Palmyra boys win Lenzini Tournament championship for first time in quarter century

Palmyra’s Bear Bock (2) spits two defenders for a shot during the Tony Lenzini basketball tournament championship game the Canton Tigers and the Palmyra Panthers, Saturday in Palmyra.  Mathew Kirby (Herald WhigCourier Post)

Palmyra's Bear Bock splits two defenders while scoring against Canton during Saturday night's championship game of the 81st Tony Lenzini Tournament in Palmyra. Mo. | Mathew Kirby photo

PALMYRA, Mo. — The wait is over.


“We all knew it had been a long time,” Palmyra senior point guard Bear Bock said. “It’s an awesome feeling.”

When the Bock-led Panthers captured the 81st Tony Lenzini Tournament boys basketball championship Saturday night it marked the first time Palmyra had won its own event since 1999.

“We wanted to bring the title back (to Palmyra),” Bock said following a 52-38 victory over Canton before a crowd of about 1,400.

Bock’s personal stat sheet of 18 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots helped power the Panthers (15-1) to their 10th straight win and their third tournament title of the winter. Palmyra had won earlier championships at Highland and Monroe City.

“I don’t care if I get zero points,” Bock said. “I’m just concerned about doing what I can to help this team get the (victory).”

Bock scored 12 of his points in the second half when Palmyra eventually pulled away in winning its 18th title in the long history of the Lenzini event. 

“The boys were ready to play,” Palmyra coach Brian Rea said. “Something like this makes memories for the kids and the community.”

Palmyra, which topped Monroe City 51-44 in the semifinals and handled Mark Twain 82-30 in the first round, posted a balanced attack behind Bock. Pierce White (9), Ryan McKinney (9) and Carson Hicks (8) combined for 26 points.

Palmyra cemented its victory with a 14-6 advantage in the final quarter.

“In the fourth quarter, we finally started executing the offense and moving the ball better,” Rea said.

Palmyra’s victory over Canton was its third of the season against the Tigers. Earlier wins came Dec. 1 (57-37) and Jan. 6 (66-43) in the finals of the Highland tourney.

“Palmyra just did what Palmyra does,” Canton coach Dalton Armontrout said. “Our defense was pretty good for three quarters and we played extremely hard. We just didn’t hit enough shots.”

Canton, which fell to 11-5, was led in scoring by Preston Brewer’s 11 points. Tyler Frazier collared seven rebounds.

Rea said Palmyra’s next task will be readying for the start of Clarence Cannon Conference play. The Panthers have yet to play a league game.

“We’ve still got (seven league games) ahead of us before we get to district play,” said Rea, whose club’s lone loss came Dec. 12 at Quincy Notre Dame 54-42.

In the third-place game, Van-Far (11-3) outlasted Monroe City (9-5) in three overtimes 68-66. Nikos Connaway led Van-Far with 31 points, while Waylon DeGrave (15) and Quincy Mayfield (15) combined for 30 Monroe City points.

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