Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

December 22, 2013

Injuries hinder girls' efforts in Newton

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Newton — Knoxville girls' varsity basketball coach Jim Uitermarkt was without two of his nine rotating players at tipoff of Friday night's game against Newton due to injuries. Unfortunately, the Panthers were unable to overcome this obstacle and lost their second game of the season, 60-47. 

Sierra Kendall was out due to a surgery and Carrie Chambers suffered an injury during the junior varsity game. This didn't seem to bother the rest of the team, as the Panthers jumped out to a lead early in the quarter, but failed to maintain it. The Cardinals were ahead 13-7 after the first quarter. 

Knoxville tied the game at 17 early in the second quarter on a free throw by Junior Taylor Carter. The Panthers' toughness took center stage in the second quarter, as the team was able to outscore Newton 15-9. Junior Meredith Cunningham was able to hit a shot at the buzzer to put the score at 23-22 in favor of Newton at the break. 

The Panthers kept up the pressure on the Cardinals and held Newton to only three points through the first three minutes. Newton struggled to find the bucket throughout much of the quarter to give the Panthers a 31-25 lead. Newton eventually found its mark and brought the score within three. Knoxville was up 36-33 as the final period began. 

Defensive struggles began to hit the Panthers and Newton was able to get a lead of 42-38. The Panthers' shooting went cold, and they lost the game 60-47. 

"Newton has some good girls inside and we constantly in foul trouble with our big girls all night," Uitermarkt said. "Newton took advantage of this and scored inside.  We also lost the rebounding part of the game for the first time this year and it was also a big factor in the loss."

Uitermarkt added that the second quarter went well for the team. 

"Jamie Hunt gave us good minutes off the bench during that time and made several plays," Uitermarkt said. "In the third I was really happy with how things went as we took the lead, but then let Newton back in it late in the third which proved to be the turning point in my mind.
 
"In the fourth quarter things went bad for us as we started to turn it over and force things.  Both of these things led to easy baskets for Newton and the momentum changed in a hurry.  We gave up 27 points in the fourth quarter. Our goal is to keep teams in single digits each quarter so we obviously fell way short of that," Uitermarkt added. 

Hunt ended the game with six points. Cunningham was the lead scorer with 14, followed by Carter with 10, Emily Wallace with seven, Ashley Hawkshead with six and Ricki Hail with four. 

"Hopefully Christmas break will give us a chance to get healthy and injuries healed so we can have a strong second half," Uitermarkt said. "We are 5-2 which is not too bad, but we also understand that we could easily be 7-0 at this point."

The Panthers are scheduled to travel to Norwalk for a boys' and girls' double-header on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. That Friday night, Jan. 10, Knoxville boys and girls will play host to Pella.