The Hannibal girls basketball team couldn't keep pace with Kirksville in the fourth quarter of a 46-33 road loss Friday night.

The Hannibal girls basketball team couldn't complete a season sweep of Kirksville in a 46-33 loss on the road at its North Central Missouri Conference rival Friday night.

Hannibal (6-11, 2-5 NCMC) trailed by just two points entering the fourth quarter but was outscored 19-8 over the final eight minutes of play as the host Lady Tigers pulled away.

Kirksville (4-18, 1-5) converted nine of 10 free throws in the final period to secure only its second win of its past 16 games and first of the conference season. 

“I thought we took pretty good care of the ball when they put pressure on us, having them send us to the free-throw line,” Kirksville coach Emily Powell said. “We didn’t let them dictate the pace of the game. We played to our strengths tonight, and that’s what helped us finish with the run we had.”

JoJo Nichting has spent much of the season injured. The junior playmaker didn't suit up for the Lady Tigers when Hannibal defeated Kirksville 51-44 on Dec. 21.

That didn't stop Nichting from coming off the bench Friday in her first game back to deliver two clutch buckets in the fourth. She netted eight points on the night to help secure the outcome.

“JoJo is probably their best player all-around,” Hannibal coach Ben Jamerson said. “We were letting her catch too deep, especially in that fourth quarter, and she was almost bullying her way to the basket and getting some shots at the free-throw line as well.”

The opponents managed a combined total of just four made field goals in the first quarter as Kirksville took a 6-4 edge through the opening stanza.

Rachel Vorkink netted six of her 10 points for Kirksville in the second quarter to help the Lady Tigers offense gain traction.

But Hannibal sophomore Emma Deien countered to knock down a three, and senior Mariah Strong added a pair of baskets in the second period as Hannibal briefly controlled the lead.

Deien finished with a team-high 12 points. 

Kirksville responded to take an 18-15 lead into the intermission.

Hannah Meyer accounted for all nine of Kirksville's points in the third quarter to maintain a slim edge. 

Kaylee Falconer scored eight of her 10 points after the break, but it wasn't enough for the Lady Pirates. 

Hannibal hurt itself at the line by making just six of 15 free-throw attempts in the loss. 

“It was a struggle shooting whether it was at the free-throw line, inside or outside,” Jamerson admitted. “We knocked down some shots there in the second quarter, but in the second half we just went ice cold. Kaylee was getting to the basket and we had some inside shots, but nothing was falling from the outside.

“We just couldn't quite get over the hump, it seemed like, throughout the game.”

The Lady Pirates play host to Boonville on Monday.

Hannibal JV falls on the road

The Hannibal junior varsity team fell 42-33 at Kirksville on Friday.

Allie Hull led the Lady Pirates with 13 points.

Baylee Zeiger scored six points, while Taylor Simms finished with five and Sydney Hart added four.

After trailing 23-12 at halftime, Hannibal scored 17 points in the third quarter but couldn't complete the comeback.