Thirteen games into the season and the Palmyra boys’ basketball team has a laundry list of accomplishments with a 7-6 record. The Panthers won the Monroe City Tournament and finished third at the Highland Tournament. However, the one thing the Panthers had not accomplished was winning a game on their home court.
Well, the wait is over as Palmyra beat Centralia 58-56 Friday night to get the Panthers’ first home win of the season.
“We finally got a win at home,” Palmyra coach Brian Meny said. “We played probably our best all around game of the year. We share the basketball and took great shots.”
Palmyra had two players finish the game with double-figure scoring. Sophmore Trevor Meny led the Panthers with 20 points while senior Will Funkenbush scored a career high 12 points.
“Funkenbush played really well,” Meny said. “He had 12 points and that is a career high for him at the varsity level.”
In all, seven different players scored for the Panthers.
“We got a lot of open shots,” Meny said. “We finally made the extra pass and it worked.”
But the win wasn’t a sure thing. With less than a minute left to play, the Panthers were trailing.
Down two, 56-54, with 30 seconds remaining, Jordan Nutt tied the game at 56-56 when he got to the rim for a layup. Centralia then took the ball out, but the Panthers’ defense came up big.
“We made a great defensive stand,” Meny said. “It was wonderful. We got the ball back with 18 second left and took the clock down to 8 seconds and took a time out.”
During that timeout, the Panthers drew up the play they wanted. But Palmyra never got off a shot.
“We put the ball in Trevor’s (Meny) hands,” coach Meny said. “Then it went to Brock (Butler) on the wing. Bazil Keller had a great screen and so did Trevor (Meny).”
With a second left on the clock, the two teams were about to go to overtime. But Butler was fouled and Panthers had a chance to get the win at the free throw line.
“Brock got fouled with 1.1 seconds left,” Meny said. “Butler hit his two free throws and we did it in regulation.”
Butler finished the night with 9 points.
Offensively Caleb Kizer had only one field goal for the Panthers, a three-pointer. But Meny singled out Kizer for his efforts on defense.
“Caleb Kizer sparked us off the bench,” Meny said. “Especially on the defensive end. A lot of kids did a good job with their roles and as a coach you appreciate that.”
Meny couln’t have been happier at how his team performed over the final eight seconds of the game.
“They were huge,” Meny said. “We work on this stuff in practice. (Bazil) Keller hit a great screen and Trevor (Meny) hit a great screen. The kids overall performed excellent in those last eight seconds.”
The two teams played to a 16-16 tie at the end of the opening quarter. Centralia outscored Palmyra 16-12 in the second quarter to take a 32-28 lead into the break.
Palmyra came back and outscored Centralia 13-10 in the third quarter and went into the final eight minutes of play trailing 42-41.
With the win, Palmyra improves to 8-6 on the year and 1-0 in Clarence Cannon Conference play. The Panthers will now prepare for the 70th Annual Tony Lenzini Tournament. Palmyra enters tourney play with the No. 2 seed and will play Mark Twain Tuesday night at 6 p.m.