Fast finish in fourth fuels furious Palmyra girls’ comeback in victory over South Shelby 


Palmyra's Clare Williams, who scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds goes up for a shot during Friday night's girls basketball game against South Shelby in Palmyra, Mo. | Photo courtesy of Alicia Deming

PALMYRA, Mo. — When asked if she had been worried at any point, Palmyra junior point guard Clare Williams responded matter-of-factly, “I knew we’d eventually have a run.”

Palmyra did just that Friday night, rattling off 12 straight points in the fourth quarter on the way to a 50-44 Clarence Cannon Conference girls basketball victory over South Shelby.

“We always feel we can come back,” said Williams, who scored 12 points and led Palmyra with eight rebounds.

South Shelby had built a 42-37 advantage midway through the fourth quarter, but Palmyra danced around that disadvantage with its 12-0 run that made the score 47-42. Palmyra outscored South Shelby 15-2 over the last 3 1/2 minutes of the game.

“We showed a lot of grit in that comeback,” said junior forward Sydney Compton, who led Palmyra with 16 points. “Our mindset was just … go! And do not stop!”

Palmyra coach Kelsey Stuart admitted she may not have been quite as confident as Williams and Compton.

“I was a little worried when (Palmyra was down 42-37), and South Shelby was stalling and pulling us out of our defense,” Stuart said. “I’m very proud of the girls. This is not an easy conference.”

Palmyra finds itself atop the CCC pack with a 4-0 mark. The Panthers’ fifth straight victory boosted their overall record to 15-3 and should protect their No. 7 ranking in this week’s Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 3 state poll.

South Shelby fell to 2-2 in the league and 16-5 overall.

“We haven’t played well recently, and I feel like we gave one away tonight,” South Shelby coach Luke O’Laughlin said. “We just threw the ball away too many times and had too many turnovers late in the game.

“We’ll just have to keep plugging away.”

Palmyra controlled the game — and tempo — for much of the first 2 1/2 quarters before a Callie McWilliams-fueled comeback saw South Shelby forge a 36-35 lead going into the final period. McWilliams scored 10 of a team-leading 14 points in the third quarter.

“We just got lazy on defense,” Compton said. “A lot of that dealt with a lack of communication.”

Ironically, defense is what helped turn the tide for Palmyra during its fourth-quarter comeback.

“Defensive stops were the key for us,” Williams said. “We were also able to keep (Belle Roush) away from the basket.”

Roush, a 5-9 junior, scored just two of her 10 points in the fourth quarter and managed just one of her game-leading 10 rebounds in the second half.

Compton may have enjoyed the top overall game for Palmyra. The 5-10 junior scored 8 points in each half while securing 7 rebounds. She was an active presence along both baselines.

“Sydney was big for us at both ends of the floor,” Stuart said. “She had a great defensive game for us and a great game as a playmaker on offense.” 

Palmyra’s Candra King added nine points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots, while Alaina Loman tossed in eight points.

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