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February 03, 2009 4:23 am

Eight straight

Written by Tribune Staff

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Lady Panther Olivia Rogers (30) has her sights set on a short shot in the lane as Worland's Michelle Reutter (left) applies defensive pressure. Tribune photo by David Dickey

Lady Panthers continue winning ways

Different uniforms, same result.

The Powell High School girls basketball squad picked up two more wins this weekend to run their winning streak to eight games. On Friday, the Lady Panthers downed Worland, 48-38, and on Saturday, they demolished Class 2A Rocky Mountain, 55-12.

That puts the team's record at 12-1 overall and 6-1 in 3A's West Conference.

“It was a fun weekend,” said PHS head coach Luke Danforth.

Friday's matchup marked the culmination of a week-long fundraiser for the Women's Wellness Center, an event called, “Hoops for Hope.”

The PHS girls took the court against Worland sporting pink-numbered jerseys in the prime-time 7:30 p.m. slot.

The Lady Warriors jumped out to an early 10-5 lead, but the Lady Panthers battled back.

Senior McKenzie Danforth helped start a PHS run with six consecutive points, and by the time the first-quarter buzzer sounded, Powell had pulled to a 12-12 tie.

The squad kept the momentum rolling into the second quarter — building a 27-16 lead by halftime.

Coach Danforth attributed the run to a “strong group effort.” Five different girls scored in the second period.

At the end of the third, Powell had built its lead to 13 points.

Worland battled back in the fourth — Lady Warrior Kielee Ellsworth poured in 13 points in the final period — but it wasn't enough to catch the Lady Panthers.

“I thought the post players really stepped up and finished strong,” said Coach Danforth.

Junior Hannah Pollart led the team with 21 points on eight-of-11 shooting from the floor. She also contributed 12 rebounds and five assists, both tops on the squad.

Also scoring for the Lady Panthers were McKenzie Danforth (8), sophomore Leslie Thronburg (6), Olivia Rogers (5), and senior Darcee Lynn and junior Savannah Donarski (4 each).

On Saturday, the 55-12 victory was not in doubt for long.

Neither the Lady Panthers nor Rocky's Lady Grizzlies could find the basket in the opening few minutes. But PHS made a late first-quarter run, and by the middle of the second quarter, had a commanding 26-0 lead. The half closed with PHS ahead 28-3.

The second half followed in similar fashion.

A stifling Lady Panther defense helped hold the Lady Grizzlies to just three-of-43 shooting from the floor — a 7-percent success rate.

“We had somebody in their face all night,” Coach Danforth said, adding that Rocky Mountain wasn't given too many second chances.

The Lady Panthers pulled down 43 rebounds. Six PHS players had five or more boards. All 10 of the healthy Lady Panthers played in contest, and each one contributed a point or a rebound.

“All the girls are finding ways to contribute,” said Coach Danforth

Pollart scored a PHS-best 13 points and five assists. Donarski joined her in double digits with 10 points, and also added a squad-leading eight rebounds and six steals.

Also scoring for the Lady Panthers were Thronburg (9), McKenzie Danforth (8), sophomore Randi Asay (5), Lynn (4), junior Kami Cooley (3), senior Kelsey Allen (2), and Rogers (1).

Despite the victories, “We've got a lot of work to do,” said Coach Danforth.

That's because the Powell girls will face-off against the two-time defending state champions this Friday night.

The Jackson Lady Broncs come to town for a 5:45 match-up in the new Panther gym. On Dec. 13, the Lady Broncs dealt PHS its lone loss on the year, a 41-28 setback in Jackson.

Jackson has only one loss on the year as well, falling to a Class 4A opponent in December.

On Saturday, PHS will host Pinedale, a team they beat 62-24 on Dec. 12.