Knoxville — The Knoxville High School varsity boys' basketball team showed improvement but fell short in their Coaches vs. Cancer outing against Chariton Saturday night.
Knoxville struggled to score and did not make a basket until five minutes into the first quarter. Once they found a stride, the team was able to hit some fine shots from the outside to come within one by the end of the period, 11-10. Chariton's lead was assisted by four early points from free throws.
In the second, with the Panthers down 25-15, Senior Gerritt Davis seemingly began to play "Anything you can do, I can do better" as he and Chariton exchanged three-point shots. Davis was able to hit three consecutive triple shots on the run. Davis racked up 20 points in the game and was the Panthers' leading scorer.
Chariton went into halftime with a five-point lead, 34-29. The Panthers' shooting was off, and they finished the night hitting 24 of 62 attempted field goals.
Knoxville showed signs of life in the third and participated in a back-and-forth with Chariton. By the end of the third they had cut the Chargers' lead down to two, with a score of 47-45.
Late in the fourth, Chariton began to take charge by hitting several three-point baskets. They were up on the Panthers 64-54 with 2:12 left in the game. Knoxville was unable to overcome the deficit and Chariton was able to beat the Panthers for the second time this season, 73-65.
Coach Jeff Larson was pleased with the evening in regard to the Coaches vs. Cancer event. He felt his team didn't play well, but saw some improvements. He was glad to see Davis hit some shots from the outside to keep the team in the game. Larson said he had not seen that yet this year.
Larson said the team did not identify the lane well enough in the first half. The Panthers also did not step out for some shots.
"We worked hard and we played hard," Larson said. "We're making improvements."
Those improvements are all around, he added. He would have liked to have seen more offense.
Junior Nolan Wallace racked up 14 points for the Panthers, including four of six three-pointers made. Bryce Zoutte racked up nine, Chase Larson hit seven and six each were supplied by Chase Higginbotham and Trent Davis. Nathan Winters added three.
The Panthers travel to Oskaloosa Tuesday night (Jan. 28). Larson believes the team has the opportunity to win, as Knoxville won their last meeting and Oskaloosa stands at 1-11. The Panthers are at 4-10 on the season. Knoxville will host Newton Friday night.