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Centralia Sweeps Palmyra

February 22, 2012
By David Meyers of Centralia High School

It had been since 1989 that a Centralia girls basketball team had any part of a Clarence Cannon Conference Championship - until last night.

Centralia displayed it's usual tenacious defense and coupled that with their best offensive performance of the season in dispatching Palmyra 52-38 to claim a share of the CCC title - with the visiting Panthers.

The Lady Panthers led 17-9 after 1 quarter and 30-20 at the half.  Kaitlyn VanMaanen had 9 at half to lead the team offensively, but she was far from the lone weapon.  8 Lady Panthers scored in the first half helping to build a lead Centralia would never relenquish. 

Both teams made defensive adjustments at the half to slow the other as neither team could get much going in the 3rd quarter.  Centralia led 40-28 at the start of the 4th before a Palmyra 3 pointer narrowed the margin to 9 but the Lady Panther defense never faltered.  Palmyra wouldn't score again until less that 2:30 left in the game, and despite struggling from the field in the 2nd half, Centralia made 8/13 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

VanMaanen led the team with 11 and Jennifer Mills added 9.  Centralia got offensive contributions from 9 different players to improve to 16-7 overall and finish 8-1 in the conference.

The boys have made a habit lately of stuggling offensively in the first half before kicking it into high gear in the second half the past several games, and last night the scenario was the same.  The Panthers trailed 25-20 at the half, but scored 21 in an exciting 3rd quarter to establish control and then hit enough free throws down the stretch to claim a 58-52 win over Palmyra.

The Panthers made 11 free throws in the 4th quarter and slowly pulled away, leading by 9 late in the game before settling for the final margin.

Centralia got 20 points from Alec Ford, 15 from Stuart Cox and 10 from Chandler Blackwell to improve to 14-9 and 8-1 in the CCC.  Centralia trails South Shelby (8-0) in the conference standings and are finished with their conference season while South still travels to Louisiana on Thursday night.

Both the boys and girls finish the regular season at home on Friday night vs. Fayette.  It is senior night, and the seniors and their parents will be honored between the girls and boys games.

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