C-SE girls race to 17-point halftime lead, force 26 Palmyra turnovers to win 15th consecutive game
QUINCY – About 20 hours after rallying late to beat South Shelby in a Clarence Cannon Conference game at home, the Palmyra girls basketball team discovered Central-Southeastern doesn’t give up leads so easily.
Lauren Miller scored 10 of her game-high 20 points in the first quarter and C-SE grabbed a 17-point halftime lead Saturday afternoon en route to a 52-37 victory over Palmyra in a battle of Panthers in the American Family Insurance-KHQA Superfan Shootout in The Pit.
C-SE shot 50 percent from the field, forced 13 turnovers and limited Palmyra to just 17 field goal attempts in the opening half to take a 34-17 lead.
Palmyra closed within seven points late in the third quarter on the strength of 13 points by 5-foot-11 forward Sydney Compton, but C-SE re-dialed the defensive pressure and allowed just six points while forcing nine more turnovers in the final period to win for the 15th straight time to improve to 23-2.
“I don’t think people understand how much pressure we can bring in the full court and the half court,” C-SE coach Matt Long said. “We’re not real big but we’re long, we’re quick and we have high basketball IQs. They play the angles really well on the defensive end and rotate well. When those things happen, good things are gonna happen.”
Nothing but good things happened in the first half for C-SE, ranked seventh in Illinois Class 2A.
Compton, who entered averaging more than 13 points per game, picked up her second foul with 3:58 left in the first quarter. She re-entered the game at the start of the second period and was whistled for her third foul 11 seconds later, sending her back to the bench for the remainder of the half.
Without her, Palmyra had no answers for C-SE’s trapping defensive pressure, the dribble drives of Miller and Karly Peters, or the inside presence of Agnes Genenbacher.
A 16-9 lead ballooned to 24-10 on Genenbacher’s rebound bucket, then Brilyn Lantz hit a free throw, a jumper from the circle and a 3-pointer from the left wing. A driving layup by Peters closed out the quarter to give C-SE a commanding halftime advantage.
Palmyra made only one field goal in the second quarter and needed six free throws to stay as close as it did.
“We knew coming in they were going to have great ball pressure, and we knew the trap was coming,” Palmyra coach Kelsey Stuart said. “We had a game plan but we just couldn’t execute it very well.
“That’s definitely one of the toughest defenses we have faced all year. We needed to match their physicality, and we didn’t.”
C-SE went to a zone in the third quarter to help protect some players from foul trouble, allowing Compton to find her rhythm. She scored all but one of Palmyra’s 14 points in the period, with her conventional three-point play with 1:13 left narrowing the deficit to 38-31.
But Miller hit a pull-up jumper from the lane and Lantz sank two free throws to give C-SE a 42-31 lead entering the fourth quarter. C-SE made just 3 of 11 field goal tries in the period and missed all six 3-point attempts as it went away from the dribble drive that had been so effective in the first half.
“We went to a zone to try to conserve some players from foul trouble and to milk the clock a little bit,” Long said. “Maybe it slowed them down a little bit. They’re used to being aggressive and attacking on defense. And when you take that away, it’s like taking a pacifier away from a baby. Sometimes they pout and don’t like it.”
Any visions Palmyra had of duplicating its 15-2 run to close out Friday night’s six-point win and extending its winning streak to six games were extinguished quickly. It managed just two field goals in the fourth period and none in the final 4:51.
Driving layups by Peters and Miller pushed the C-SE advantage to 50-35 and the teams traded free throws the rest of the way.
Peters finished with 14 points and Lantz 12 for C-SE. Compton (15 points) was the only player in double figures for Palmyra, which was pressured into 26 turnovers. The losers, ranked seventh in Missouri Class 3, fell to 15-4.
“No excuses,” Stuart said. “We knew what we were coming into. We just need to prepare better.”
C-SC closes out its regular season this week against West Hancock and Mendon Unity.
“We like where we are,” Long said. “A lot of teams this time of year have hit their ceiling, but I don’t feel we have, which is a good thing. We’ve got a week to get there, and that’s what we’re gonna try to do.”
Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?
Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.