PALMYRA, Mo. | The Palmyra girls basketball team advanced to the district finals after defeating Clark County 61-42 in the semifinal game on Wednesday at Palmyra High School.
The Panthers played shorthanded with several players out sick for Wednesday's semifinal game.
“We have two girls that usually play a lot at home in bed tonight because they have been sick all day and we had three on the bench that were sick,” said Palmyra head coach Chris Parsons. “So, I relied a lot on five or six girls tonight. For them girls to step up as seniors and put it on their shoulders, and say 'coach don't worry, we got this,' that's what this game is all about. The love for each other and to play as a team.”
Palmyra stormed out the gate to start the game with an 11-0 run, with the Panthers holding an 24-11 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Parsons said the fast start was huge for his team's success.
“We came out of the locker room with that look in our eyes that we wanted this thing and (were) able to come out and run off 11 real quick,” Parsons said. “We knocked down the shots and played great defense to start the game, and I think that kind of got us (going) for the rest of the night.”
One big difference in the game was at the free throw line. Palmyra was 23-for-29 in free throw attempts, while Clark County was 9-for-17 from the free throw line.
Two Palmyra players accounted for 19 points off of free throws, with senior guard Isabelle Goldinger making eight of nine shots and senior guard Bailey Lovelace making 10 out of 12 shots.
“That was huge anytime you can get to the (free throw) line,” Parsons said. “One, we were short-handed tonight, so we are giving ourselves a break while we are shooting free throws. Two, it kind of gives us an opportunity to set up our defenses.”
Parsons credited his Palmyra's defense for the team's win, as they held the Indians to 42 points.
“We came out in the third quarter up 15, and I thought we had a chance early to run that thing up to 25 points,” Parsons said. “We got some steals and then turned it back over ourselves, and missed a couple of layups. You know what, the girls stuck with it, they never hung their heads and battled to an awesome win tonight.”
Goldinger led the Panthers with 18 points, including three 3-pointers. Senior guard Megan Stone was second with 13 points and had two 3-pointers. Lovelace added 12 points, while senior guard Raegan Barnett added 10 points.
Indians sophomore guard Alexis Ellison led her team with 12 points, while junior forward Brooklyn Howe was second with 11 points.
Up next – Palmyra will play Clarence Cannon Conference champion Macon in the district final at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Palmyra High School. Macon defeated Palmyra 52-42 in their only meeting of the season on Jan. 31.
“The girls have had this one circled, we knew we had work to do to get back to it,” Parsons said. “It's like looking at ourselves in the mirror. They have a great defensive team and Coach (Richard) Driscoll does an awesome job up there with them. It's going to be an defensive battle and it's going to be a matter of who takes care of the basketball. If we take care of the basketball and we board like we did tonight, we got a great shot.”
Scoring by quarter
PAL – 24 | 8 | 16 | 13 – 61
CC – 11 | 7 | 11 | 14 – 42