Hannibal pushes record to 12-12.
The outcome of the opening game in the Class 4 District 8 tournament Monday in Hannibal followed the seedings as the third-seeded Hannibal Lady Pirates defeated the sixth-seeded Kirksville Lady Tigers. But the final score, 47-39, does not show how close Kirksville came to erasing a 17-point halftime deficit.
"The second half was a little shaky, making an old man out of me, but we ended up pulling it out. A win is a win so I was happy," said Hannibal Coach Evan Cerven, whose team improved its record to 12-12 with the victory.
Cerven, whose team started the second half with a 24-7 lead, saw Kirksville outscore the Lady Pirates 32-23 in the second half.
"They stepped up the intensity on both ends, for sure," he said of Kirksville. "We lost our edge."
Kirksville got within four points of Hannibal, 43-39, on a 3-point bucket by Hannah Meyer with just under two minutes remaining in the game.
Hannibal put a lock on the win by sinking four of its last five free-throw attempts. Overall in the fourth quarter the Lady Pirates made eight of 11 attempts from the line.
"Hopefully we can keep that rolling the rest of the tournament," Cerven said of his team's free-throw shooting. "I can never tell if it's going to be a good day for us or a bad day for us from the free-throw line. Some games we're great and other times we never get there. It was definitely nice to see that from the line tonight."
The game was scoreless until about five-minute mark when Bella Falconer scored the first of her three first-quarter baskets.
The Lady Pirates pitched a shutout until the three-minute mark of the opening stanza when Anna Moore scored what would be Kirksville's only bucket of the period.
Cerven cited the play of Jade Thomas.
"Jade came up huge for us tonight," he said. "She went up against a pretty solid post player and contributed."
Also singled out were Kaylee Falconer, who accounted for 10 points, and Autumn Bigsby, who led Hannibal's offense with 15 points.
"Kaylee and Autumn had a great offensive night," Cerven said. "Defensively they were pretty lock down, too."
The Lady Pirates were scheduled to face second-seeded Moberly in a district semifinal Tuesday night.