The Palmyra girls basketball team was eight minutes away from having its season come to an end, but the Lady Panthers were not ready to give up just yet. Palmyra rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Blair Oaks 55-49 Wednesday night in Mexico.
“It was a great team win,” Palmyra coach Chris Parsons said. “We didn’t play good defense in the first half, but we made adjustments and the second half was ours.”
Heading into the fourth quarter, Palmyra trailed 41-38. But, the Lady Panthers rode a scoring spree that got them back in the game. The Lady Panthers continued that run in the fourth quarter as they outscored Blair Oaks 17-7 over the next eight minutes of play. Palmyra took the lead at 48-47 with 1:08 and never gave it up.
“The clock wouldn’t move fast enough,” Parsons said. “We worked so hard to get back. We just wanted to finish.”
Parsons singled out three of his players for their fourth quarter performances.
“(Alexis) VanNostrand, (Haylee) Nix, and (Evie) Miles hit some huge free throws,” Parsons said. “But, we all stepped up. (Allie) Dietrich and (Alexis) Losson fouled out so we had to step up.”
After allowing Blair Oaks to score 32 points in the first half, Palmyra held the Lady Falcons to just 16 points in the second half. Palmyra finished the fourth quarter with more points (17) than Blair Oaks had in the final 16 minutes of the game.
“We knew we had them if our defense did the job,” Parsons said. “And our defense did great (in the second half).”
Palmyra started the third quarter trailing Blair Oaks by nine. But the Lady Panthers chipped away and slowly climbed back into the game. At one point, the Lady Panthers got within one point of Blair Oaks with 2:36 left in the third, but Blair Oaks pushed the lead back to three points by the time the quarter ended.
“Our goal was to protect the lane,” Parsons said. In the first half, we didn’t do that. In the second half we forced shots from outside and made our run.”
Palmyra outscored Blair Oaks 15-9 in the third quarter.
It wasn’t just the end of the third quarter when Palmyra trailed. The Lady Panthers were down nine, 32-23, at the break and they also trailed by one, 13-12, at the end of the first quarter. But according to Parsons, the Lady Panthers were never worried.
“I don’t think so,” Parsons said. “We knew they were good and that we would be behind. We had a mindset that we weren’t quitting. We played a good third quarter.”
Page 2 of 2 - Three Lady Panthers finished the night in double-figures. VanNostrand led Palmryra with 17 points. Katee Hinkle turned in 11 points while Losson finished the night with 10.
Also scoring for Palmyra was Megan Hooper with 6 points and Dietrich who contributed 5 points. Emily Bross (three), Nix (two), and Miles (one) also scored for Palmyra.
Palmyra has now won 21 of its last 22 games including the last 13 straight. The Lady Panthers have not lost this year when they have scored 50 or more points in game.
Prior to Wednesday’s game, Blair Oaks had not lost since Jan. 11 when the Lady Falcons fell to St. James (for the second time. The loss to Palmyra was just the third loss of the season for Blair Oaks. The Lady Falcons finished the year 25-3.
“Being No. 2 in the state, we knew they were good,” Parsons said. “Their only two losses were to No. 1 St. James. They were a great team, but we matched up well.”
With the win, Palmyra advances to play North Tech (19-6) in the Elite 8.
“I don’t know much yet,” Parsons said. “That is (today’s) job.”
The two teams will face off Saturday in Moberly at Moberly Area Community College. Game time is slated for 7:45 p.m.
PALMYRA 55, BLAIR OAKS 48
Palmyra 12 11 15 17 - 55
Blair Oaks 13 19 9 7 - 48
Scoring: Palmyra - Alexis VanNostrand 17, Katee Hinkle 11, Alexis Losson 10, Megan Hooper 6, Allie Dietrich 5, Emily Bross 3, Haylee Nix 2, Evie Miles 1
Records: Palmyra 24-5, Blair Oaks 25-3