The Hannibal girls basketball team couldn't hold onto a double-digit lead in the second half of a 45-41 loss at Liberty on Tuesday night.

The Hannibal girls basketball team was primed to ring in the new year on a winning note Tuesday night.

The fourth quarter changed that.

Liberty soared back from an 11-point deficit through three quarters, netting 19 of the last 23 points of the game to edge the visiting Lady Pirates 45-41.

“We stuck with our game plan pretty well in the fourth quarter, but there were about three key turnovers that were part of their comeback and they got extremely hot shooting,” Hannibal head coach Ben Jamerson said. 

Keri Bareis and Emma Deien combined for 14 points in the third quarter to give Hannibal a 37-26 lead entering the final period. 

“We hit a couple 3-pointers there, attacked the basket and got steals on the defensive end,” Jamerson said of the third quarter. “We really did seize control there in the third quarter but the fourth turned against us.”

The Lady Pirates went cold from the field over the final eight minutes, managing just two field goals as their offensive struggles aided the Lady Eagles comeback.

Autumn Bigsby pulled Hannibal within 43-41 with 20 seconds remaining. 

Cari Schaefer, who finished with a game-high 20 points including 14 in the second half, knocked down a pair of free throws for Liberty with seven seconds left to secure the outcome.

“We got comfortable a little bit with a double-digit lead going into the fourth quarter, and Schaefer came out and hit some shots,” Jamerson said. “If we allow a girl like that to get some momentum, she can be a killer, and that's exactly what happened.” 

Bareis led the Lady Pirates with 11 points on the night, followed by Kaylee Falconer (10) and Bareis (9).

The Lady Pirates, who fell to 4-7, return to the court next week for the Warrenton Tournament.