advantage at 9-15. The Panthers fought back to a 21-20 lead at the end of the first behind baskets from Blaine Wyatt, a three pointer from Dustin Hensley and two baskets on the block by Hunter Tye.

Knox Central held off the Redhounds in the second quarter and took a seven point lead to the half at 40-33.

The Redhounds fought back in the third to within one point as the buzzer sounded to end the quarter and continued to trade baskets with the Panthers through the fourth quarter. Knox Central held on to a three point victory on a final lay in by Tanner Wells.

Head Coach Jamie Voight said after the Corbin game, “Our first two games were not very good. We struggled on the defensive end in both games. We fixed a lot of those things tonight [against Corbin].” Voight also added that the team should have back injured player Chad Marsee in about a week but is still waiting on news about Jeffrey Adams.

The Panthers will be back in action on Dec. 27 when they take on Butler (3-5) in the opening round of the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic.