BY NICK MUDD
PressBox 790 Sports Reporter
KAHOKA — The Palmyra girls basketball team hit the road Saturday looking for an upset for the second straight game.
The No. 3 seeded Lady Panthers looked poised to take down top-seeded Clark County but a scoring drought late prevented the upset.
Clark County scored 15 of the final 16 points in a 46-34 win to claim the Class 3 District 6 championship.
Lady Panthers head coach Alex Brandenburg said this about his team’s performance:
“I saw an incredible effort from our kids today. We played a team that has beaten us twice this year, and we came in with the mindset to win the championship. They have nothing to be ashamed of…they left it all out there on the floor this afternoon.”
Following the opening tip, both teams fought for the early momentum. In the first quarter alone there were six lead changes.
However, with 2 minutes, 34 seconds left in the first, the Lady Panthers would take the lead off a Taytum White layup, 10-8.
In the following possession, the Lady Panthers would stay strong on defense and get a rebound and pass ahead to Candra King for an easy layup. This would be the final score of the first quarter giving Palmyra a lead of 12-8.
Coming into the second quarter, the Lady Indians would strike first on a Brooklyn Howe jump shot to cut the lead to one score.
After a Palmyra turnover, Alexis Ellison would get out in front of the pack for an easy layup to tie the game at 12-12 with 6:50 left in the first half.
Palmyra would retake the lead on a King layup on the following possession.
Both teams again would trade baskets until 3:30 where the Lady Indians would open their first big run of the game. Scoring seven unanswered points to take a 21-16 lead.
The Lady Panthers would finally stop the run with a King layup with under one minute left in the half.
Clark County would respond next time down the court with a field goal of their own to extend their lead 23-18.
With 7 seconds left in the second quarter, White got fouled when going in for a layup. She made both free throws to bring the game with three points at the half, 23-20
Starting the second half, Palmyra would strike first on a Grace Krigbaum layup to cut the Clark County lead to just one point.
However, the top seed Lady Indians were not going to give in easily by starting up a five-point run spanning over four and a half minutes.
In the closing minutes of the third quarter, Lady Panthers’ point guard Abbey Redd would make a driving layup, but she was not done. After a Clark County turnover, Redd would get the ball in transition to score again with 1:50 left in the third quarter.
Ellison would close the third quarter with a mid-range jump shot to give her team a 31-28 lead going into the final quarter.
Like at the start of the third quarter, the Lady Panther would strike first. Redd scored the opening basket to bring the lead to one point. In the next Palmyra offensive possession, Redd would hit a three-pointer to give her team the lead.
Clark County would retake the lead on a Darian Harper straight away three-pointer. Brooklyn Howel would score on back to back possession to extend the lead for the Lady Indians 38-33
Palmyra would not score again until the 2-minute mark in the fourth quarter on a Krigbaum free throw.
In the closing minutes of the game, Clark County would transition into a half-court trap defense that shut out the Lady Panther but allowed them to score an easy basket in transition to close the books on the girls’ district championship game.
“It’s been a strange season,” Brandenburg said. “I met these girls on Zoom and we didn’t really have opportunities to do much this summer so this whole season has been me getting to know the team, and them getting to know me. With injuries along the way, we took our fair share of lumps along the way. But the true nature of these girls is that they never gave up, and fought all the way until the end.”
Redd led the Panthers with nine points, while King and Krigbaum both tallied eight points in the loss.
White finished her freshman season with six points, while senior Rylie McKinney wrapped up her stellar Panthers career with two points.
Howe paced the winners with a game-high 18 points and Ellison added 10.
Palmyra finishes its roller coaster of a season with an 8-14 record.
Clark County (15-7) moves into the Class 3 Sectional against Duchene (11-13) on Wednesday.