Christmas break is here and the Palmyra girls’ basketball team is heading into the layoff riding a two game winning streak. The Lady Panthers beat Marion County 56-36 Friday night.

“The girls are playing well,” Palmyra coach Chris Parsons said. “They are starting to feel confident about what we want to do.”

As with most of its games this year, Palmyra started scoring points right from the opening tipoff. The Lady Panthers built up a 16-10 lead by the time the opening quarter was over.

Megan Hooper led the charge as she scored 9 points in the first eight minutes of play.

In the second quarter, Marion County stayed with the Lady Panthers, but unlike previous times this season, the Lady Panthers did not lose the lead. Palmyra outscored the Lady Mustangs 14-12 to take a 30-22 lead into the break.

“We played really well,” Parsons said. “We let down a little in the second (quarter), but we recovered well.”

Hooper added another 4 points in the second quarter to bring her first half point total to 13. Hooper finished the night with a game-high 17 points.

Parsons said his team’s defense was the key.

In the second half, the Lady Panthers’ defense clamped down on Marion County. Palmyra outscored Marion County 15-4 to take control and set the tone for the final eight minutes of play.

Leading 45-26, Palmyra scored just three buckets in the fourth quarter. Hooper had one of them as did Alexis VanNostrand and Alexis Losson. VanNostrand finished the night with 8 points while Losson chipped in 5 points.

Katee Hinkle contributed 12 points for Palmyra with all of her scoring coming on three-pointers.

Marion County’s Kaelyn Spratt led the Lady Mustangs with 15 points while Devan Johnson chipped in eight.

With the win, Palmyra improves to 5-3 on the season. The Lady Panthers will be off until Dec. 28 when the travel to Highland for the Highland Tournament.

Panthers beat Mustangs 66-61

Trailing at the start of the fourth quarter, the Palmyra boys’ basketball team outscored Marion County 22-16 in the final eight minutes of play to beat the Mustangs 66-61.

Palmyra coach Brian Meny said the play of the game came with 48 second left when Josh Hultz took a charge. At that point the game was tied at 61-61. Marion County would not score for the rest of the game and the Panthers moved to one game over .500 heading into the Christmas break.

“That was a big momentum swing right there,” Meny said. “It was the play of the game.”

Palmyra outscored Marion County in every quarter except the opening quarter, but still trailed heading into the fourth. The Mustangs outscored Palmyra 15-11 in the first eight minutes of play. For the next two quarters, Palmyra outscored Marion County 17-16 and 15-14.

Meny said he wished he knew what he could do to get his team to score more in the first quarter, but the team won.

The Panthers once again had four players finish the night in double figures. Brock Butler led the team with 16 points while Trevor Meny and Bazil Kellar both contributed 14 points. Jordan Nutt finished the night with a double-double as he had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

“We have had real balanced scoring the last couple of games,” Meny said. “Great balance and I like that. Jordan (Nutt) finished with 14 rebounds and I like that too.”

Leading the way for Marion County was Clay Pollard. Pollard led all scorers with a game-high 26 points.

Meny had nothing but praise for Pollard.

“He played a great game,” Meny said. “A great great game.”

Palmyra will take a few days off for Christmas before returing to the hardwood on Dec. 28 for the Highland Tournament.