Palmyra girls breathe life into second-half rally, use third-quarter surge to power past Canton

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CANTON, Mo. — Never underestimate the power of a deep breath.

Palmyra girls basketball coach Tim Southers said his primary goal at halftime Friday night was to simply try and get his club’s emotions under control.

“I just told the girls to breathe and relax,” he said.

They listened.

And then they responded.

The end result was a 51-44 victory over Canton, a game that saw Palmyra take control immediately after halftime — and that deep breath.

Palmyra, raising its record to 3-0, completely dominated the third quarter after trailing 24-20 at intermission. Palmyra outscored Canton 18-7 to lead 38-31 by quarter’s end and never trailed again. 

Triggering the Panthers’ pullaway was its full-court defense, which helped force 15 Canton turnovers in that decisive third period.

“This was our first real challenge,” Southers said. “I feel like we passed our first big test.”

Palmyra benefitted from both its frontcourt combination of Candra King and Sydney Compton and its backcourt duo of Clare Williams and Taytum White. Those four combined to score 47 — or 92 percent — of the Panthers’ points. 

King finished with 16 points, Williams 11 and White and Compton 10 apiece. White had seven of her points in that decisive third quarter.

King (17) and Compton (11) also paced Palmyra to a dominating 55-35 rebounding performance.

“I’m really excited about our (offensive and defensive) balance,” Southers said.

Canton coach Danielle Baker was brutally honest afterward.

“It was a real struggle,” she said.

The 29 Canton turnovers Palmyra forced and the Panthers’ ability to control the boards were especially disheartening to Baker.

“I felt like we were always on defense, and we need to attack the rim better,” Baker said. “But give Palmyra credit. They were able to make adjustments.”

Emma Hultz (15) and Macy Glasgow (13) combined for 28 points for Canton, which is now 1-1.

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