Matt Thomas is frustrated.


Following a 62-56 loss to Highland on Friday night, the Palmyra boys head coach unloaded on his team. Thomas listed off problem after problem for his now 6-12 team.


Matt Thomas is frustrated.

Following a 62-56 loss to Highland on Friday night, the Palmyra boys head coach unloaded on his team. Thomas listed off problem after problem for his now 6-12 team.

First on his list was turnovers. The Panthers have a goal to turn the ball over less than 18 times a game. The last two times the orange and black have done so, Palmyra has won. Against the Cougars, Palmyra had 12 in the first half and five in the third quarter to give them 17 in 24 minutes.

“Too many to count after that,” Thomas said.

Next on his list of grievances was the team inability to run the offense. Thomas said he would call plays in the huddle and only half the players on the floor would run the right play.

“We’ll call a play, and it’s like we’ve never run it before,” he said.

His last complaint was more of a complaint to Highland. The Cougars used its size advantage to control the glass and haul in rebounds for second, third and fourth chances. On the opening possession, Highland got three cracks at the basket before Palmyra got the rebound. After a Panther turnover, Highland grabbed yet another offensive board before getting fouled. The Cougars hit the free throw and led 1-0. Before even taking the ball across halfcourt, Palmyra trailed 1-0, had one turnover, and was being out-rebounded 4-1.

“I don’t know what to do right now,” Thomas said.

With all of Thomas’ complaints, the game could have been much worse had the Panthers not come alive late in the game.

Midway through the third quarter, Palmyra was up 31-27. For the next six minutes, Highland held Palmyra without a point. The Cougars went up 42-31 after three quarters.

In the fourth, Palmyra came alive. The Panthers protected the ball better, beat the Highland screen and starting hitting shots. A lot of Palmyra’s success was from beyond the arc. Palmyra picked up nine treys in the game, many of them in the fourth as Palmyra tried to come back. The Panthers pulled it to within four at 60-56 when Darius Thompson connected from downtown with 34 seconds left, but the clock proved to favor Highland and the Cougars came away with the lead.

Had the Panthers not made so many mistakes, the outcome may have been different. Thomas praised the Panthers’ free throw shooting — Palmyra went 11-for-14 from the charity stripe — and got offense out of players not named Austin Hinkle. Big picture, the loss had several positives, but Thomas wasn’t looking at the big picture.

“It’s the little things,” Thomas said. “All those little things that we harp on every dadgum day.”
 

Palmyra was led in scoring by Hinkle. Despite having a defender draped on him all night long, Hinkle still managed to score 22 points. Blayne White, who Thomas cited as having played hard all game long, chipped in 13 points. Jacob Bross also scored 11 in the Panthers’ loss.
 

Palmyra will remain home for its next game. On Tuesday, the Panthers will host Centralia in another Clarence Cannon Conference game.