By David Sharp
Knox County (5-4) responded to an early nine point deficit with a 16-7 second quarter run, tying ninth ranked Palmyra (8-1) at 24 going into intermission.
The January 2, 2008 boys’ Highland Tournament championship semi-final match saw Panther junior guard Jonathon Nutt pour in a Highland Tournament single game record 40 points. The career high scoring outburst led Palmyra to a 63-46 victory.
Palmyra was able to shut down Knox County’s inside game in the second half. Knox County had better scoring balance, but could not put the ball through the cylinder often enough to hang with one of the top teams in Northeast Missourl. The Eagles turned the basketball over 23 times on the night.
"We played right with two teams ranked in the state’s opening poll right down to the wire," said Knox County coach Jesse Crawford. "There have been far more positives than negatives this week for us. Playing strong teams does nothing but improve our chances of winning our district later down the road."
"Jonathon Nutt put on a show," said Coach Crawford. "We spent an hour and a half in practice Wednesday working on how to defend him. When a kid throws 40 points down, you tip your hat and say he is a great player."
Jonathon Nutt also made defensive plays that effected the outcome. Cory Shultz scored 11 of his 13 Knox County points during the second half. Mitchel Penn came off the bench and scored four second half points. Palmyra limited the Eagles to 11 points in the third and again during the fourth quarter.
Knox County was outscored 18-11 in the third quarter and trailed 42-35 entering the final period. Jonathon Nutt scored 15 of the Panthers’ 21 fourth quarter points including six straight free throws.
Eagle senior Daniel McMahon was unable to play the final five minutes due to injury. The Panthers success at the free throw line turned an eight or nine point game to a 63-46 outcome. Alan Keller scored ten Palmyra points. The Panthers were 12-19 from the free throw line. Jonathon Nutt sank 11 of 14 free throw attempts.
Cory Shultz led the Eagles with 13 points. Daniel McMahon and Dennis Dent were in double figures with 11 points each. Mitchel Penn finished with four points. Zach Parrish tossed in a fourth quarter three ball and finished with three points. Shane Clouse and Cody Morgenstern ended with two points each.
Knox County went 7-15 from the free throw line on the night. Palmyra and Knox County sank three home run balls each as a team. Knox County took on Clark County for third place.