KNIGHTSTOWN — After trailing 53-49 at the end of the third quarter, the Hauser boys basketball team was mounting a comeback after trailing 45-33 at the half.
But the Jets were overcome by unforced turnovers and a poor shooting effort in the fourth that halted the comeback, and Knightstown held on for 65-56 Mid-Hoosier Conference victory.
“Our inability to connect on our shots in the fourth really hurt,” Hauser assistant coach Griff Roth said. “Knights -town’s defense was tough all night in the 2-3 zone and made us ineffective in the final eight minutes.”
The Jets shot 3-of-13 from the field in the fourth quarter and 0-of-4 from the free-throw line.
“We just weren’t shooting the ball well in the fourth quarter,” Hauser senior Trey Shipley said. “We had some costly misses that just hurt us, and we weren’t connecting on our free throws.”
“We had a lot of opportunities to put ourselves in the driver’s seat,” Roth said. “We had a lot of transition shots that should’ve gone in, including a pair of layups. When you miss all your free throws in the quarter, it doesn’t help.”
The Jets (9-10, 5-4) came out firing at will in the third quarter, going on a 10-4 run that was sparked by two 3-point shots from guard Zach Johnson. Guard Rory Thayer connected on a 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining to narrow the deficit to four.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how our guys kept coming back,” Roth said. “To be down by as much as we were in the first quarter, and be able to get back into it by the fourth was excellent for our guys.”
Hauser was hurt early by the heavy shooting of the Panthers (11-8, 6-2). Knightstown went on an 18-2 run in the first quarter, led by forward Coleman Wyatt, who scored seven points in the run. The Jets trailed 20-6 after the first quarter.
The offensive attack of Hauser came alive in the second, with Shipley scoring eight points and Johnson seven.
The Jets outscored the Panthers 27-25 in the second quarter but trailed 45-33 at intermission.
Roth, who is taking the place of head coach Bob Nobbe, who had eye surgery, said missing their leader was tough to deal with.
“Not having him here was hard on the guys,” Roth said. “He’s day-to-day right now. These guys want him back just as bad as I do, and we hope to have him back by next week.”
Johnson finished with 15 points, while Shipley scored 13 and Thayer had 11.
“We have to come out attacking like we know we can,” Shipley said. “This wasn’t our best effort tonight. We had a solid second and third quarter, but we have to do that throughout the game.”