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Knoch girls putting focus on defensive end

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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Knoch junior Allie Megahan practices at Knoch High School on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Knoch senior Matt Zanella practices at Knoch High School on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014.

New Knoch girls basketball coach Dave Peters teaches auto collision repair by day at Butler County Vocational-Technical School.

He’ll now have a major challenge in getting the dents out and putting the Knights program back in highway shape.

Peters inherits a team that went 2-10 in section play last season and 2-20 overall.

Knoch averaged just 28.6 points per game last season and didn’t have a scorer average in double figures.

But like any auto body shop, the first order of business is getting the framework taken care of, and Peters has a plan for that.

Part of a good basketball framework is numbers, and the turnout for the Knights belies a team that struggled last season.

“Throughout the summer, we had 15 here almost every day,” Peters said. “We had some leave and go to different sports, and we had some new ones show up on the first day. But they’re working hard.”

The solution to Knoch’s scoring woes might come on the other end of the floor.

“We’re concentrating more on defense,” Peters said. “We want to play a little more man-for-man than the zone that they played last year. We’re going to try and change the tempo, get some fast breaks and easy layups.”

With a week to go in the preseason, Peters is putting together a starting lineup for the Knights opener Friday at the Freeport Tip-off Tournament against the host Yellowjackets.

Senior Erica Hunter and juniors Alyssa Logan and Allie Megahan look to get considerable playing time this season.

Freshmen Sarah Armahizer and Kayla Grafton will be counted on to bolster an extremely young squad.

Preseason scrimmages might be more important to Knoch than some other schools, with a new system operated by virtually all new players.

“I wanted to see how they were playing defense,” Peters said. “I was shoveling them all in trying to get a look at them in a game. You see them in practice and doing drills, but you want to see them in a game and get a good look at them.”

Part of the new staff includes junior varsity coach Rachel Doutt and Joe Wiest, who will be the ninth-grade coach.

Cassidy Cygan will be the varsity assistant.

Peters also has to learn about new section rivals such as Mars and Highlands. He was an assistant with the Class AAAA Butler program, which had occasional nonsection games against some of Knoch’s Class AAA rivals.

The two games at Freeport next weekend also will double as a nostalgia trip for the neighboring Knights.

It will be the last time Knoch is scheduled to visit the Freeport gym, as that school is expected to move into the school district’s new middle school gymnasium, where varsity games will be hosted starting with 2015-16 campaign.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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