Knoxville — On what was already a special night, the Knoxville High School varsity girls' basketball team was able to snap a six-game losing streak with a 48-41 victory over the Chariton Chargers.
The Panthers, wearing their pink uniforms in honor of the annual Coaches vs. Cancer event Saturday night, were slow out of the gates and trailed the Chargers 11-6 after the first quarter. Ashley Hawkshead was able to hit the Panthers' first three-pointer of the night and brought the team to within 1 as the second quarter began.
The rim seemed to be the Panthers' enemy for much of the game, as several shots taken bounced in and out of the basket. Knoxville and Chariton both showed strong defense, as the game went into halftime at a 20-14 tie.
The Panthers' defense kept them in the game by slowing down Chariton's Allyson Showers as the game progressed. Showers accounted for 21 of the Chargers' points on the night.
Knoxville's offense grew stronger in the third quarter as well, assisted by a nice three-point shot by Emily Wallace. Chariton maintained the lead going into the fourth quarter, 30-26.
Wallace hit another three as the fourth got underway to bring the Panthers within one. Ricki Hall was fouled and able to tie the game on a free throw.
The last quarter was a back-and-forth as both teams had their share of hits and misses. The Panthers were able to get a lead of 46-41 with 1:23 left in the game. They were able to hold on to win teh game with a final of 48-41.
Coach Jim Uitermarkt said he was glad the team was able to make a run in the fourth. He added that the team missed many free thows and layups that they should have made. As for his team's effort to continue battling and put things together in the fourth quarter, he was pleased.
"We needed a win bad," Uitermarkt said. The team's last victory was also against Chariton on Dec. 16. Uitermarkt is proud of his team for finding a way to win by being able to get the ball inside. The throws made by Hawkshead's teammates, as well as some of Hawkshead's catches, helped ensure possession and the game.
Hawkshead led the team with 15 points on the night. Meredith Cunningham, Wallace and Hall each had 11 points.
Knoxville is at 6-7 on the season. The Panthers will travel to Oskaloosa Tuesday night (Jan. 28) and host Newton on Friday night.