But after a couple of seasons of being known as an average squad with a great player, the Lady Panthers are showing signs that they are no longer a one-woman show.
Senior guard Wendi Messer, the region's top-rated player, poured in 38 Monday against visiting Cawood, but she received plenty of help with three other Lady Panthers in double figures in an 84-58 rout.
"It's nice to see Wendi score 38, but our problem in the past few years is that Wendi would score 20 and nobody else would be scoring," Mills said. "This year, we have some other kids who can score. When they focus on Wendi, she's good enough to get it to the person it needs to go. I've got some good players other than Wendi."
Ashley Sizemore, a junior guard, added 11 points for Knox Central (12-9). Sophomores Brittany Jordan and Charli Sowders each scored 10.
The Lady Panthers wasted no time blowing the game open, hitting 10 of 17 shots in the first quarter on the way to building a 27-10 lead. Jordan had four baskets in the quarter and Sizemore added three.
"We came out early and played well," Mills said. "The Bell game (a 55-44 loss) left a stale taste in our mouth. We came out ready to play tonight. We were focused and took control of the game at the beginning."
The lead grew to 36-10 in the opening minute of the second period as Knox Central hit its first four shots.
Cawood recovered from Central's early knockout punch and reeled off 14 straight points behind Courtney Bolin and Emily Boggs to battle back to within 12.
"We had a little black cloud looming over us with the way we've been playing. We had a little left over from Saturday (a loss to Rockcastle County) when we didn't do anything at all," Cawood coach Bucky Burkhart said. "The bad start killed us. We were down 26 and played them even from there."
"Sometimes when you get up and shoot well early in the game, sometimes you lose your focus a little," Mills said. "We quit playing defense and rebounding, and they got in there and outhustled us. Coach Burkhart does a good job with his kids, and they always play hard."
Knox Central responded with a 9-2 run to close the half, pushing its lead to 48-29 at the break.
Boggs and Ashley Davenport each had three baskets as Cawood held its own against the Lady Panthers in the third quarter as the lead grew by only one, to 67-47.
The Trojanettes made an effort to work the ball inside to Davenport and Bolin and owned a 10-8 advantage on the boards in the period.
"I saw a lot of positive things," Burkhart said. "I saw some kids catching the ball and looking at the basket and trying to score. I saw some kids going to the offensive glass, which always shows you've got some heart.
"I also saw some kids playing defense and blocking out. We had to because they were a lot bigger than we were. We had to give up something, and they made a lot of easy shots."
Messer hit her first three shots in the fourth quarter pushed its lead to as many as 26 down the stretch. Cawood had opportunities to cut into the lead but connected on only four of 25 shots in a run-and-gun quarter.
Boggs scored 24 and Bolin added 10 to lead Cawood (6-12).
Cawood returns to action Saturday at home against Cordia in a 2 p.m. game.
Knox Central rolled to a 45-28 in the junior varsity game as Jenny Gray led the Lady Panthers with 13 points.
Samantha Brock scored six and Johnnie Parker added five to lead the Trojanettes. Alex Martinez, Miranda Davenport and Lyndsey Smith each added four. Amanda Helton and Bryttany Hensley each contributed two. Christina York scored one.
Cawood overpowered Knox Central 58-31 in the freshman game.
Miranda Davenport poured in 18 to lead Cawood (8-3). Christina York, Brittany Hensley and Lyndsey Smith each added seven. Courtney Lewis scored six. Johnnie Parker tossed in five. Megan Grubbs, Erica Sergent, Juree England and Kalee Carroll each scored two.
Whitney Tye led Knox Central with nine points.
Emily Boggs 8-23 6-10 24, Alex Martinez 1-3 1-3 3, Jyssica Williams 1-6 3-6 5, Sam Brock 1-2 2-3 4, Ashley Davenport 3-6 3-6 9, Denna Burkhart 0-5 2-7 2, Courtney Bolin 5-19 0-0 10, Amanda Helton 0-3 0-0 0, Chelsey Hensley 0-1 0-0 0, Courtney Lewis 0-0 1-2 1, Lyndsey Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Kalee Carroll 0-1 0-0 0, Bryttany Hensley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-69 18-37 58.
KNOX CENTRAL (12-9)
Wendi Messer 13-24 5-8 38, Ashley Sizemore 4-7 2-2 11, Charlie Sowders 4-9 2-6 10, Kayla Wilburn 2-5 5-8 9, Brittany Jordan 4-8 2-6 10, Bridget Moore 0-2 2-2 2, Medina Jackson 1-8 0-0 3, Rachel Scalf 0-0 1-2 1, Whitney Tye 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 28-63 19-34 84.
Cawood 10 19 18 11 -58
Knox Central 27 21 19 17 -84
3-point goals: Cawood 2-21 (Boggs 2-10, C. Hensley 0-1, Helton 0-1, Martinez 0-2, Williams 0-3, Burkhart 0-4), Knox Central 9-21 (Messer 7-11, Sizemore 1-3, Jackson 1-4, Jordan 0-1, Moore 0-2). Rebounds: Cawood 46 (Williams 11), Knox Central 41 (Wilburn 9). Turnovers: Cawood 22, Knox Central 19. Fouled out: None.