BY NICK MUDD
PressBox 790 Sports Reporter
PALMYRA — The host team of the Tony Lenzini Tournament will get another crack at bringing home the first-place crown for the first time in 21 years.
Palmyra picked up a 49-48 win over No. 3 seed Hannibal in the second semifinal of the night advancing to Saturday night’s championship game. The Panthers will play top-seeded and Class 3 No. 3 ranked Monroe City.
Palmyra head coach Ryan Wood had this to say about how his team played: “First half offensively was pretty good. In the second half, we came out slow and were moving well off the ball, but found a way to win.”
Off the tip, Palmyra would take an early 3-0 lead on a Zane Meyers catch and shoot three from the top of the key.
Pirates’ senior Tristen Terrill came right back at the Panthers and sliced his way through the lane to make a contested layup.
Later in the first, Palmyra would extend its lead off of another Zane Meyers three, and an Adam Goodwin layup.
Hannibal ended the first quarter with a Martez Scott three from the corner but the Panthers still held a 9-8 lead.
In the second quarter, Hannibal senior guard Treysn Roland would heat up and post seven-points in the second.
However, this would not be enough to take over the lead because the hosts got red hot from behind the arc. Four different Panthers would knock down shots from deep in the second.
Palmyra also commanded the boards in the first half out-rebounding Hannibal, 15-8. The Panthers also took excellent care of the basketball with only two turnovers in the first half — all of which helped lead to a 29-23 lead at the half.
Coming out of halftime Palmyra’s offense would stall. But, senior center Abe Haerr would make a pair of free throws and a jump shot. Quade Plunkett added a three-pointer also in the third. This would be the only offensive production for the Panthers in the third quarter.
Roland picked up from where he left off before the half scoring another five points in the third. Courtland Watson and Tristen Terril also combined for six.
Palmyra still carried a 38-34 lead into the fourth quarter.
Cortland Watson gave the Pirates a 40-38 lead on back-to-back three-pointers.
Palmyra trimmed the deficit to one when Aaron Stamper split a pair of free throws with 5:28 left in the game. Two minutes later, Stamper gave the Panthers a 41-40 lead by sinking a pair of freebies.
But Watson had another answer. The Pirate nailed his third trey of the game for a 43-41 lead.
Coming out of a timeout, Palmyra freshman Bear Bock knotted the score on a driving layup with 1:43 left on the clock.
Tristen Terrill followed with a pair of free throws to give Hannibal a 45-43 lead with 1:23 to play.
The lead would change sides once again as Bock drove inside for a layup and was fouled. Bock hit the free throw to complete the 3-point play for a 46-45 lead with under a minute remaining.
After Terrill hit two free throws for a 47-46 Pirate lead, Palmyra worked its offense until Stamper was fouled. The Panthers senior sank the game-winning free throws with less than 10 seconds left to play.
Hannibal was able to hoist up a contested three-pointer at the buzzer but it fell short.
Stamper led the Panthers with 12 points, while Meyers (9) and Haerr (8) combined for 17 points in the win. Bock added seven points and Plunkett finished with six.
Terrill paced the Pirates with a game-high 17 points while Watson added 15.
With the win, Palmyra will have a rematch against its Clarence Cannon Conference rivals. In addition to trying to end their two-decade championship drought, the Panthers look to deny Monroe City its third consecutive tournament title.
“We got outworked the last time we played Monroe City,” Wood said of his teams’ loss in the Monroe City Tournament championship earlier this season. “This time around we need to be able to come out and score. If we can do that, we will be in an excellent position.”
Saturday’s championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m.