HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The Hannibal girls basketball team outplayed Moberly for most of the game, but a subpar third quarter nearly cost the Pirates.
A fourth-quarter surge, however, allowed them to secure a 51-43 North Central Missouri Conference victory.
Hannibal coach Evan Cerven said his team hit a lull in the third quarter.
"I thought we weathered the storm as best as we could, and we only ended up being down two going into the fourth quarter," Cerven said. "We got to get that out of our system, and it wasn't from a lack of trying. I thought we battled and tried all through (the third quarter). We just weren't getting the ball in the bucket."
The Pirates turned it around in the fourth quarter as they held the Spartans to just two points, while scoring 12 points.
"In our pregame speech, we were talking about toughness," Cerven said. "Whether if that's with the ball or without the ball, on defense or offense, and I thought we did a really good job of playing tough basketball. Even when we weren't scoring in that third quarter, we didn't let that get us down and kept battling and got us a win."
Defensive intensity was a key to Hannibal's victory.
"Whoever they got in the game at the time is deadly with the basketball," Cerven said. "We knew that going in, and no matter who was in the ballgame, we weren't letting off any intensity. I think we did a pretty good job of showing that tonight."
Moberly junior guard Mary Billington scored a game-high 17 points.
Hannibal senior guard Emma Deien scored a team-high 16 points, while sophomore center Bella Falconer scored 14 points.
"Emma and Bella were getting a lot of points for us," Cerven said. "We went to a switch up. Usually Emma plays guard for us, but she is a little taller and we wanted to see what she could do down low.
"She did a really good job of battling down there."