The Knoxville girls played a full 32 minutes of inspired basketball Friday night, toppling cross-county rival Pella High 51-49; while the Pella High boys got a big boost from Schyler Kane to defeat the Panthers 73-45 in the final Little Hawkeye Conference game of the season for both squads.
The girls’ game saw the momentum traded back-and-forth between each team, with Pella High holding the upper hand in the first and third quarters, and Knoxville owning the second quarter and the decisive final frame. Led by the determined play of guards Taylor Carter and Meredith Cunningham, the Panthers rallied from a six-point deficit to tie the game at 45-45 and never trailed again, closing out the game from the free-throw line in the final minute.
Carter and Cunningham scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, to lead Knoxville, as the Panthers finish the regular season with a 5-16 overall record. Pella High’s Regan Cooper had 19 points in the loss, which drops Pella to 12-9 overall.
The two Marion County squads will have four days away from competition before they do the same thing all over again, as the Lady Dutch and Panthers square off again in the opening round of the Class 3A Regional Tournament at Pella High on Wednesday night.
A flurry of points in the second quarter and an unrelenting pressure defense put the Pella High boys out early on their way to their 28-point win. Leading the charge for the Little Dutch was the hot hand of Schyler Kane, who torched the Panthers for 19 points. Knoxville was led by Jake Stearns, who came off the bench to tally 10 points.
The win puts the Pella High boys at 12-7 overall on the season entering an unlikely non-conference match-up tonight with Harlan; which will be held in West Des Moines. Knoxville falls to 1-19 on the season. They’ll travel to Dallas Center-Grimes on Monday.