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PHS girls come up short on long road trip

The Powell High School girls’ basketball team is looking to rebound from a tough road trip last weekend.

The Lady Panthers (5-3 overall, 1-3 in Class 3A West) will play a series of three games in five days beginning Friday, giving them an opportunity to put a 32-30 loss to Mountain View and a 40-32 defeat at the hands of Lyman behind them.

“The girls’ attitudes this week have been great and we’re just learning every week. And I just don’t think we can shoot any poorer than we did this (past) weekend and we actually were in both games,” said PHS head coach Scott McKenzie.

Last Friday’s visit to Mountain View (2-8 overall, 1-2 in conference play) began with promise as the Lady Panthers jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the first quarter.

“We kind of were settling in — and then we could not make a basket,” McKenzie said.

The team scored just two points in the second quarter while Mountain View sunk 14 for a 17-13 halftime lead. Just four PHS points in the third period followed.

The Lady Panthers went 6 of 24 from two-point range in the game.

“You’re not going to win a game on the road shooting 25 percent against anyone,” McKenzie said.

A dismal six for 17 performance at the free throw line sealed the team’s fate.

“Make free throws and you win the game,” McKenzie said. PHS trailed by as many as nine points in the fourth quarter, came back to within a point, but couldn’t quite get over the top.

Jenni Ebersberger led the team with eight points, followed by five from Alyssa Hildebrand and Tess Mitchell, four points from Tori Sleep, three from Shawnae Harrington and Brooke Lensegrav and two from Kadi Cooley.

Against Lyman (7-3 overall, 4-0 in 3A West), PHS played the Lady Eagles close just about the whole way. Powell led 18-17 at the half and trailed by only three with two minutes to go. However, when the Lady Panthers were forced to start fouling, Lyman was able to put the game away, McKenzie said.

“We actually played better against Lyman — which was important to us, how we were going to respond to the loss before (against Mountain View). And we were very pleased with the girls’ effort,” McKenzie said.

Powell again struggled with shooting, going nine for 30 from the floor and 13 of 27 from the free throw line. They also had 38 turnovers — about double the number they’ve typically had this season.

While not pleased with so many turnovers, “to lose another close game with 38 turnovers is a positive side of it, because we can play with them,” McKenzie said. “Again free throws killed us.”

At practices this week, McKenzie said there’s been increased consequences for missing free throw attempts.

Ebersberger was a bright spot at the line for Powell in the Lyman contest, making eight of 11 attempts en route to a team-best 12 points. Megan Wagner had five points, followed by four from Hildebrand and Sleep, three from Mitchell and two each from Cooley and Harrington.

Sleep led the team with 12 rebounds, while Hildebrand added eight steals.

With the two losses, McKenzie said the team has dug itself a little bit of a hole in the conference, but noted the squad can jump to third place with a Friday night win over Cody.

That game tips off at 5:45 p.m. in Powell.

On Saturday, Powell will host Class 4A Riverton at 2:30 p.m.

A Tuesday evening contest with Worland, of the eastern side of Class 3A, begins at 5:30 p.m. in Worland.

“We’re still alright,” McKenzie said.

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