Palmyra boys show maturity with strong finish to put away Canton for third straight victory

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CANTON, Mo. — What a difference a year makes.

At least for the Palmyra boys basketball team.

“A year ago, I’m not sure we would have won a game like this,” Palmyra coach Brian Rea said.

Rea was assessing Friday night’s 64-52 victory over Canton, a game that saw the Panthers pull away down the stretch to raise their record to 3-0 and keep Canton winless at 0-3.

Palmyra demonstrated it was a bit more physical, possessed a bit more ballhandling ability and a bit more strength across its front line. That was a combination that was not always evident last season when the Panthers finished 14-12.

“We knew Canton would be tough,” Rea said. “I was pleased to see the way we finished the game off.”

Fueled by junior forward Carson Hicks, Palmyra took control of the game at the outset of the fourth quarter when it scored 13 of the first 15 points to build a 56-43 advantage. 

Hicks scored nine of his game-high 22 points in that decisive fourth period and 15 of his total in the second half.

“(Hicks) did a great job for us,” Rea said. “He was also the recipient of a lot of good passes from his teammates.”

Bear Bock (15) and Tyler Banta (12) were Palmyra’s pother double-figure scorers.

Bock was the most active player on the boards, finishing a game-leading nine. Hicks reeled in five.

“They were just more physical than us,” said Canton coach Dalton Armontrout, whose club opened the game with an 8-0 lead but found itself down 27-26 by intermission. “We gave them a game, but little things, little stretches hurt us. There’s a lot of season left, and we’ll get there.”

Preston Brewer paced Canton scoring with 14 points. Kaden Oliver added 11. Kyle Frazier and Brewer led Tiger rebounders with six apiece.

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