Don’t call it an upset: Canton defends Lenzini Tournament title, beats top-seeded Palmyra

Canton Lenzini title

The Canton girls basketball team captured the Tony Lenzini Tournament championship Saturday night with a 74-61 victory over Palmyra in Palmyra, Mo. | Submitted photo

PALMYRA, Mo. — An upset?

“I guess it depends who you talk to,” Canton girls basketball coach Danielle Baker said.

Canton successfully defended its Tony Lenzini Tournament championship Saturday night with a surprisingly easy 74-61 victory over top-seeded Palmyra. Canton had been seeded second going into the week-long, eight-school hoopfest.

The Tigers (12-6) controlled the majority of the game with a quicker backcourt and more physical frontcourt.

“Canton came out and punched us right in the mouth,” said Palmyra coach Tim Southers, whose team dropped to 14-4. “We stepped back, instead of stepping up. We never looked like we were the better team.”

For the exception of the second quarter when Palmyra outscored Canton 24-15 to forge a 31-31 tie at intermission, Canton held a 59-37 advantage, thanks mostly to the high-scoring tandem of senior Nariah Clay and sophomore Macy Glasgow.

Clay scored a career-high 32 points — 16 in each half — while Glasgow dropped in 25, getting 19 over the third and fourth quarters.

“We did come out and kind of punch them in the mouth,” Clay said. “We came out with a lot of intensity.”

Like her coach intimated, Glasgow wasn’t certain Canton’s win should be looked at as an upset.

“We won this tournament last year,” she said. “I don’t know if it should be considered an upset or not.”

Baker explained the team’s mindset coming into the game.

“One of our goals was to come out strong,” she said. “We felt that would be a key to setting the tone.”

Canton’s victory also avenged a 51-46 loss to Palmyra back in early December.

“That was only our second game of the season, and we’ve made some changes since then,” Baker said.

Canton players emphasized as nice as Saturday’s championship was, there’s a bigger picture that is commanding their attention.

“We don’t want this win to be the highlight of our season,” the 5-foot-10 Clay said. “We want to make a run in the (postseason) tournament.”

Glasgow agreed.

“We still have a ways to go, but we’ll get there,” she said.

Glasgow (7), Macie Fisher (7) and Clay (6) led Canton to a 39-32 rebounding edge, despite a monster game in the paint from Palmyra’s 6-foot-2 Candra King, who ended with 12 rebounds, five blocked shots and 15 points.

Sydney Compton (15), Taytum White (13) and Clare Williams (10) also scored in double figures for Palmyra. Williams also hauled down seven rebounds.

“We have to learn how to answer back when things are tough,” Southers said. “We want to be in a good place by (late February).”

This season’s Lenzini championship was the eighth overall for Canton. Palmyra’s title total remains at 20, four more than Clark County (16) and nine ahead of Monroe City (11).

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