HANNIBAL, Mo. -- When Hannibal and Monroe City meet up, you can count on a physical grind-it-out girls basketball game that remains close to the end.
Hannibal came out on the winning end of the battle for the second time this season, defeating Monroe City 46-40.
"Playing those guys and having the experience of knowing what they are going to do and knowing their style of play helps us a ton," said Hannibal head coach Shawn Gaines. "We were able to adjust and understand that those guys are scrappy. They are going to play physical and they are going to play hard."
The Lady Pirates defeated Monroe City 39-38 in their previous meeting this season on Jan. 20 in the Tony Lenzini Tournament third-place game.
"We are kind of similar in what we do in terms of we like to pressure," said Monroe City head coach Adam Rung. "When you play someone recently, you have that scout in your memory. Then it comes down to who makes more plays and they just made a few more tonight."
It was a low-scoring, but close game early on with Hannibal taking a slim 8-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Monroe City grabbed the lead early on in the second quarter before Hannibal went on a run to close out the first half, aided by a pair of 3-pointers from Mariah Mayfield and Malia Stolte.
By halftime, Hannibal took a 23-16 lead.
It was a different ball game in the second half, with Monroe City having a strong third quarter and briefly tying the game at 31-31 after a 3-pointer from Taylor Pfaff.
"It was focusing on taking care of the basketball and getting the ball to the spots that we wanted to attack their defense," Rung said. "When you allow them to pressure you and trap you like they do, they can cause a lot of chaos and havoc. I thought when we took care of the ball in the third quarter, we got the shots we wanted."
Hannibal took a 33-31 lead into the fourth quarter and would outscore Monroe City by a 13-9 margin in the final quarter.
"We wanted to stay aggressive and run," Gaines said. "That's one thing we did not do in the first half. We really didn't get out in transition. The big deal for us is that we wanted to get out into transition and really push the pace. I think we stayed aggressive on defense the entire night and that really helped us."
Mayfield and senior Nora Hark tied for the Hannibal scoring lead with 10 points.
Hannibal freshman Malia Stolte added nine points off the bench, while junior McKenna Hull chipped in with five points.
10 different players would score for the Lady Pirates.
"I always want everybody to contribute," Gaines said. "My big thing I continue to preach is that I want them to look for their own shot. The fact we had a majority of the girls get a bucket means that they are doing it. The more and more we can get girls to contribute, the better."
Lady Panthers sophomore Mari Gares scored a team-high 12 points, with fellow sophomore Audri Youngblood racking up eight points.
Sam Hathaway, Naaron Hays and Taylor Pfaff each had six points for Monroe City.
"When we got (Gares) in rhythm, she got her some shots," Rung said. "I thought we had a lot of girls who stepped up. We battled some foul trouble. When Naaron was in there in the high post, she did some good things for us. Taylor Pfaff came in and did a good job. Some of the kids we brought in off the bench with Alivia Chinn, Meghan (Hays) and Myra (Jones) did a really good job defensively."
Monroe City (8-12) will host Bowling Green (8-11) in its next game at 6 p.m. on Friday.
"We have to have a short memory and be ready to go tomorrow," Rung said.
Hannibal (13-6) will host Quincy (16-11) in its next game at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
"We are going to dive into some film," Gaines said. "We understand that Taylor Fohey is a heck of a ballplayer. They really have a nice roster up and down. Their guards play tremendously. I know Asia (Seangmany) is going to play for John Wood and that's a feat in itself."
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