For a little more than three quarters, Gettysburg hung right with undefeated top seed Palmyra before the Cougars pulled away late for a 44-29 victory in the semifinals of the District 3 Class AAA girls' basketball tournament Thursday afternoon at Giant Center in Hershey.
An offensive rebound and bucket by Warrior sophomore Alexis Rothermel sliced Gettysburg's deficit to 28-26 with 6:38 left, but Palmyra responded by running off the next eight points that prompted a timeout by Warrior head coach Casey Thurston with 3:06 remaining.
Kate Carmo had an old-fashioned 3-point play and a stick-back to key the run.
Out of the timeout, Gettysburg's Cami Boehner drained a triple from the left wing with 2:34 to play, but solid free throw shooting from the Cougars salted the game away.
"We know that we're going to get everybody's best shot and it's tough to be up emotionally for every game," Palmyra head coach Ron Berman said. "We wanted to try to wear them down and beat them in the fourth quarter, and I thought we did that well.
"Credit them, though. They're a very tough team and they kept fighting all the way."
The first half was a series of scoring bursts, followed by dry spells, by both squads that saw Palmyra ahead 14-9 with 4:20 to go in the half before the Cougars were held to three points for the rest of the half.
During that time, Boehner hit a pair of trifectas and Ellen Bair had a scoop shot for a layup to put Gettysburg in front, 17-16.
Palmyra's Maria Tukis split a pair of free throws in the last minute of the half as the teams went to the locker room knotted at 17.
Katie Dembrowski opened the scoring in the second half with a 3-pointer for Palmyra as the Cougars ran off
Gettysburg (20-6) struggled to take advantage of Palmyra's offensive problems, though a layup by Rothermel and Boehner's 3-pointer did pull Gettysburg within 23-22 late in the frame.
Palmyra (27-0) led, 26-24 heading for the fourth quarter.
Despite scoring a team-high 14 points and pulling down a team-high 11 rebounds, Boehner shot just 5-of-22 from the field, and Bair shot 3-of-19 to finish with eight points.
"They put a lot of pressure on you with their defense," Thurston said. "They don't give you any open shots, they make you work for everything and did a great job of taking Cami away."
"Gabbi Gundermann did a great job on Boehner," Berman said. "She really made her work hard for her points."
Strong board work from the Cougars allowed them to walk away with the victory as they outrebounded Gettysburg, 65-34, including 23 offensive rebounds. That offset 9-of-59 (15 percent) shooting from the field by the winners.
"They crash the boards constantly and they're very athletic," Thurston said. "I knew we couldn't match up man-to-man with them because it would've worn us down too much, so we had to play zone to try to save our legs as much as possible. But when you play zone, you open yourselves up to allowing offensive rebounds."
Carmo led Palmyra with 14 points and hauled in eight rebounds, while Carly Richardson, who missed the Cougars' quarterfinal win against Eastern York because of injury, scored nine points and collected 22 rebounds, eight of them offensive.
"We were picked third in our own division," she said. "and to still be playing, going to states, it says an awful lot about the work that these girls have put in."
Cami Boehner 5 0-0 14, Wood 0 0-0 0, Rothermel 2 0-0 4, Camel 0 0-0 0, Weikert 1 1-3 3, Felton 0 0-0 0, Bair 3 2-5 8. Totals 11 3-8 29.
Dembrowski 1 1-2 3, Turkis 1 3-5 5, Kate Carmo 3 7-8 14, Smoluk 1 1-2 3, M. Gundermann 0 0-0 0, K. Gundermann 0 0-0 0, McClellan 1 2-2 4, G. Gundermann 1 2-2 5, Langley 0 0-0 0, Richardson 1 6-10 9. Totals 9 22-31 44.
Gettysburg 9 8 7 5 -- 29
Palmyra 12 5 9 18 -- 44
3-point goals -- Gettysburg 4 (Boehner 4); Palmyra 4 (Dembrowski, Carmo, G. Gundermann, Richardson).