Palmyra girls beat Monroe City to secure undefeated CCC campaign

Palmyra’s Lexie Losson, left, is fouled by Monroe City’s Leah Albus during Friday night’s game in Palymra, Mo. The Lady Panthers won 55-28. (H-W Photo/Phil Carlson)
Posted: Feb. 16, 2013 1:13 am Updated: Mar. 9, 2013 2:15 am

Herald-Whig Sports Writer

PALMYRA, Mo. -- It didn't take long for the Palmyra girls basketball players to start celebrating their undefeated Clarence Cannon Conference championship.

As soon as the team's seniors were honored in a ceremony following a 55-28 victory over Monroe City Friday night, many of the players took turns carrying the trophy to the locker room.

Megan Hooper spent a little extra time with the hardware. The Lady Panthers senior missed last year's conference championship season with a back injury.

"Ever since I knew I was coming back this year, I knew the season was going to end up like this," Hooper said. "I love this team. We've been through a lot this year, but all of the hard work has paid off."

It's made Palmyra a team to beat as it prepares for the Class 3 postseason, which begins next week.

The Lady Panthers (20-5, 9-0) have won 17 of their last 18 games after battling through an opening month of adjustments to first-year head coach Chris Parsons' system.

"They've brought into the system, and they're believing in it," Parsons said. "They've done a great job adjusting to playing man-to-man defense. Of course, it doesn't hurt when you have the shooters we do. We're much more than just a one-dimensional team."

Carly Spalding -- Monroe City's leader in nearly every statistical category -- sat out with a hyperextended knee she suffered in Tuesday's overtime loss to Brookfield.

"Sitting Carly out was a decision I felt we had to make," Monroe City coach Cody Leonard said. "Our players eventually adjusted to her being out, but it was tough for a while.

"We knew Palmyra would come out like a bat out of hell. I told the players to get used to it."

Palmyra took advantage of Spalding's absence early in the game.

Palmyra sank 7 of 14 shots and buried four 3-pointers during the first quarter. They didn't allow a Monroe City field goal until Olivia Crager made a layup with 45 seconds left in the quarter to make the score 20-4.

Evie Miles made three of her team's 3-pointers in the opening quarter. She and Katee Hinkle combined to make seven 3-pointers in the game and scored 14 points apiece.

Alexis Van Nostrand also scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half as Palmyra led 35-10 at halftime.

The prospect of finishing the CCC slate undefeated and earning 20 regular-season wins gave Palmyra plenty of adrenaline.

"It was a big night, and it was an emotional night," said Van Nostrand, a three-year starter. "I didn't think it would be that emotional, but it was. Trusting each other has been a big thing lately. That was definitely a key tonight."

Palmyra's players and coaches agreed they would trade all of their achievements so far this season for one thing -- a district championship. Palmyra will host the Class 3 District 7 Tournament and is seeded second behind Bowling Green.

"Winning a conference title and 20 games is nice, and they were two big goals we had at the beginning of the season," Parsons said. "But our ultimate goal is to win a district championship and to try to get to the final four. We've got a great group of seniors who we're going to miss a lot next year. We want to give them a few more games this season."




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