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 IMG_6364BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – Basketball is really a simple game. You play a little defense, stick together, focus on the fundamentals and everything else will take care of itself.

There’s no need to overthink things.

On Tuesday night, during the opening round of the District Three Class AAAAA playoffs, the Palmyra girls’ basketball team got back to basics and simply allowed the game to come to it, in the form of a 41-31 home triumph over Fleetwood. The Cougars never trailed, and after building a two-to-three-possession lead, never permitted the Tigers to seriously threaten.

While the eight-seeded Cougars were already assured a successful season, the outcome guaranteed them at least four more games this season, including a spot in next month’s PIAA Class AAAA tournament. Up next for Palmyra, now 14-9, is a Friday 7 p.m. date at top-seeded Lower Dauphin.

Last night marked the Cougars 16th straight District Three tournament appearance, and second under Manlove.

Fleetwood, the ninth seed, completed its campaign at 14-9.

IMG_6376“Anytime you get into playoff basketball, it’s an exciting time of the year,” said Palmyra head coach Mary Manlove. “Everybody’s 0-0. You hope to play to your potential and keep it going. Our next opponent is one that we know well.

“Yes, this gets us to states,” continued Manlove. “It’s incredible. Winning in the first round helps.”

“It’s been a good season, but continuing a postseason run would make it better,” said Palmyra sophomore Annabelle Copeland. “It (that the contest was do-or-die) was known by everyone on the team. It was an important game.”

With the Cougars receiving offensive contributions from Lauren Wadas, Katelyn Becker and Copeland, they netted nine of the game’s first 12 points. Then on the back of two free throws from Olivia Richardson and a driving lay-in by Amelia Baldo, Palmyra pushed its advantage to 13-6 late in the opening quarter.

IMG_6415“I thought we played well,” said Manlove. “We executed defensively with the things we wanted to take care of. We had a lot of film on them (the Tigers).

“They (her players) were motivated to play on their home court,” added Manlove. “Two weeks of practice helped.”

“I was a little nervous, but I thought we were well prepared,” said Copeland. “That (three-point shooting) certainly boosted our confidence. We made some key plays when we needed to.”

Copeland’s three-pointer 44 seconds into the second quarter boosted the Palmyra lead to 16-8. The Cougars carried a 19-12 margin to the break, thanks to another driving lay-in from Baldo and a Richardson charity toss.

“We knew a lot about them,” said Manlove of the Tigers. “They really drive, draw and dish. They feed the (Gabrielle) Downs kid a lot.

“Defensively we played very well,” Manlove continued. “Thirty-one points (allowed), that’s pretty good.”

“We had a couple days break, but after that it was back to work,” said Copeland of the Cougars’ regular-season finale, 17 days earlier. “Last year, we did not make it to states. We wanted to this year. Now we play Lower Dauphin.”

With a trio of three-pointers and 15 total points, Copeland was the lone Cougar scorer to reach double figures. Palmyra converted 12 of its 19 free-throw chances.

“She played great tonight,” said Manlove of Copeland. “She was aggressive, confident and looking to score. She hunted for shots that were open. She was looking to knock down shots that were there, instead of creating them. She didn’t over think it.”

“I think I’m just here to score and play the best game I can,” said Copeland. “I just filled in spots where I was needed.”

IMG_6381The Cougars put a little distance between themselves and their guests in the third quarter, but not after Fleetwood pulled to within 19-15 early in the second half.

Palmyra responded with an overwhelming 15-3 run that gave it a 34-18 bulge. Copeland tallied eight of those points, while Richardson drained three free throws, Baldo drained a jumper and Jessica St. Clair scored on an inside move.

“At halftime, we just had to make adjustments offensively,” said Manlove, “because the defense held them (the Tigers) to 12 points.”

The closest Fleetwood would come in the final quarter was 34-27. But Palmyra stemmed the tide with a St. Clair hoop and a Richardson lay-up.

“Oh yeah,” said Manlove, when asked if the season had already been a success. “Last year were a 10- or 11-seed. To be an eight-seed and host, that’s improvement right there. Everyone’s a year older and more experienced.”

 

 

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 To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

 

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 2017-18 Palmyra Girls’ Basketball Results

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/08
@Littlestown
5:00 PM W 64-19
12/09
@Northern Lebanon
6:45 PM W 38-35
12/12 *
Mechanicsburg
7:30 PM W 41-28
12/13
@Hempfield
7:30 PM W 50-18
12/15 *
Susquehanna Twp.
7:30 PM W 33-30
12/16
@Milton Hershey
2:30 PM W 43-26
12/18 *
@Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM L 48-53
12/20 *
@Bishop McDevitt
7:30 PM L 29-39
12/22
Cocalico
7:30 PM W 60-26
12/27
@Manheim Twp.
4:00 PM L 51-56
12/28
@Red Lion
4:00 PM W 57-17
01/02 *
@Red Land
6:30 PM W 44-20
01/05 *
Hershey
7:30 PM W 42-28
01/09 *
@Lower Dauphin
7:30 PM L 23-51
01/12 *
@Mechanicsburg
7:30 PM L 24-32
01/16 *
@Susquehanna Twp.
7:30 PM L 28-39
01/19 *
Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM L 24-49
01/20
@Cedar Crest
7:30 PM W 43-34
01/23 *
Bishop McDevitt
7:30 PM W 52-46
01/26 *
Red Land
7:00 PM W 42-25
01/30 *
@Hershey
7:30 PM L 39-43
02/02 *
Lower Dauphin
7:30 PM L 31-40
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
02/20 #
Fleetwood
7:00 PM Palmyra High School

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 Mid-Penn Conference

 Keystone Division Standings

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Lower Dauphin 13-1 22-2
Cedar Cliff 10-4 17-6
Bishop McDevitt 10-4 13-6
Hershey 7-7 13-10
Palmyra 6-8 14-9
Susquehanna Twp. 6-8 12-11
Mechanicsburg 4-10 5-12
Red Land 0-14 3-19

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IMG_6610PIAA District Three

 Class AAAAA Opening Round

 (at Palmyra High School)

Palmyra 41, Fleetwood 31

Fleetwood (31) 

Gabby Downs 5 3-4 15, Chanel Virgo 1 2-4 4, Rebekah Earnest 1 2-3 4 , Emma Crissman 2 0-0 4, Michaela Kaskey 2 0-0 4. Totals: 11 7-11 – 31.

Palmyra (41) 

Amelia Baldo 3 2-4 8, Annabelle Copeland 5 2-4 15, Lauren Wadas 1 2-2 4 , Jess St. Clair 2 0-0 4, Sara Boyer 0 0-0 0, Olivia Richardson 1 6-8 8, Katelyn Becker 1 0-1 2. Totals: 13 12-19 – 41.

IMG_6469Fleetwood 8 4 9 10 – 31 

Palmyra 13 6 15 7 – 41

Three-point field goals: Downs 2, Copeland 3.

Fouled out:  Richardson, Crissman.

 

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