The Palmyra Panthers hung on in the latter stages of the game against Elmwood-Murdock to win the Nebraska Class C2-2 Subdistrict Finals.
Friday, February 25, 2022, 10:00 a.m. CST
PALMYRA — On a cold, snowy Thursday night, the Palmyra Panthers and Elmwood-Murdock Knights met at Palmyra High School for the Nebraska Class C2-2 Subdistrict Finals, however, both teams were anything but cold.
Four-seeded Elmwood-Murdock advanced in the previous round by defeating the Omaha Christian Academy Eagles 47-42 earlier in the week. For Palmyre, it was Bishop Bergan who was beaten 45-37.
Both teams walked out swinging the tip. Palmyra senior Andrew Waltke scored the game’s first points, but the Knights fought back with a triple from junior Reid Fletcher seconds later.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth, but Palmyra clung to a three-point, 11-8 lead late in the first.
The second quarter, however, was dominated by the Panthers. Palmyra scored thirteen points in the second quarter and held Elmwood-Murdock to just one point. The Panthers led 24-9 at the break.
Elmwood-Murdock head coach Aaron Pryor rallied the team in the locker room, and the Knights came out in the second half on the comeback trail. After losing 31-11 in the second half, Elmwood-Murdock responded with a three-pointer barrage from Fletcher and junior Nathan Rust, combined with transition baskets to put the game at 39-26 heading into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Elmwood-Murdock continued to play well on both ends of the court. Between forced turnovers and contested shots from the offensive end, the Knights cut the lead to single digits with less than a minute to play.
Palmyra junior Zach Fitzpatrick was fouled with 50 seconds left and made both free throws to win the game for the Panthers. Palmyra clinched their ticket to the district final by winning 53-48 at home.
“We were pretty excited when we found out that we were going to be hosting sub-districts (sub-districts),” Palmyra senior Andrew Waltke said after the win. “It feels good. It was our goal from the start, and it feels good to finally achieve it.”
Fitzpatrick led the Panthers in scoring with 13 points, followed by junior Hunter Pope with ten and Waltke with nine.
The Knights were led by Fletcher with 15, Rust with 14 and junior Henry Coleman with nine.
“We’re going to see who we’re going to play, and then we’re going to be film overloaded and absorb it all,” Waltke said. “I think we line up with anybody, so we’re excited to see who we’re going to have.”
Palmyra advance to the District Finals where they will be the 11th seed and face the sixth seed Norfolk Catholic, with time to be determined.