For 12 minutes, the Hannibal seventh grade girls' basketball team played with Palmyra, but when the second half started, Palmyra came out shooting and never let up as the Jr. Lady Panthers seventh grade team beat the Jr. Lady Pirates 50-32 Thursday night.
"The girls are very excited," Palmyra coach Alysha Barnett said. "This is just our second win of the season. So this will give them a little more confidence to go into the second half of our season."
The star of Palmyra's offense was Savannah Neisen. Neisen scored 24 of the Jr. Lady Panthers' 50 points, with 20 of them coming in the final 12 minutes of the game.
"(Neisen) has come along as the season has progressed," Barnett said. "She has gotten a lot better down low and has more confidence now in herself and has gotten a lot more aggressive."
When the second half started, Neisen's team trailed 25-19 and it was Neisen who got hot and carried the Jr. Lady Panthers (2-5) all the way to the lead and a victory.
"We did much better in the second half," Barnett said. "We were taking care of the ball and our shots under the basket were a lot better than in the first half."
With 1:32 left in the third, Neisen and Palmyra took a lead 29-27 lead. Hannibal would tie the game at 29-29 12 seconds later, but that was the last time the game would be tied. By the end of the third quarter, Palmyra led 33-31.
Neisen scored 10 points in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Palmyra outscored Hannibal 17-1 with and another 10 points coming from Neisen.
Delanie Fohey finished the night with 12 points for Palmyra, 8 of them coming in the second half.
Hannibal scored just 7 points in the second half after scoring 25 in the first half.
"It was a tale of two halves," Hannibal coach Zach Campbell said. "We won the first half and lost the second half."
Barnett said her team was more prepared in the second half.
"I think we played a little bit more aggressive," Barnett said. "We were a little timid at the beginning and a little nervous. But after that wore off, they were more aggressive like I want them to be and played better as the game went on."
Palmyra opened the game with an 11-9 lead over Hannibal, but an 11-0 run by Hannibal to start the second quarter gave the Jr. Lady Pirates a 20-11 lead. While Palmyra fought back, the Jr. Lady Pirates held Palmyra off to take a 25-19 lead into the halftime break.
"It was tough," Campbell said. "We played a good first half, but they got into foul trouble in the second half and it really hurt us as we couldn't do the things we wanted to do."
Page 2 of 2 - Tamia Emerson and Morgan Miller led Hannibal in scoring, putting up a combined 28 points, 23 of which came in the first half. In the second half, Miller did not score before fouling out in the fourth quarter and Emerson was held to just five points.
"They are both solid," Campbell said of Miller and Emerson. "They both have a nose for the ball, getting to the basket, and knowing where to be."
Hannibal will be off until Monday when the Jr. Lady Pirates host Mexico while Palmyra will travel to Center where the Jr. Lady Panthers will play Mark Twain. Both tipoffs are scheduled for 5 p.m.