Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

December 7, 2012

Western edges Eastern for 2-0 conference start

Panthers emerge from back-and-forth contest with 2-point win.

RUSSIAVILLE — Following a first quarter of five ties and three lead changes Friday night at Richard R. Rea Gymnasium, Eastern and Western were locked into a Mid-Indiana Conference boys basketball battle as the Panthers clung to a 13-10 lead.

That storyline held true for most of the next 24 minutes as well, with momentum swinging like a pendulum as cheers shifted from one section of bleachers to another before Western emerged victorious, 50-48, improving to 2-0 in conference play and 2-2 overall.

“Job accomplished,” Western coach Bart Miller said. “The goal at the start of the night was to be 2-0 in the MIC and .500 overall at the end of the game. We’re happy to get the win, but it sure wasn’t the prettiest or easiest.”

For the Comets (0-3, 0-1) it was the toughest loss to swallow thus far in the early season.

“Yes, it hurts the most,” Eastern coach Kyle Bedwell said. “It’s a cross-county rival, and our kids played hard. I feel like we keep saying that, but we keep bringing it to another level. Give Western credit. They took care of business at the end, which is when you need to take care of business.”

Eastern missed three chances to tie over the final 40 seconds, missing two shots on one possession and failing to convert a Western turnover its next trip down the floor.

Following Western’s miscue under its own basket at :25, the Comets called timeout, but couldn’t capitalize on the possession as K.J. Myers missed from outside and Western rebounded.

“They kind of knocked us out of what we were running,” Bedwell said. “We had another timeout and that was my fault for not calling it to set something else up.”

 At the other end, Des Balentine missed the front end of a one-and-bonus with :09 showing but got his own rebound and the Panthers ran out the clock.

“We just gutted it out in the end, really,” Miller said. “We were careless with the ball, didn’t make good decisions a lot of the time, but give Eastern a ton of credit. When we had a chance to put a little bit of a knock-out punch on them, they came out throwing the punches.”

Behind a 10-2 second-quarter run, the Panthers pushed to their biggest lead of the night, a nine-point, 27-18 cushion with 1:57 on the clock.

The Comets closed the half with a 7-2 run courtesy of two Braden Gibson 3-pointers sandwiched around a Grant Cole free-throw to make it a 29-25 game at the half.

The Comets stormed out of the gate in the second half when Cole stole Western’s opening possession at midcourt and dunked at the other end, igniting an 11-2 Eastern run to make it 36-31 in favor of the visitors at 4:09.

Western answered with a 12-2 burst over the rest of the period, with Balentine scoring six straight to cap off the run and give the Panthers a 43-38 lead heading into the final frame.

Balentine scored 14 points for the Panthers, sharing top scoring honors with Austin Weaver, who came off the bench to knock down 4 of 5 treys. Ronnie Smith added 12 points. Austin Townsend snatched down a game-high 12 rebounds, including 10 in the first half, while Smith pulled down nine boards.

“Des showed up to play,” Miller said. “[Austin] Weaver knocked down some big shots for us. Austin [Townsend] and Ronnie [Smith] played great underneath. If they’re not getting those rebounds, we’re giving Eastern all the more shots and this very well could have turned into a loss.”

For the Comets, Cole led the way with 13 points, while Gibson added 12 and Myers chipped in 11.

“I give the kids a lot of credit for how hard they played,” Bedwell said. “I wasn’t sure how we would look because we were coming off the worst week of practice we’ve ever had, so I was glad to see the turnaround.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • SPL - KT082014 - Western football preview - pic FOOTBALL: Western preview Western's football team ran the ball on 575 of its 634 offensive plays last season. Three players combined to account for 424 of the rushing attempts. Expect a much different look from the Panthers under new coach Ronnie Jankovich.

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPL - KT082014 - Cass football preview - mug FOOTBALL: Cass preview Lewis Cass may lack experience entering this season, but not moxie. The Kings return just a handful of starters from last year’s team that finished 5-5, one of the few teams in recent program history that did not win more games than it lost.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT082014 - County boys XC preview - pic BOYS CROSS COUNTRY: Howard County preview Western's boys cross country team is ready to chase after more championship hardware. The Panthers are four-time defending Mid-Indiana Conference champions and two-time defending Logansport Sectional winners.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep roundup for Wednesday, Aug. 20 Taylor's boys soccer team got its season off to a flying start with a 5-1 victory over Western on Tuesday night, highlighted by a hat trick from Hunter Stephens. It marked the first time the Titans had beaten the Panthers in Mike Shane's tenure as coach.

    August 20, 2014

  • Sports briefs for Wednesday, Aug. 20 Visiting Judson University swept IU Kokomo 25-22, 25-22, 25-23 in NAIA volleyball action Tuesday night, spoiling the Cougars' home and season opener. Lindi Thomas led IUK with 16 kills on a .351 hitting percentage. She also had 10 digs.

    August 20, 2014

  • SPL - KT082014 - Ken de la Bastide column - column sig DE LA BASTIDE: Chase field is taking shape Lost in the media furor surrounding Tony Stewart was the fact that A.J. Almendinger recently qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Almendinger, driving for a single-car team, became the 12th different driver to score a win this season, qualifying the team for the championship hunt.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • TV Redskins Name Football [Duplicate] Simms, Dungy likely not to use 'Redskins' on TV NEW YORK (AP) — Two influential NFL voices — including CBS lead analyst Phil Simms, who will handle Washington's Week 4 game — said Monday they likely won't use the term "Redskins" when discussing the franchise. "My very first thought is it will be

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - KT081914 Northwestern football preview - pic FOOTBALL: Northwestern preview Northwestern's football program graduated a large senior class of more than 20 players from a 7-4 squad, leaving a fresh team that will play on different strengths. Coach John Hendryx said the Purple Tigers are a "pretty athletic group, and they're great kids. They're very, very coachable, they want to learn."

    August 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPL - KT081914 - Tipton football preview - mug FOOTBALL: Tipton preview Tipton football players are fully aware outsider expectations for their season are low due to massive graduation losses. But the confidence and motivation that comes with tradition isn’t shaken that easily.

    August 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPL - KT081914 - County girls XC preview - pic GIRLS XC: Howard County preview Eastern's girls cross country team continued its winning ways last season. The Comets won their fifth straight Mid-Indiana Conference title and also their fifth straight Logansport Sectional title. Western was the Comets' closest local challenger. The Panthers were runners-up in the conference meet. They finished third in the sectional.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
SportsKT twitter
More kokomotribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Deadly Landslides in Japan Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Arrests Witnessed in Ferguson Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting Heavy Rains Flood Arizona Roads US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.