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Clark County and Highland Win Tony Lenzini Titles

Clark County
and Highland Win Tony
Lenzini Titles

By David Sharp

Clark County (5-9) cracked off an
impressive 20-3 second quarter run in the boy’s championship game of an upset
filled 69th Annual Tony Lenzini Invitational Basketball Tournament
at Palmyra.

The fourth seeded Indians held off Palmyra
in the second half, winning by a 57-51 margin over host Palmyra (8-9).

Chase Bevans tossed in two Indian three
balls in the last 2:30 of the first half. Palmyra seemed as cold as the night
outside Panther Gym in the first half. Clark County got good shots most of the
game, and converted.

The Indians led 32-15 at halftime. Palmyra
trailed 39-29 at the three quarter pole after a 14-7 third quarter run. The Panthers
exploded on a 13-1 run, pulling within seven points with 2:29 remaining in the

Luke Ross blocked a shot on his defensive
end. The play lit the fuse for a decisive 11-4 Clark County run. The Indians
hit just enough free throws to win the game by the 57-51 margin.

“We were really struggling coming into this
tournament,” first year Clark County coach Adam Rung said.

“We struggled trying to find wins. The kids
really stuck together this week. They bought into what our mission was.”

“We corrected some of those mistakes we
were making and finished games. We got off to a good start. We got rolling in
the second quarter,” Coach Rung said.

“It started at the defensive end. We got
stops and defensive rebounds.”

“We got the ball inside. We challenged our
bigs,” Adam Rung said. “I thought they passed the test with flying colors.”

Clark County dumped top seeded Canton on a
buzzer beating Chase Bevans shot in overtime by a 58-57 score in the
championship semi-final round.

Second seeded Highland topped Monroe City
in the first round. Palmyra rallied for a 51-46 win in the championship
semi-finals. Top seeded Canton came together for a 70-54 win over Highland in
the boys’ third place game.

Mark Twain beat Monroe City 40-34 for the
Tony Lenzini Tournament boys’ consolation championship.

Highland improved their overall record to
11-4, winning the Palmyra Tournament girl’s championship by a 60-54 final score
over conference rival Monroe City. Ashton Luttrull led all scorers with 30
Highland points and 13 rebounds in the girl’s final.

Monroe City (12-4) closed the first half on
an eight point run. The Lady Panthers led 32-28 at the half. Highland executed
well on both ends in the second half. The Lady Cougars rebounded the basketball
very well, pulling down 31 team rebounds.

Monroe City pulled within a 50-47 score
around the four minute mark of the fourth quarter. Julie Schultz finished a
sharp looking Ashton Luttrull pass for a 56-49 Highland lead with 1:19 to play
in the game.

Monroe City kept fighting until the end.
Kiette Mundy sank a circus field goal and banged an NBA three ball, pulling the
Lady Panthers back to a 56-54 Highland lead with 36 seconds to play in the

Highland was able to turn their double
bonus free throw situation into a win. Ashton Luttrull and Julie Schultz sank
clutch free throws in the last 29 seconds for a 60-54 win.

Highland won the Palmyra Tournament
championship game for the first time since 1984. “We challenged our girls at
halftime to play better defense and rebound the ball better. That has been a
staple of our run in our last nine or ten games,” Highland coach Brad Dance

“We responded in the second half. All of
our girls stepped up and made big free throws down the stretch. Highland was 19
of 22 from the free throw line. Monroe City sank seven of their 12 chances.

“These girls aren’t satisfied because they
know we didn’t play well tonight,” Coach Dance said. “We won ugly tonight and
they know it. Good teams find a way to win.”

Taylor Wiseman scored 12 Highland points in the girl’s championship
game. Julie Schultz scored eight points. Sarah Plant and Abbey White added
three points each.

Monroe City was led by Kiette Mundy with 19
points. Kelly Winking was in double figures with 13 Panther points. “We made a
couple of mistakes on the offensive end that gave them easy buckets,” Monroe
City coach Bob Gilliam said.

“We didn’t get back on defense. I thought
we came out flat in the first half,” Bob Gilliam said. “We dug ourselves a hole
in the first quarter. I thought we came together and started playing as a team
in the second quarter.”

“We just weren’t playing basketball in the
third quarter and they capitalized on it. We fought right to the end. They
didn’t give up. We made a good run through the tournament. Playing in this
atmosphere is something we can build on.”

Fifth seeded Highland upended top girl’s
seed Palmyra 53-50 in the championship semi-finals. Palmyra topped Bowling
Green 53-40 for the girls’ third place award.

Fourth seeded Clark County was topped by
Highland in the first round. Clark County beat Canton 61-37 in the girl’s consolation
semi-finals. The Lady Indians took the consolation championship by a 60-32
final over Van-Far.