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By David Sharp
Canton (19-7) scored the first eight points during their February 21, 2022 Class 2, District 6 girls first round district game at Schuyler County. The Lady Tigers took a 15-2 lead and powered to a 72-21 win.
Senior Elainia Pullium played her final basketball game for Knox County. The Lady Eagles finished with a 2-22 overall record.
Kenzie Hultz gave Canton a 19-4 advantage with 1:35 to play in the first quarter. Canton took a 21-8 lead after one period of play. Abby Becker canned a three ball with 35 ticks on the first quarter clock. Canton led 19-8.
Strong Canton defense helped the Lady Tigers go on a 20-6 second quarter run to a 41-14 halftime lead. Elainia Pullium scored with 36 seconds remaining in the second period for a 37-14 margin.
Nariah Clay put Canton on top of a 60-20 tally with 40 seconds to play in the third quarter. Jen Hinkle sank a free throw for what proved to be the final point of Knox County’s varsity girls’ basketball season with 3:40 remaining in the game.
Canton outscored Knox County 25-6 in terms of made field goals. Macie Fisher scored a game high 25 Canton points. Nariah Clay fired in 19 points. Macy Glasgow scored 13 points. Kielyn Ott scored six Lady Tiger points.
Canton advanced to the championship semifinals, losing a close contest to second seeded and eighth ranked in Class 2 Schuyler County by a 55-52 final score.
Knox County was able to recruit players from other sports to fill out their roster. The world we live in took its toll. At least two KCHS girls saw their minutes restricted or were unable to play while recovering from illness.
The upside is eight players are eligible to return next season. Six girls playing basketball this season are freshmen and sophomores. Junior Brianna Miller set a girl’s three point shooting record this season.
Abby Becker led Knox County with eight points. Jen Hinkle scored six points. Elainia Pullium scored four points. Brianna Miller scored three and Savannah Schrage added one point.
“There were smiles on faces, more than not,” Knox County coach James Dent said. “The one thing that I want to make sure people know is that we could have not had a season this year.”
Coach Dent was talking about low participation numbers. “I put out notices of the (preseason girls’ basketball) meeting. I honestly didn’t know who was going to show up or if we would have enough to have a team.”
“Half the team had to be talked into playing,” Coach Dent said. “(Basketball) is not their thing. In my view, they allowed us to have this season. I was thinking what if we didn’t have a season? What would that even look like?”
“I commend all of them for their commitment. They probably don’t understand it right now, but any success that this program has in the next five years, they are part of that. That will be part of their legacy.”
“I hope the community understands that,” James Dent said. “I’m glad we were able to have a team. It’s not fun. I went through two years of this as a basketball player. We had some high spots. We had some games that we lost that we still played well.”
“I’m proud of those games. This group will always be special because of that. Elainia didn’t play her junior year,” James Dent said of Lady Eagle senior Elainia Pullium.
“She came back. I didn’t have a hand in it. There were people in the school that understood we needed some kids to play.”
“For her to play was big. She did a lot of good things for us,” James Dent said. “She led the team in rebounds this year. She was a presence this year,” James Dent said talking about his lone 2022 Senior.”
“(Elainia Pullium) usually defended the other team’s best player. She always had a tough assignment every night. I’m proud of the way she carried it out.”