Dezi Jones broke the Hannibal individual season scoring record, but Palmyra led from start to finish for a 60-46 victory Tuesday night.
The Palmyra boys basketball team played the role of spoiler Tuesday night.
Hannibal high-scoring guard Dezi Jones entered the non-conference matchup tied with Kent Brown for the most points in a single season in a Pirate uniform.
Jones broke the record on a drive to the hoop with 3 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first quarter.
But Palmyra made sure Jones and the Pirates would not be celebrating anything else.
The Panthers led wire-to-wire for a 60-46 win.
“Quality win for us,” Palmyra coach Ryan Wood said. “It’s been several years since Palmyra had beaten Hannibal and they have been playing really well. To come in here and play the way we did, I could not be more proud of our effort.”
Jones entered the game averaging just under 29 points per game on the season. Palmyra threw different defenses at him and limited him to 19 points.
“We did a nice job of keeping him out of the lane tonight, which is where he is most effective,” the Panthers coach explained. “We kind of gave him different looks with a 2-3 zone, man-to-man and a box-and-one. Bill Nunnelly started out on him, then we put Ragar McKinney on him. All the kids did a tremendous job of staying in front of him and containing him.”
Jones mentioned the night was bittersweet.
“It’s a great feeling,” Jones said of breaking the record. “I have been working on my game for a long time. It means something to me individually, but as a whole, it doesn’t really matter because we lost.”
McKinney drained a 3-pointer from the wing to break a 2-all tie with 4:57 left in the opening frame. The Panthers did not relinquish the lead the rest of the game.
The Panthers led 14-6 after the first period and carried a 24-12 advantage at the half.
Jones hit a long jumper and a corner three on back-to-back possessions to pull the Pirates to within 26-20 with 5:24 left in the third.
McKinney had an answer.
The Panther junior started a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer and a drive.
McKinney finished with a game-high 23 points.
Jones knocked down a 3-pointer at the end of the third period to pull the Pirates to within 40-31 heading into the fourth.
Again, Palmyra answered.
The Panthers started the final frame on a 10-3 spree.
“We started to press, which gave them some trouble, but then they made adjustments and scored some easy shots on the back end,” Pirates coach Marty Hull said. “That run sealed the game.”
Hannibal missed 30 of its final 44 shots after the first period.
“We just were not making anything tonight,” Jones said of the Pirates shooting woes. “You have to make shots to win, and we didn’t make them tonight.”
Wyatt Waelder was the only other Pirate to score in double figures as he added 10 points in the loss.
Hull mentioned the game can serve as a learning tool for his Pirates (13-9).
“Sometimes you have good losses in the year,” the coach said. “We had won five in a row and were maybe feeling a little too good about ourselves, and this knocked us down some. Maybe we will come in and practice that much harder to get better.”
Peyton Plunkett added 11 points and 11 rebounds in the win for Palmyra (17-7), while Ragar Plunkett (9) and Bill Nunnelly (8) combined for 17 for the Panthers.
Wood mentioned his team is taking a different approach heading into postseason play.
“I told the guys I don’t want them feeling any pressure,” the Panthers coach said. “They just need to go out there and have some fun, and I think you saw that tonight.”