Fresh off its sixth straight win and a championship at the Highland Tournament, the Palmyra girls basketball team came out scoring right from the opening tip Tuesday night as the Lady Panthers beat Hannibal 54-33.
"It is a great win," Palmyra coach Chris Parsons said. "You are always worried about a big Highland Tournament victory that you are going to come in here and have a little bit of a lull. But playing in a big game like this, in the Pink Out game, I thought we came in and handled our own and played well most of the game."
Senior Megan Hooper was glad the team played well in front of a large crowd.
"It was exciting," Hooper said. "We had a big crowd and they were really supporting us. It was really nice."
Palmyra (9-4) opened the game with an 11-0 run. The Lady Panther defense didn't allow Hannibal to score until there was 3:16 left in the first quarter. By the time the opening quarter came to an end, the Lady Panthers were leading 19-4.
"We jumped out to a quick start there," Parsons said. "I think that almost might have been the death of us because it seemed like we kind of just slowed up and were happy with what we were doing."
Hooper led the way for Palmyra in the first quarter as she scored 8 of her game-high 14 points in the first quarter. Hooper also pulled down 10 rebounds to finish the night with a double-double.
"I knew Hannibal was going to push us," Hooper said. "They are a good team so I knew I had to play with my all and I think I did that."
Parsons was pleased with Hooper's play.
"She is aggressive on the boards," Parsons said. "She is one of those players that are sneakingly quick and can get around a lot of those bigger players that are usually guarding her and trying to block her out. Having that left hand is also pretty sneaky. She does a good job of sneaking in there for us."
Hannibal kept the score closer in the second quarter, but the Lady Panthers still outscored the Lady Pirates 11-8. Palmyra went into halftime leading 30-12.
"It didn't bog us down too much," Parsons said. "We were able to hang in there in the second quarter and go on with them. But to our credit, we kept fighting and pushing and kept the lead up around 20."
In the third quarter, Hannibal continued to improve, but it wasn't enough to cut into the Lady Panthers' lead as Palmyra outscored Hannibal 14-11.
With Palmyra leading 44-23 heading into the final eight minutes of play,
Hannibal was finally able to match the Lady Panthers point for point as each team scored 10 points.
Also scoring in double-figures for Palmyra was Allie Dietrich and Alexis Losson, both of whom had 10 points. Evie Miles just missed double-figures as she chipped in 9 points for the Lady Panthers.
"I don't know how many (Katee) Hinkle had for us tonight, but she is usually up there in the scoring," Parsons said. "The others kind of stepped up and we did move the ball around. Losson and Hooper both shot well. We find the open girl most of the time and we are getting better at finishing our shots."
Hooper said it wasn't just the starters contributing.
"We have a deep bench," Hooper said. "We are never tired. But if we are tired, we have somebody who can spell us and they are just as great."
Hannibal (5-6) did not have anyone in double-figures, but had four players with 5-plus points. Lauren Holliday led the Lady Pirates with 7 points while Melanie Blase and Paige Utterback both had 6 points. Anasia Elder finished the night with 5 points for Hannibal.
On the backboards, Blase finished tied for game-high with 10 rebounds.
Hannibal remains on the road as they travel to Macon on Thursday for a game while Palmyra will host Centralia in the Lady Panthers Clarence Cannon Conference opener on Friday.