Palmyra boys control championship game from start to finish, win Monroe City tourney title

Palmyra boys

The Palmyra boys basketball team poses with the Palmyra girls team after they both won championships in the 98th annual Monroe City Tournament on Saturday night in Monroe City, Mo. | Photo courtesy Palmyra School District

MONROE CITY, Mo. — As far as Palmyra’s Bear Bock was concerned, the championship trophy for the Monroe City boys basketball tournament is back where it belongs.

“It’s been a long time since we won this tournament,” he said. “We’re bringing that trophy back home.”

Bock’s 14 points, including 12 in the first half when Palmyra took control of the game, helped power the Panthers past South Shelby 45-29 in Saturday night’s championship game of the 98th annual event.

“Winning this championship was one of our early season goals, along with getting better game by game,” said Bock, a 6-foot-4 junior forward.

The victory provided a clean sweep Saturday night for Palmyra basketball teams. Palmyra collected the girls championship with a 56-64 triumph, also over South Shelby.

The Palmyra boys’ title was its first since 2017 and 26th overall. South Shelby last won the Monroe City boys crown in 2011.

“These championships were good for our teams, and good for our community,” Palmyra coach Brian Rea said. “Everyone did their job.”

The Palmyra boys met little resistance in remaining unbeaten at 6-0. The Panthers were stronger up front and quicker around the perimeter. South Shelby (3-3) attempted to work the clock for much of the first three quarters to try and keep the game close, but found itself down 21-10 at the half and 31-12 going into the fourth quarter.

“We really got it going in the first half,” Bock said.

South Shelby wound up scoring five more points (17) in the final eight minutes of the game than it had during the first 24.

Carson Hicks, a 6-foot-3 junior who teams with Bock to give Palmyra an excellent one-two punch in the frontcourt, led all scorers with 18 points. At one point early in the fourth quarter, Hicks had single-handedly outscored South Shelby 18-14.

“We started out well and were able to get into a good flow,” Hicks said. “We had good movement and were also moving the ball well. I think we outworked them. We were able to control the inside.”

And what’s the future hold for the unbeaten Panthers?

“We’re not even close to where we can be,” said Hicks, who reeled in a game-leading 12 rebounds.

Rea praised both of his dominating big men, who combined for 32 points, 18 rebounds and three blocked shots. 

“Carson did a great job and was on the receiving end of some great passes,” Rea said. “Bear also did a great job on defense and getting the ball to Carson.”

Eli Carter, a 6-foot-4 senior, led South Shelby with 10 points — all in the fourth quarter. Noah Wilt, a 6-foot sophomore, had a South Shelby-leading six rebounds.

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