(IRONTON, Mo.) – The South Iron Panthers and Lesterville Bearcats will battle for the Arcadia Valley Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament Championship Thursday night after winning in the semifinals Wednesday night on J-98. The top-seeded Panthers topped the Fredericktown Blackcats 78-47 in the first semifinal of the night. Brock Wakefield had 20 points and Jermarco Burse put in 17, while Drenin Dinkins and Austin Ruble both got 15, including some four-point plays.

Panthers head coach Dusty Dinkins said it’s good to have many contributors on offense.

Lesterville earned a close victory in the second semifinal, knocking off the second-seeded Ellington Whippets 59-56. Ellington led for most of the game but had trouble pulling away from the Bearcats. Lesterville’s Vince Mathes came up big with under two minutes to go.

James Gibson led the Bearcats with 17 points in the win. Bearcats head coach Anthony Caruso said he hopes his team can enjoy the chance to defend their tournament title.

Lesterville will rematch with South Iron in the title game Thursday night while Fredericktown and Ellington play for third place. Coverage of the two games will begin at 6:15 p.m. on J-98.