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by Mark Cheffey
The PHS varsity boys basketball team struggled early and it cost them in their season debut under new coach, Brian Rea.
The Panthers had problems controlling the ball and scoring in the first half and could not recover in their 48-40 loss at Elsberry last Tuesday.
Palmyra managed just seven first half points in trailing by 18 before the half. They surged to out-score the Indians, 33-23, in the second half, but it still fell well short.
“Honestly, we played about as poorly as you could play a first half,” Rea said. “It was a little bit of jitters, and we turned the ball over way too many times. And it was a shock to our system.
An Adam Goodwin field goal and free throw were all the Panthers put on the scoreboard in the first quarter, and it didn’t get much better in the second when Bear Bock and Bronson Juette scored the team’s other four points before half.
The Panthers put up four field goals and three free throws in their 11-7 third-quarter run. And then Bock led a 22-16 charge in the fourth quarter with 10 points.
“We played much better in the second half, the fourth quarter especially,” Rea said. “We kind of figured, ‘I guess we’ve got to play,’ but it was too late.”
Rea was glad to see his team take the floor for real for the first time, and he now knows what the team needs to do to become better as the season progresses.
“Until we really get into the flow, their defense is going to have to be 100 percent, 100 percent of the time, and that’s going to have to carry us for a while until we get our varsity experience, because we don’t have many true varsity experienced players this year,” Rea said indicating valuing the ball and cutting down on turnovers is paramount right now.
“And, I think they know that,” Rea said. “They are learning how to, and they are not quite there yet, but I think we’ll get there.”
Bock led the team with 14 points and as followed by Laydin Lochman, seven, Alex Loman, five, Jon Lundberg, five, Goodwin, three, and Carson Hicks, two.
The Panthers were back in action this week with home games against Mark Twain, Tuesday, and Canton, Friday.
Fourth-seeded Palmyra will open Monroe City Tournament play at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, against fifth-seeded South Shelby.
11/23 at Els. L 40-48, 0-1
11/30 Mark Twain
12/6-11 M.C. Tournament
12/7 S.Shelby6 p.m.
12/14 at QND
12/17 at Unity (Ill.)
1/3-8 Highland Tourn.
1/11 at North Port
1/14 at Centralia 6 p.m.
1/17-22 Lenzini Tourn.
1/25 at Brookfield
2/1 at Clark County
2/4 South Shelby
2/8 at Monroe City
2/10 Bowling Green
2/15 at Hannibal 6 p.m.
2/18 Highland 6 p.m.