The Palmyra girls basketball team led nearly wire-to-wire in a home victory over Class 2 No. 10 South Shelby on Friday night.
The better the opponent, the better the Palmyra girls basketball team seems to play this season.
Aside from an early free throw by South Shelby, the Lady Panthers led wire-to-wire in a 58-46 Clarence Cannon Conference win.
The win avenged a previous loss to the LadyBirds this season and is the second time Palmyra has knocked off a ranked foe.
South Shelby entered the contest ranked No. 10 in the latest Class 2 state poll.
“South is a good team who knocked us off earlier, so I am happy for the girls to step up the way they did tonight,” Lady Panthers coach Chris Parsons said of the win. “They (South Shelby) had Monroe City beat the other night until the final seconds, they are having a great season, but I thought our defense really carried us to this win tonight.”
Amy Bryan scored a rebound basket with 5 minutes, 1 second left in the first period to give the Lady Panthers their first points of the night. Palmyra would not relinquish the lead the rest of the game.
Bryan and fellow post player Audrey Fohey dominated the inside in the first half. The duo combined for 15 of the Lady Panthers 21 first-half points for an eight-point lead at the break.
Bryan also pulled down 10 of her game-high 12 boards in the first half.
“It’s kind of becoming an ongoing theme for Amy,” Parsons said of his sophomore post player. “She is really playing strong for us.”
Raegan Barnett knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key, then converted a steal into a layup pushing the Lady Panthers lead to 31-17 with 5:46 left in the third period.
A driving score by Robby Meyers later extended the Palmyra lead to 37-21.
But South Shelby started to shoot its way back into the game.
Caitlyn Poore, who scored 23 points in the Ladybirds win over Palmyra earlier in the season, drilled a pair of 3-pointers later in the third to start a rally.
Poore connected on another triple in the fourth which started a 10-1 spurt as the Ladybirds pulled to within 42-39 with 3:56 left in the game.
“We did a great job of getting out to the lead, but I felt like we missed a chance to break the game wide open,” the Lady Panthers coach said. “We had a couple turnovers there and they knocked down some shots.”
But again, it was Bryan who stepped up.
The sophomore took a pass from Barnett and knocked down a jumper from the free-throw line to give the Lady Panthers a five-point lead. On the next possession, Fohey found Bryan cutting to the hoop for an easy score and a 46-39 lead with 2:51 left.
“Those were really big baskets for our team,” Bryan said. “Emotions were running high at that point so we all just wanted to pull together and be there for each other — that’s what those two baskets were all about. My teammates made great plays for me, and I am happy I could be there for them too. That is why we continued to hold the lead and never let up because we just worked so well together.”
Poore’s fifth 3-pointer of the game pulled the visitors to within 51-46 with 42 ticks left in the game, but Meyers stepped up and hit three free throws and came up with a steal to secure the win.
Meyers came off the bench and finished with 11 points.
“Robby made some huge plays for us,” Parsons said of his senior. “She is really comfortable with her role and it was nice to see a senior step up and lead us down the stretch.”
Bryan led the Lady Panthers with career- and game-high 15 points.
Fohey added 14 points and nine rebounds, while Barnett finished with 10 points and 10 boards.
Palmyra (13-7) plays host to Monroe City in another CCC clash on Tuesday.