By KYLE MAYHUGH
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
EWING, Mo. -- The Palmyra girls basketball team won its first Highland Tournament championship since 2005 with a 55-36 win over Macon Saturday.
Palmyra coach Chris Parsons hopes the victory can bring the Panthers' season into focus.
"First and foremost, these seniors wanted to win a tournament," Parsons said. "That was one of the things on our bucket list. They were in some games last year where they had a chance to do it and they weren't able to accomplish it.
"These guys wanted to make sure we got one this year, and hopefully we can get another one coming up in our own tournament. It's a big win for us. At one time, we were sitting at 3-4, still trying to find our identity, which is a tough, man-to-man, bust-your-butt-up-and-down-the-floor kind of team."
The Panthers took an early lead and ran with it to the final buzzer. Evie Miles' three-pointer to open the scoring set off an 8-0 run, and the Panthers led 17-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The Tigers would never get closer than within four points after falling behind.
"Defensively, we wanted to take away the drive. We knew if we allowed them to penetrate, they'd dish it off to the bigs," Parsons said. "Early in the game, we allowed some of that penetration, but in the third quarter we started to take that away. Teams are going to make runs.
"It's how we respond to it. Every time they made a bucket, we hit one right back at them and maybe another one too."
Alexis Losson led the Panthers with 13 points, and Alexis Van Nostrand had 10. Megan Hooper and Katee Hinkle scored seven points each.