The Hannibal girls basketball team was unable to control Bowling Green's interior attack Monday night in a 53-35 loss to open the season.

The Hannibal girls basketball team executed its game plan to perfection in the early going of its season opener Monday night at Bowling Green.

Junior forward Autumn Bigsby corralled a defensive rebound and worked the ball ahead to fellow captain Keri Bareis, who converted a fast break. The next time up the court, sophomore Emma Deien nailed a step-back jumper to make it 10-4 with two minutes, 35 seconds left in the first quarter.

“The lead was all because of our energy and defensive pressure to start the game,” Hannibal coach Ben Jamerson said.

It didn't last long, however. 

Bowling Green seniors KateLynn Charlton and Jaylen Early combined for 30 points to dig the Lady Bobcats out of the hole and propel the hosts to a 53-35 win over Hannibal. 

The pair of 5-foot-11 forwards scored seven points in the final two and a half minutes of the first quarter. Junior Gabi Deters also scored twice for the Lady Bobcats in that timeframe, once off a turnover and another after cleaning up the boards for a put-back.

The resilient Lady Bobcats grew a 19-point halftime advantage as Hannibal was forced to mix and match its rotation due to foul trouble. 

Bowling Green took advantage inside.

“We had our game plan going the way we needed to,” Jamerson said. “We were holding them to some shots we felt good about them taking. But it seemed like they were either hitting the shot or they were getting the offensive rebound, putting it back up and in or getting fouled. That's where we really started getting in trouble allowing second-chance opportunities.”

At one point Bowling Green rattled off 15 consecutive points before freshman Sydney Hart stopped the bleeding for Hannibal with a bucket.

“The way we started out isn't what we do,” Bowling Green coach Megan Aubuchon said. “There were a little bit of jitters, first game, but once we settled down we got the shots we wanted on offense and got stops on defense and it just worked its way from there.”

Charlton (13) and Early (11) each were in the double-digit scoring column in the first half alone. Early scored seven points in the second quarter, including an old-fashioned 3-point play off a spin move to grow the edge to 28-13.

“Those two are veteran seniors and they're big posts,” Aubuchon said of Charlton and Early. “We've got to give them touches every time in the post. When we do that, good things happen.” 

Hannibal cut into its deficit by scoring seven points in the first 64 seconds of the second half to make it 35-23. Bigsby hit a 3-pointer sandwiched by a pair of scores by sophomore Kaylee Falconer, who finished with 10 points to tie Bareis for the team lead.

Bigsby, who recorded eight points, hit a jump shot to pull the Lady Pirates within 10 halfway through the third quarter. Bareis narrowed the deficit to 39-31 with one minute, 32 seconds left in the period.

“We talked about coming out aggressive in the second half and with confidence,” Jamerson said. “We pulled to within eight and I think we spent every ounce of energy that we had to get it that close.” 

With its tank running on empty, Hannibal mustered just one field goal over the final nine minutes, 32 seconds. 

“We gave ourselves a chance, but they essentially weathered the storm long enough to where they could pull away in the fourth quarter,” Jamerson said.

Hannibal (0-1) plays at the Winfield Tournament starting next Monday.