Junior Javon Pratt never doubted the resilience of the Palmyra girls' basketball team.
Trailing visiting Burlington Township by 14 points at halftime last night, Palmyra rallied to pull off a 36-29 victory in a Burlco League interdivisional game.
Pratt, a guard who scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half, had trouble recalling the last time that the Panthers (2-1 overall, 2-0 league) had dug themselves out of a hole that deep.
"I had no doubt about winning," said Pratt, a cocaptain with fellow junior guard Lakiya Artis.
"I told [teammates] at the break that we had to push harder. We were a runner-up in the state last year."
For the NJSIAA Group 1 state runners-up, one look at the score at the half - 24-10 - was enough to ignite an offense that had scored 112 points in its first two games, with Artis averaging 21.5 points per game.
Artis did not disappoint.
The diminutive guard had scored just one field goal and had gone 5 for 8 from the foul line in the first half.
She erupted for 14 points in the second half with the same player guarding her: junior Danielle Lee.
Lee, who was much taller, did a good job of containing Artis before the break, but after that it was a different story as Palmyra picked up the tempo and came to life.
Artis finished with a game-high 21 points.
"I didn't ease up on her," said Lee, who led the Falcons (0-2, 0-2) with eight points. "She got the ball more often."
So often, in fact, that Artis exploded for 11 points in the third period.
The speedy guard, who seemed to walk through the first half with Pratt, Kathleen Cox, Maurissa Williams and Kara Kincaide, nailed a jumper at the buzzer ending the third quarter to give the Panthers their first lead of the game, 30-28.
"[Lee] played defense hard," Artis said. "But I used her weakness against her. She played up so close that I got a step on her. In the first half, I couldn't."
The Panthers said they were tired from playing three games in four days, and it showed during a sluggish first half.
"We were tired from Sacred Heart," Artis said. "We didn't come out strong. We were flat. Shots weren't falling."
A two-hour bus ride Sunday to the Ocean City home court of Sacred Heart, the defending Cape-Atlantic League National Division II champion, took its toll in another way, too. Palmyra lost, 61-51.
Burlington Township played valiantly in the first half, penetrating Palmyra's zone defense.
The Falcons just couldn't sustain it in the second half.
Burlington Township 13 11 4 1 - 29
Palmyra6 4 20 6 - 36
BT: Lee 8, Glover 2, Pini 2, Sindorf 6, Davis 2, Spencer 6, McKeon 3
P: Cox 1, Artis 21, Pratt 13, Quinton 1.