By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
The Knox Central Panthers did what few expected and advanced to the semifinals of the 13th Region Tournament last season with a young team.
How young? Panthers’ head coach Brian Evans had just three juniors at his disposal a year ago and they were considered veterans as the upperclassmen on the team.
With a host of last year’s squad returning, including seniors Jacob Wilburn and Tobie Merida, expectations were fairly high for the Panthers heading into this season.
After winning five of the first six games of the season Knox Central has battled the injury bug and is close to getting healthy. Evans said he feels like his team will be at 100 percent soon, but admitted there is still a lot of work to do.
“We’re still very much piecing things together and I know it’s late in the year to be doing that,” Evans said. “We have some kids that have had to step in and play some roles they weren’t exactly expected to play and maybe hadn’t had much time to practice at those positions.
“But that’s all part of being a team and coming together when your team needs you,” he added. “We have a good group of kids here and I think will continue to work hard as the season winds down.”
The Panthers are starting to get healthy, having gotten Matthew Barger back this week, but are now without Chad Marsee for a few days.
With just five games left in the regular season, Evans and company will not have much time to waste once the team is at 100 percent.
Four of the final five games are on the road, which means players will have to return in hostile environments as they prepare for the upcoming district tournament.
“We have a lot of work to do, but I feel like our kids are up for the task,” Evans said. “We just have to go out and do the work.”