BY TRAVIS DAVID
O’FALLON — Having more turnovers than points in the first quarter of a game against an average team would be a tough start.
Doing so against the No. 6 ranked team in the state makes it nearly impossible to recover.
That is exactly what the Palmyra boy’s basketball team was up against Tuesday night in a Class 3 Sectional contest.
The Panthers turned the ball over eight times in their first 10 possessions of the game and fell behind 15-3 against host Christian.
Palmyra finished the opening eight minutes with nine turnovers, on 14 possessions, hoisted up just three shots and was limited to six points and trailed by 11 points heading into the second.
The double-digit deficit created by the early miscues proved to be too much to overcome in a 65-43 season-ending loss to the state-ranked Eagles.
“That is a pretty good team,” Palmyra coach Ryan Wood said of Christian. “We came out a little too hesitant and had way too many turnovers…we turned it over and could not get stops on the defensive end and the game just got away from us.”
Bear Bock scored on the Panthers’ opening possession of the second to cut the deficit to nine.
The Eagles responded with a three from the wing for a 20-8 lead with just over seven minutes left in the first half and the left continued to grow the rest of the game.
After a pair of threes in the first quarter, the Eagles hit four more in the second as they opened up a commanding 39-17 lead at the half.
“They shot the ball really well, especially there in the second quarter,” Wood said of the Eagles.
For the game, Christian connected on 10 shots from behind the arc, while the Panthers made just 15 total shots from the field.
Although it would be too little too late, the Panthers’ offense did find more success in the second half.
Zane Meyers hit a pair of treys in both the third and fourth quarters. The Panther tallied all of his team-high 14 points after intermission.
“I was proud of the fight the boys showed tonight,” Wood said of his team. “Things could have gone one of two ways in the second half. We could have folded like a tent, but the team continued to fight…I am proud of the way we responded in the second half.”
Meyers also added seven rebounds in the loss.
Alex Loman and freshman Bear Bock both added seven points. Bock pulled down nine rebounds for the Panthers.
“I thought we did a much better job of rebounding in the second half as well,” Wood said. “But in the first half, we just got dominated in all phases.”
Christian came away with 10 of its 15 offensive rebounds in the first half. For the game, the Eagles outrebounded Palmyra, 35-31.
Abe Haerr hauled in a game-high 11 boards in the loss while adding six points.
Christian had six players score at least six points in the win, led by Roddy Alexander’s game-best 17.
Palmyra finishes the season with a 14-9 record.
“Christian was just the better team tonight, but I am not taking anything away from our guys,” Wood said. “I love our team and would not trade them for anyone.
“We were able to overcome a lot of adversity this season. We won a district championship, which was no easy task…I am proud of this team.”
Christian (20-5) will face No. 3 Monroe City in Friday night’s state quarterfinal.