Lyman’s Lady Eagles (10-1 in conference play, 14-4 overall) brought a sparkling 9-0 conference record to Powell on Friday night. They left town with their first conference loss at the hands of the Lady Panthers (6-5, 12-5 overall).
“We played four quarters of basketball, and this is the time of year to start doing that,” said PHS head coach Scott McKenzie.
Senior Alyssa Hildebrand led the way with 11 of the team’s first 15 points and PHS jumped out to a 17-7 lead with about two minutes gone in the second quarter. That would be PHS’ biggest lead of the game.
By half-time, Lyman had cut Powell’s advantage to four: 24-20.
The two teams would stay within four points for nearly the entire second half.
Lyman grabbed its first lead, 32-31, as time ran out in the third quarter.
It would prove to be the Lady Eagles’ only advantage.
Junior Shawnea Harrington opened fourth quarter scoring with a basket to put PHS up, 33-32.
Lyman tied things up at 35 all at about the four-minute mark, but sophomore Jenni Ebersberger answered with a bucket to give Powell the lead for good. Ebersberger followed up with a pair of free throws to give Powell some breathing room at 39-35.
Lyman drew to two points back with a minute and a half remaining, but a minute later, Ebersberger knocked down two more free throws to make it 41-37.
The Lady Eagles came up empty on their ensuing possession, sophomore Megan Wagner corralled the rebound and, after being fouled, made 1-of-2 to effectively put the game out of reach at 42-37.
Lyman made a basket with six seconds left to get within a 3-pointer, but they wouldn’t get the ball again.
Harrington (5-of-8 from the floor) led PHS with 12 points, followed by 11 from Hildebrand and nine from Ebersberger.
“Alyssa (Hildebrand) got us going early, offensively, Shawnea (Harrington) kind of carried us through the middle and Jenni (Ebersberger) going for 4-for-4 from the line in the fourth quarter kind of helped bring us home,” McKenzie said.
Wagner — who had eight rebounds — added three points, Tess Mitchell, Brooke Lensegrav and Tori Sleep each added two points and Kadi Cooley one. Harrington had six steals.
Powell had been undone by a staggering 42 turnovers in their first match-up with Lyman (a 40-32 loss on Jan. 5), but more than halved that total on Friday.
“We had a great defensive effort,” said McKenzie. “We had girls just really executing our game plan, both offensively and defensively against Lyman — and a big confidence booster for us to knock off the No. 1 team in the league at home.”
Saturday’s contest against Mountain View, the conference’s last-place team, wasn’t much easier. Mountain View (1-10 in Class 3A West, 2-16 overall) took Powell for its only conference win on Jan. 4 (32-30) and gave the Lady Panthers another fight on Saturday.
After slugging it out for a 5-4 first quarter advantage, Powell saw Mountain View take a 9-5 lead in the second period. It could have been worse, but the Lady Buffaloes went 0-for-6 from the free throw line in the quarter.
“Friday night was a big high for us and we came out pretty flat Saturday, possibly a little fatigued from the effort,” said McKenzie. The coach also credited Mountain View’s stingy defense.
Powell grabbed an 11-9 lead late in the second quarter before Mountain View got a last-second save and basket to send things to the half tied at 11-11.
Powell created some separation with a good third quarter, McKenzie said. Alyssa Hildebrand scored eight points to help stake PHS to a 25-16 advantage.
The Lady Panthers were steady enough at the free throw line (8-for-12) in the final quarter to hold off Mountain View (which went 8-for-9 from the line).
Hildebrand scored 11 points, Ebersberger eight, Mitchell seven, Harrington five, Alex Good and Tori Sleep two each.
McKenzie praised the team’s bench as the season’s MVP so far.
“They just come in and do what needs to be done. Selfless basketball,” he said.
One example might be Good’s play just before the half. She scored a basket underneath the hoop — despite being fouled — then took a charge forceful enough to jar one of her contacts loose.
“Alex Good comes in, scores a bucket, draws a huge charge, loses a contact — whatever it takes for us,” laughed McKenzie.
The Lady Panthers are now tied with Cody for third place in the conference, though the Fillies hold the tiebreaker.
“Winning six out of seven is a great tribute to the girls and believing in what we’re doing, and really starting to execute, so we’re really moving up the ladder and we’re tickled,” said McKenzie.
The PHS girls hit the road this weekend for a 5:45 p.m. Friday match-up with Pinedale (2-9 in Class 3A West, 3-16 overall) and a 12:45 p.m. engagement in Lander (4-7, 8-11) on Saturday.