By KYLE MAYHUGH
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
MONROE CITY, Mo. -- The Monroe City girls basketball team was prepared for a battle.
Palmyra gave Monroe City what it expected.
"We knew in the first quarter they come out like gangbusters," Monroe City coach Cody Leonard said. "But they don't do that for four quarters. We knew we had to weather the storm and we were in it for the fourth quarter."
Monroe City overcame a slow start and used a late defensive stand to claim a 50-48 victory Saturday in the championship of their own tournament for the first time since 1999.
Palmyra (3-2) had a final chance to tie the game after a turnover in the backcourt with eight seconds to play, but time expired before any shot could be taken.
"In the fourth quarter, it was back and fourth. We knew it was going to be tough," Monroe City's Kiette Mundy said. "But we just had to work and battle, and dig down deep."
Mundy scored a team-high 18 points for Monroe City (5-0), including six in the fourth quarter. Carly Spalding added 14 points.
Monroe City fell behind 20-8 after the first quarter but rallied to tie the game at 25 at halftime.
Monroe City rallied in the second quarter, taking its first lead with 45 seconds until halftime on a 3-pointer from Leah Albus. After trading baskets in the third quarter, Mundy made a layup in the first minute of the that gave the Panthers the lead for good at 41-40.
Palmyra shot out to a first-quarter lead thanks to a hot start from Megan Hooper. The senior mixed mid-range jump shots and driving layups, scoring 12 of her game-high 20 points in the first quarter. Allie Dietrich, Evie Miles and Alexis VanN ostrand added eight points each in the game.