PALMYRA, Mo. | Strong defensive play and teamwork on offense played a big role for the No. 2 seeded Palmyra girls basketball team in the quarterfinal game against No. 7 seeded Centralia in Monday's game at Palmyra High School.
Palmyra cruised to a 56-30 over Centralia, setting up a semifinal match against Clark County. Palmyra dominated Centralia in the first half, holding them to just six points, before letting up in the second half.
“The first half defense was dominant,” said Palmyra head coach Chris Parsons. “We didn't allow them to score in the second quarter and held them to six points, and that gave us that cushion. The second half wasn't nearly as pretty as we were a little sloppy on offense and gave up some stuff on defense.”
Centralia scored 17 out of it's 30 points in the third quarter, as they were held to six points in both the first and fourth quarters, and scoreless in the second quarter.
Palmyra senior guard Isabelle Goldinger said defense was the key to victory.
“Our defense stepped up and we made sure we took care of the lane,” Goldinger said. “Everybody talked and we communicated really well.”
Nine different players scored for Palmyra in Monday's quarterfinal win as the team spread their offesne out.
Parsons said Centralia was focusing on shutting down senior guards Megan Stone and Bailey Lovelace defensively.
“Bailey and Megan still found their own and that's what I love about this team is that we have a lot of weapons,” Parsons said. “We enjoy it when you try to take two of us out, because we'll beat you three-on-three at that point. It was a good game to see junk like that because we are going to see some more of that as we move on.”
Stone still was able to lead Palmyra with 16 points. Senior guard Raegan Barnett added 11 points, and Lovelace added nine points. Palmyra made 16 out of 24 free throw attempts.
“We all made sure to make the extra passes and nobody really cared about themselves,” Goldinger said. “It was total unselfish basketball.”
Centralia freshman guard Jozelynn Bostick led her team with 11 points, while senior forward Mary Kate Bennett was second with nine points.
Before Monday's game, three Palmyra players were named to the CCC All-Conference team. Stone and Lovelace both earned First Team selections, while Goldinger earned a Second Team selection. Stone was also named CCC Player of the Year.
Up next – Palmyra will play No. 3 seeded Clark County on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
“I think we just got to keep working on what we want to do for our game,” Parsons said about the upcoming semifinal matchup. “Keep getting better on defense. We were a little weak on weakside rebounding in the second half, and offensively just continue to get better at our sets and we'll see what the next game brings.”
Scoring by quarter
PAL – 12 | 19 | 13 | 12 – 56
CEN – 6 | 0 | 17 | 7 – 30