The Blue Demon basketball team could not shake the tenacious Knoxville Panthers on Tuesday night, losing 64-58 in Knoxville.
Albia jumped out early, grabbing a 5-0 lead on a field goal and three point goal by Blake Chance. The Panthers managed to tie the game at 5-5 but a three point shot by Nathan Crall regained the lead for the Blue Demons. Albia maintained the advantage throughout the first quarter with Chance hitting another three and Braden Messamaker dropping in two from outside the arch to claim a 22-18 margin.
The Blue Demons stubbornly held onto the margin during the second period. Knoxville cut the lead to 29-27 and 30-29 but Crall hit a a three at the six minute mark and Chance dropped a step back three at the 4:23 mark. With the score 30-29 Chance hit another three point goal and a free throw by Dawson Hermsen made the score 34-33 at the half.
In the second half Knoxville employed a 2-2-1 press and a zone on the half court that seemed provide some success. Nate Wynn scored inside after breaking the press to give Albia a 36-29 advantage but a steal and score play plus a three point goal cut the margin to 36-34 until Joe Teno scored with 5:27 left in the third quarter. The Blue Demons would score only three more points in the next three minutes while the Panthers put up nine points to take a 45-41 lead. Teno made good on a free throw after an offensive rebound and Chance hit a step back field goal to climb close at 47-43 but Knoxville managed to hold a 49-44 lead at the end of the third quarter.
When Knoxville hit a three point shot at the 6:03 mark the Panthers seemed to be putting the game away with a double digit lead 56-46, but a score in the lane by Wynn and another score by Wynn on a offensive rebound ignited both the Blue Demon offense and the defense. Albia began to make break the Knoxville 3/4 court press with Wynn scoring again and Chance hitting Teno on a give and go play. With 57 seconds left in the game, Chance scored on a drive to draw Albia to within two points at 60-58. Knoxville had some trouble at the free throw line, but Albia could not convert on two open three’s down the stretch and the Panthers were able to sink four free throws in the final 18 seconds to secure the win.
The Blue Demons were led in scoring by Chance with 24 points while Wynn had eight, Beau Leshen two, Crall six, Teno five, Messamaker eight, Hermsen one and Carson Stocker one. Chance had three assists while Crall, Hermsen, Stocker and Messamaker each had one. Wynn had six rebounds, Teno four, Chance four, Leshen two, Hermsen three, and Blake Stewart two. Wynn and Crall each had a steal.
Albia goes 0-1 on the season and 0-1 in the SCC. They will travel to Eddyville Friday.
The Albia JV boys’ basketball team lost 42-35 on Tuesday night in Knoxville.
The Blue Demons were able to hang close in the first half with Jackson DeMoss hitting a three point goal and adding two free throws. Jackson Pence was tough scoring inside collecting eight points in the paint. Albia face a 21-18 deficit at the half.
In the second half the Panthers were able to pull away toward the end of the contest though Liam Winfield dropped in a three point goal and a field goal while C.J. Ratliff hit three of four free throws. Pence continued dominance in the paint with two goals inside and two free throws.
Pence led the Blue Demon JV in scoring with 14 points while Winfield had five, Jackson DeMoss had seven, Nathan Wilson had three, Ratliff had five, and Travis Sheffield had one.
The Albia JV boys are 0-1 on the season. The Albia-Eddyville basketball game scheduled for tonight in Eddyville has been postponed due to inclement weather.