Knights had two girls combine for 40 points

Despite Saint Francis Borgia's losing record Hannibal Coach Evan Cerven knew the Knights could not be taken lightly.

"Borgia is a great team that's been gearing for a title all year long," he said after watching the top-seeded Knights defeat his third-seeded Hannibal Lady Pirates 60-37 Friday night in the championship game of the Class 4, District 8 tournament in Hannibal. Hannibal held its own against Borgia during the first quarter. After falling behind 8-3, the Lady Pirates rallied over the final 1:09 of the period to even the score at eight apiece heading into the second quarter. "Early on we were intense," Cerven said. "We saw the floor a lot better." Hannibal saw Borgia take command in the second quarter, thanks to a 19-4 scoring advantage. "Borgia's pressure on top really got us in a funk and we could never really get our footing from there," Cerven said. "Borgia got us out of what we do and they kept it on us all game long. It was really hard for us to recover from that." Hannibal was never able to mount a serious challenge in the second half when it was outscored by a 33-25 margin. Despite trailing by 20 or more points through much of the second half, Cerven noted that his players never quit hustling. "Everybody, freshman to senior, loves to compete. That's why we got away with 13 wins. We garnered those through hard work and just wanting to win," he said. Leading Hannibal's offense with 13 points was Bella Falconer. Combining for 40 points for the victors were Grace Gettemeier (23 points) and Avery Lackey (17 points). Hannibal finishes the season 13-13. "We were looking to improve and had no idea where that would take us," Cerven said. "The girls' hard work, effort and energy in practice each and every day got us to this point."   danny.henley@courierpost.com