Kenmore seniors Erik Palmer, Deneris Hopkins and Deon’ta Collins entered Tuesday seeking a win in their final home basketball game.

After eight minutes, that goal was looking dicey as visiting Canton South held a double-digit lead in the Division II boys sectional semifinal.

Kenmore coach Brian Dawson remained confident, and his seniors stayed composed to lead the Cardinals to a 57-52 come-from-behind victory.

Kenmore (12-10) overcame a 17-4 first quarter deficit to Canton South (13-10) by turning up the pressure defensively and rebounding the ball more consistently.

“We played together much better the final three quarters,” said Palmer, a 6-foot-3 forward who finished with 16 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks.

Kenmore will visit Norton in a sectional final at 7 p.m. Friday. The Cardinals beat the host Panthers 59-50 in the opening game of the season.

“We definitely didn’t want to lose our last home game,” Hopkins said. “We wanted to win. I just knew we were going to come back.”

Canton South led 23-19 at halftime, but Kenmore fought back and led 38-37 after three quarters. The Cardinals maintained the lead the entire fourth quarter with contributions coming from Palmer, Hopkins, Collins and juniors Thomas Woods, Javere Salter and Demond Taylor.

“This was a win-or-go-home situation, and we wanted to win,” said Collins, who totaled six points, six rebounds and four steals.

Woods finished with 10 points and three blocks; Hopkins scored 10 points; Salter had eight points, six rebounds and three blocks; and Taylor had seven points, five rebounds, three assists. Salter and Taylor each had two steals.

“Canton South is a solid team,” Dawson said. “We felt this game was a coin toss coming in. Our defense sparked us and we had a big block where Demond Taylor pinned one off the backboard in the second quarter. That sort of sparked our comeback at that time. ... Erik had a big game. Grabbing 19 rebounds was huge. He was 4-of-6 at the free-throw line and Javere was 6-of-8 at the free-throw line.”

Senior Jake Daniska led Canton South with 21 points and four steals. Daniska scored 12 points in the first quarter and finished with five 3-pointers. Wildcats seniors Malik Campbell (10 points, eight rebounds) and Sa’Von Terrell (eight points, six rebounds) and junior Arthur Miles (seven points, six rebounds) also played well.

“We got away from what we were doing a lot in that first quarter,” Canton South coach Frank Spotleson said. “We started rushing some things, where we were extremely patient there in that first quarter. As we slowly but surely got out of that they started cutting into the lead. They caught fire and they got a little confidence in them, and it ended up steamrolling and snowballing on us.”

Salter left the gym with an ice pack on his elbow after a fall battling for a loose ball, but said he will be available to play Friday.

“We live off our defense,” Salter said. “Our defense is the main part of our game. When we hustle and play as a team, we can go out there and beat teams.”

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.