Palmyra outscored Highland only one quarter on Friday night. It ended up being the difference in the ballgame.


A 17-2 third quarter run by the Lady Panthers helped the team survive a late charge by the Lady Cougars to come away with a 46-40 win.


Palmyra outscored Highland only one quarter on Friday night. It ended up being the difference in the ballgame.

A 17-2 third quarter run by the Lady Panthers helped the team survive a late charge by the Lady Cougars to come away with a 46-40 win.

“We came out of the gate well in the third quarter,” Palmyra head coach Kent O’Laughlin said. “It was a big quarter for us. We attacked the basket well, we saw open people well and we played super defense.”

After a back-and-forth first half, the Lady Panthers took ownership of the game in the third quarter. Coming out of the locker room after the half, Palmyra trailed Highland 18-16. Six minutes and 30 seconds later, Palmyra had built up a 28-18 lead before Highland finally got on the second half scoreboard.

Plamyra’s 12-0 run was born out of strong defensive play. The Lady Panthers got several stops and forced turnovers to get things going.

After Highland finally got on the board in the third, Palmyra didn’t let up. The Lady Panthers scored the last five points in the third to have a 33-20 lead with eight minutes left to play.

The Lady Cougars, however, were not done. Highland began to chip away at the Palmyra lead — mostly with the outside shot. Highland kept hitting from 3-point-land and with 20 seconds to go the in the game, Palmyra’ 13-point lead had evaporated and become just a two-point lead.

With the Lady Panthers up just 42-40, Highland fouled Taylor Baxter and sent her to the line for two shots. Palmyra had struggled to hit free throws in the fourth, but not this time. Baxter made both to give Palmyra a two-possesion lead. After the Lady Cougars failed to score on its next possession, Katie Serbin sank two free throws to give Palmyra the 46-40 win.

“We finally hit some free throws,” O’Laughlin said. “We had missed several in a row, and you have got to hit those late in the game. We finally hit those to open the game back up.”

The win brings Palmyra back to the .500 mark at 9-9. More importantly for the orange and black, knocking off Highland in the Clarence Cannon Conference opener puts Palmyra at 1-0 in conference play.

“Really what has happened up until today hasn’t mattered,” O’Laughlin said. “Today is the first conference game. This month and into Districts, is what everybody gets ready for. We’re 1-0 in conference, and that’s what matters.”

Although the second half was back-and-forth with sustained scoring runs, the first half was all about answering back.

Palmyra started off the scoring with a made free throw by Alexis Van Nostrand to go up 1-0. In a sign of things to come for the rest of the first half, Highland scored on its next trip down the floor hit a bucket to make the game 2-1.

The rest of the first quarter would play out like that. If Palmyra scored, Highland would answer right back. With 10 seconds left in the opening frame, Palmyra led 12-10. Highland’s Chelsea Brennan then hit two free throws to tie things up at 12 a side after one.

The Lady Cougars tried to pull away in quarter No. 2. Highland scored the first five points of the second quarter to pull out to at 17-12 lead. This time, it was time for Palmyra to respond. The Lady Panthers chipped away at the Highland lead and closed the gap to 18-16 at the half.

Baxter led Palmyra with a game-high 16 points. Serbin had 10 in the win.


Palmyra is off until Tuesday. The Lady Panthers will play another CCC foe, Centralia at 6 p.m.