BY NICK MUDD
PressBox 790 Sports Reporter
PALMYRA — The Monroe City girls basketball team remained undefeated on the season while claiming their 11th Tony Lenzini Tournament Championship on Saturday.
The Class 3 No. 1 ranked Lady Panthers used an all-around team basketball for a 66-49 win over No. 2 seeded Canton.
Monroe City head coach Cody Leonard mentioned they wanted to come out and set the ton defensively.
“We wanted to come out here and mix things up defensively and try to keep them from getting comfortable,” the Lady Panthers’ coach said. “Due to foul trouble we had to be a little more vanilla in the second half, but the girls worked very hard and we are happy with our performance tonight.”
From the tip, Monroe would strike first but Canton would quickly strike back in the first few minutes in the game.
Canton scored its last bucket of the first quarter with 5 minutes on the clock and a 7-5 lead.
Monroe City senior Clara Minor answered with a three with 4:25 left in the opening frame. The lead-changing shot sparked a 15-2 run for a 20-9 lead heading into the second.
In the second quarter, the Lady Panthers picked up right where they left off.
Canton struggled early in the second as Monroe City scored four points in the first minute of the quarter extending its lead to 24-9.
The Lady Tigers would go on a short run of their own, starting with a Tegan Burbridge layup.
Then Riley Quinn would found her groove as the Monroe City senior scored six points of her own burst.
This was possible to great ball movement and unselfish passing from senior guards Minor and Bailee Hays.
To close out the second quarter both teams traded baskets leading into halftime as the Panthers led 36-19.
A dominating 20-9 edge in the rebound battle also helped the Panthers gain their double-digit lead.
Quinn picked up right where she left off in the second as she scored eight points in the third frame.
Nariah Clay would answer back with six points in the third for herself, but it was not enough to cut into the Panthers’ lead.
Monroe City would extend their lead to 57-32 after three quarters.
In the fourth, the Lady Panthers worked through the offense and took care of the basketball to seal the win over the Lady Tigers.
Quinn led the Panthers with a game-high 16 points, while sophomore Haley Hagan matched Hays’ 15 points with Hallie Dyer adding eight points.
Clay paced the Lady Tigers (11-5) with 14 points while Burbridge and Raven Weathers (9), Burbridge (8) and Abby Jarvis (8) combined for 25 points in the loss.
The Lady Panthers (16-0) are now looking forward to more conference play.
“We are continually tweaking things in practice with our defensive rotations depending on who we are playing and what we are trying to take away,” Leonard said. “The girls do a great job fine-tuning the game plan so are on the right path.”