The Palmyra girls' basketball team dominated Paris Thursday night in the semifinals of the Monroe City Tournament, to the tune of a 70-37 victory.
"We were pumped from the beginning," Palmyra senior Alexis Vannostrand said. "Yesterday at practice, we were ready to go. We just went out there and did what we did."
Palmyra head coach Chris Parsons was mostly pleased with his team's performance.
"We have got to do it for four quarters," Parsons said. "We know that if we allow a second quarter like that where we allow 25 points, we could be out of the ball game against a good team like Monroe City or Quincy Notre Dame."
Vannostrand led Palmyra in scoring with a game-high 16 points, 10 of which came in the opening quarter as the Lady Panthers jumped out to a 22-5 lead.
"I was just doing what they were giving me," Vannostrand said. "I got it in every once in a while and was dishing it. We were just making shots so it helped out."
But the game wasn't a cakewalk and Paris came roaring back in the second quarter.
The Lady Coyotes outscored Palmyra 25-19 in the second quarter. With 5:44 left in the first half, Palmyra held a 20 point lead, 34-14. From that point on, the Lady Coyotes started their comeback. Paris closed out the first half on a 16-7 run to get the Lady Coyotes within 11 points at the break. Payton Gruber hit a three-pointer from just inside the half court mark at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 41-30 at the intermission.
"We got a little lacksidasical," Vannostrand said. "But we picked it back up and we were fine."
"In the first quarter we did everything I asked them to do," Parsons said. "In the second quarter, it kind of got away from us on the defensive end. We allowed them to come off some screens and we weren't showing very good."
Gruber scored 11 of her team-high 16 points for Paris in the second quarter.
"We knew coming out that we had to control (Payton Gruber)," Parsons said. "We knew that she could light it up if we gave her the chance."
When the second half started, Palmyra had no intentions of letting Paris back in the game.
"We had a little talk about it at halftime," Parsons said. "In the second half we went back to business. I think the seven points we allowed in the second half kind of speaks for itself."
The Lady Panthers opened the third quarter with an 11-0 run. Paris finally recorded a bucket with 2:14 remaining in the third. Palmyra then closed out the third on another 6-0 run.
Page 2 of 2 - Leading 58-32 to start the forth quarter, the Lady Panthers continued the run they had in the third with another 6 points to go up 64-32 with 5:07 left before Paris' Gruber hit a trey.
After a pair of Lady Panther free throws, Palmyra took a 66-35 lead.
At that point, running clock was instituted for the remainder of the game.
Aside from Vannostrand, the Lady Panthers had three others finish in double figures.
Katee Hinkle and Evie Miles both finished with 11 points while Alexis Losson came off the bench to score 14 points. Losson scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half.
"We are capable of doing that night in and night out," Parsons said. "Our opening game at Bowling Green, we had all the shots but we did not knock them down. Tonight we had those shots and we did knock them down."
As a team, Palymra outrebounded Paris 23-15 and Lady Panther Megan Hooper finished with a game-high 8 boards to lead all rebounders.
Palmyra increased its lead to 68-35 before No. 25 hit a bucket for the Lady Coyotes' final points of the night.
With the win, Palmyra advances to play tournament host Monroe City on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. for the tournament championship.
"This was the only option for us," Parsons said. "We knew going into this game that we wanted to face Monroe City on Saturday night. They are a great basketball team and they have two of the best guards that I have seen in a long time. It is going to be a battle on Saturday night and we will be ready for it."