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PALMYRA – Pressuring balls, contesting shots.

Getting in passing lanes, boxing out.

Moving feet, helping teammates.

The Palmyra girls’ basketball team fully understands the importance of playing defense throughout – and especially at the beginning of games, and halves.

On Tuesday night, the Cougars used a pair of devastating defensive runs to bog down Mechanicsburg 41-28 in their home and Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division opener. Riding its active man-to-man defense, Palmyra notched the first 14 points of the game, before opening the second half with a similar 13-0 burst.

IMG_8281The win lifted the Cougars to 3-0 under second-year head coach Mary Manlove. Mechanicsburg slipped to 1-2.

“That was a good start defensively,” said Manlove. “I was thrilled. I thought we played well defensively. Offensively, we have a lot of room to grow. I think we have places to grow with our spacing and timing.

“”But I’d much rather be where we are defensively,” continued Manlove. “We’ve only had 15 practices. We want to clean some things up. But we’re thrilled how we’re playing defensively.”

Palmyra’s first 9:20 – a quarter-plus- defensively set the tone for the rest of the game. During that time, the Cougars held the Wildcats score-less, while getting key offensive contributions from senior guard Hanah McLucas and junior guard Amelio Baldo.

IMG_8305McLucas and Baldo combined for 12 of the Cougars’ first 14 points, while the other deuce came courtesy of an Annabelle Copeland drive. Then midway through the second quarter, the Cougars extended their advantage to 18-3 on a couple of foul shots from Olivia Richardson.

“I thought we controlled the rebounds,” said Manlove. “Mechanicsburg takes a lot of ‘threes’, and they’re very aggressive on the glass. They’re really focused on rebounding. That’s what made it so important.

“We re-focused at halftime,” Manlove continued. “It was like it’s zero-zero. But we still have those lulls.”

It was much of the same for Palmyra to start the third quarter. This time, the Cougars held Mechanicsburg without a point for a 6:52 span.

The resulting 13 straight Cougar points gave Palmyra a 35-8 bulge. Five different Palmyra players contributed points in the run – Richardson, Baldo, Sara Boyer. Lauren Wadas and Jessica St. Clair.

“Every night is important. Every game is important,” said Manlove. “We’ve got four of them this week. We prepare for each game equally.

“On to Hempfield,” added Manlove. “I’m happy to win, but I don’t want to read too much into it.”

IMG_8163With 11 points, Baldo was the only Palmyra scorer to reach double digits. Palmyra held Mechanicsburg to eight total baskets – four deuces and four three-pointers.

Through three games, the Cougars are limiting an average of 27.3 points per outing.

“Things are going good,” said Manlove, whose squad was coming off a championship at the Northern Lebanon tip-off tournament. “We have a kid who needs to figure out a foot issue. But I’m very pleased to be 3-0. It’s a long season. It’s not about the start of the season. This conference is dangerous.

“I think our rebounding has gone well,” Manlove added. “Feeling comfortable with who’s going to look to attack has improved from last year.”

IMG_8310The Wildcats outscored the Cougars 16-6 in the fourth quarter, prompting Manlove to re-insert her starters from their places on the bench, with 54 seconds remaining.

“I wanted to get our kids minutes and experience,” said Manlove. “Mechanicsburg is deadly from ‘three’. It could turn things around. I thought we got two minutes for everyone.”






 IMG_8208To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.



















2017-18 Palmyra Girls’ Basketball Schedule

5:00 PM
@Northern Lebanon
7:00 PM
12/12 *
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
12/15 *
Susquehanna Twp.
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
@Milton Hershey
2:30 PM Milton Hershey School
12/18 *
@Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM Cedar Cliff High School
12/20 *
@Bishop McDevitt
7:30 PM Bishop McDevitt High School
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
@Manheim Twp.
4:00 PM Manheim Twp. High School
01/02 *
@Red Land
6:30 PM Red Land High School
01/05 *
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/09 *
@Lower Dauphin
7:30 PM Lower Dauphin High School
01/12 *
7:30 PM Mechanicsburg High School
01/16 *
@Susquehanna Twp.
7:30 PM Susquehanna Twp. High School
01/19 *
Cedar Cliff
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
@Cedar Crest
7:30 PM Cedar Crest High School
01/23 *
Bishop McDevitt
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/26 *
Red Land
7:30 PM Palmyra High School
01/30 *
7:30 PM Hershey High School
02/02 *
Lower Dauphin
7:30 PM Palmyra High School











































































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