Nevada Daily Mail
SHELDON -- "It's not any fun for anybody to get embarrassed, but act like we've done it before. That's what we're trying to do." The Sheldon Panthers and head coach Tyler Judd didn't come into Tuesday night's contest against the Knights of Northeast Vernon County with the intent to run up the score, but that wasn't easy to see from the final score.
The Knights were never really in the game right from the start and the Panthers had little trouble cruising their way to a 77-21 victory.
The Panthers came into the night hoping to get back on the winning track after falling to Rich Hill in the championship game of the Appleton City Tournament on Saturday. That didn't seem to matter, however, as Judd and his team came into the night simply expecting to win.
"We expect to win now. We're changing that culture, getting our culture to where we expect to win," Judd said. "You know, a win like that, that's great and everything, but act like you've done it before. Be very business-like about it."
Judd's squad was all business throughout the night and it showed as they lit up the scoreboard right from the start, taking a 25-6 lead into the second quarter. Head coach Travis Cole's Knights didn't seem to have an answer for anything the Panthers threw at them and that lead ultimately grew even more and by the time all was said and done, the Panthers took a 47-11 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
It wasn't hard to see from the stats just what was the major issue for the Knights. Judd's defense dominated nearly every facet of the game right from the start, holding the Knights to just 17.6 percent shooting (3-for-17) and forcing 22 first-half turnovers.
"We pride ourself on our defense and when we don't do it, we get frustrated," Judd said. "And that's where it all stems from."
That dominance was made even more impressive by the fact that Judd said he had recently started working in some new schemes on both sides of the ball. Taking an entirely new scheme on either side of the ball into game competition for the first time can create a myriad of issues, but the Panthers adjusted without skipping a beat.
"I threw a ton of new stuff at them tonight," Judd said. "We're trying a couple of new defenses, couple of new offenses and I thought we executed pretty well."
Things never really got much better for the Knights as the game wore on. The Panthers continued to dictate the pace of the game on both sides of the ball, extending their lead on nearly every possession in the second half.
By game's end, it looked as though the Panthers could have simply stopped playing as the game was well in hand, but that isn't part of Judd's philosophy. "We try to keep the intensity up, no matter what the score is," he said. "We want to set an example for our younger kids.
By the time all was said and done, the Panthers took the victory by a final score of 77-21.
As a team, the Panthers finished the night shooting 50 percent from the field (32-for-64), while holding the Knights to just 22 percent (7-for-32) and won the rebounding battle, 31-23. Nearly all of Sheldon's lineup got into the scoring column, led by Taylor Belew with 23 points, Zach Enochs with 13 and Corey Baney with 11.
"We just have a very unselfish team," Judd said. "We want the next guy to take the shot."
Taylor Highfill led the offensive effort for the Knights with nine points.
With the win, the Panthers improved to 11-3 on the year, while the Knights fell to 0-14. The Panthers will be back in action on Friday, when they head back out on the road to take on the Hornets of Hume.
Next on the schedule for the Knights is Monday, Jan. 21, when they take on El Dorado Christian on the road.