The Monroe City girls basketball team executed when it mattered most for a 64-60 conference home win against Palmyra.
After a game that featured a little bit of everything, Palmyra coach Chris Parsons summed it up with one sentence.
“They out-executed us in the prime moments,” the Palmyra coach said. “It’s the little things against a good team you have to take care of, and we just didn’t execute.”
Trailing by two with 18 seconds left, Palmyra called a timeout to set up a potential game-tying or even game-winning play.
The play never happened as a backcourt violation was called, turning the ball back over to Monroe City.
Emilie Okenfuss was fouled with nine seconds remaining and calmly sank both free throws to seal a 64-60 Clarence Cannon Conference win for Monroe City on Tuesday.
“A little too exciting for my liking, but we found a way to win and that is all that matters,” Monroe City coach Cody Leonard said.
Monroe City briefly took control of the game midway through the third quarter.
Okenfuss found Bailee Hays behind the Palmyra defense for back-to-back baskets at the rim to give Monroe City a 40-35 lead with 3:30 left in the period.
Delanie Okenfuss knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner on Monroe City’s next possession for a 43-35 advantage.
It marked the biggest lead of the game.
“We had a couple lapses in the game, and that 7-0 third quarter run was a big one,” Parsons said.
But Palmyra battled back.
Robby Meyers converted a steal into a layup with two seconds left in the third to pull Palmyra to within 44-43.
A drive by Raegan Barnett gave Palmyra a 45-44 lead with 7:16 left in the game.
Then Jada Summers took over.
Riley Quinn tied the game with a free throw. Quinn missed the second free throw, which Summers rebounded and scored. Summers was fouled on the play and converted the old-fashioned three-point play for a three-point lead.
Summers scored again on Monroe City’s next possession to extend the lead.
The Monroe City junior tallied 13 of her game-high 27 points in the final period.
“That is what she does,” Leonard said of his star player. “When the game gets tight, we can usually depend on her.”
Despite giving up nearly a foot, in height, to Palmyra center Audrey Fohey, Summers pulled down a game-high 11 boards.
“We are not a very tall team but I am kind of strong,” the 5-foot-5 Monroe City post player said. “I just try and go up and go up with a lot of effort.”
Like he has for each of the past three years, Parsons lauded the performance of Summers.
“I have praised her since she was a freshman,” the Palmyra coach said. “She is good at what she does. There is a science to rebounding and she has it figured out. She is just so strong. I have said she is the best player in Northeast Missouri and I stick by that. She is fun to watch, when she is not playing against us.”
Meyers kept Palmyra in the game.
The senior guard, who has embraced her role of coming off the bench, tallied 19 points in the loss.
Meyers knocked down a 3-pointer to beat the first-half buzzer, giving Palmyra a 29-27 lead.
“Robby was huge,” Parsons said. “It’s good to see your senior doing all the things you want to see from her.
“Again, we gave ourselves a chance. We just did not execute, but I am proud of the way the girls battled.”
Monroe City led 9-2 in the first period before Palmyra settled into the game.
Emilie Okenfuss added 13 points for Monroe City, while Emilie Okenfuss tossed in nine points.
The host Panthers were without Lauren Youngblood and Haleigh St. Clair. Both were sidelined due to the flu.
“We played a lot of bodies tonight,” Leonard said. “But I thought all our young girls gave us some good minutes and did just enough for us to get a win.”
Monroe City improves to 19-3 on the year, while Palmyra falls to 13-8.