The Knoxville Basketball Squads ventured to Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday to play Newton and while it was nice to play on the big stage for a game, the Panthers ultimately came away disappointed in both outcomes as the girls lost to the Cardinals 56-42 and the boys also fell 59-50 heard live on 95.3 KNIA. The girls started flat and could never fully recover, getting down by double figures early in the game. Twice they battled back to within four points only to see Newton go on a run to get the lead back to double digits. Cardinal started off face guarding Knoxville’s Hannah Dunkin and while it worked for a while, she ended up getting free and scored 16 points to lead the Panthers. Coach Matt Ritchhart told KNIA/KRLS Sports the week toll of a 4th game was in part the reason for the slow start.

Ritchhart: “Just couldn’t quite get it figured out at the beginning of the game, and we battled back, but just could quite get back into it and tired legs make it more difficult.”

Like the girls, the boys fell into an early hole they were never able to dig out of and while they closed the gap to eight in the 4th quarter Newton would always make a run to get back to a comfortable lead. Poor shooting and not being able to secure rebounds was Knoxville’s undoing. Landen Norris paced the Panthers with 22 points, Kaiden Smith played one of his best games of the season scoring ten points. The girls are now 9-8 while the boys are 10-6. Both teams continue their busy stretch of game Monday against Oskaloosa. You can hear that double header live on 95.3 KNIA.

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