While the team would like to win them all, PHS head coach Scott McKenzie noted the East-West Classic Tournament, played in Buffalo, was preseason action.
“We want to build upon this weekend. The East (conference) is tough and it’s OK that we only won one game. We got a lot of experience and found out a lot of things for us to work on,” McKenzie said.
The Lady Panthers led the whole way against Newcastle before having to hang on at the end. PHS built up a 43-29 lead through three quarters.
Newcastle used some hot shooting and a couple steals to score a flurry of points in the final 1:30. Newcastle cut a 54-44 lead down to one, but Powell was unable to run out the clock.
“We held on for the win, but we were fine,” said McKenzie, calling Newcastle a “fantastic team.”
Powell went 19 of 43 from the field and 13 of 27 from the free throw line while committing 29 turnovers.
Junior guard Jenni Ebersberger led PHS with 25 points and six assists.
While Ebersberger struggled from 3-point range (going 1 for 11), she was deadly inside the arc (8 for 11) and the free throw line (6 for 9).
“Good start to the season” for her, said McKenzie.
Senior KaDee Harrison broke through for 11 points in a career game.
“It was really fun to watch her play like we know she can play,” said McKenzie.
Senior Shawnea Harrington scored seven points, followed by four from junior Megan Wagner, three from sophomore Breanna Donarski and two each from seniors Brooke Lensegrav and Tori Sleep.
Wagner had a team-best seven rebounds, with senior Alex Good adding six.
It was a different story Saturday morning against Wheatland.
“We just never woke up,” McKenzie said of the 8 a.m. contest.
Wheatland grabbed a 16-7 lead in the first quarter. Powell used a couple 3-pointers from Lensegrav in the second period to make it a closer 22-16 game at the half (“We’re counting on offense from her for the rest of the season,” McKenzie said), but Wheatland pulled away in the final two quarters for the 43-25 win.
PHS went 8 for 38 from the floor and struggled at the free throw line.
“When you shoot five for 16 at the line and they shoot 12 for 16, that’s going to be a difference,” said McKenzie. He also noted Powell’s five post players struggled offensively, scoring just four points between them.
Ebersberger led the squad with 14 points. Lensegrav added six, Good two and Sleep, Wagner and Donarski scored one a piece; Sleep led with eight rebounds.
Rawlins went up early on Powell in the Saturday night game, but the Lady Panthers hung around.
“We trailed between two and six points the entire game,” said McKenzie. “And we kept battling.”
It was 13-9, Rawlins, at the end of the first quarter, 25-23, Rawlins, at the half, and 32-28, Rawlins, at the end of the third quarter.
But with about 30 seconds remaining in the game, Ebersberger canned a pull-up jumper to knot things up at 36.
The Lady Panthers defense stopped Rawlins, but the girls couldn’t get a basket in the game’s final seconds.
Rawlins quickly jumped out to a 5-point lead in the bonus period. Ebersberger’s free throws cut it to a 1-point game, but Rawlins hung on for a 44-41 victory.
“I was proud of the girls’ bounce-back from the morning game. Shows a lot of character for this team,” McKenzie said.
Ebersberger again led with 17 points, scoring 12 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Lensegrav chipped in six points, senior Jada Swires had five, Harrington four, Donarski three and Good, Harrison and Wagner added two a piece.
Wagner dominated the boards, pulling down 15 rebounds, while Harrington added eight.
“Twenty three boards between Megan and Shawnea is fantastic,” said McKenzie. “We just get them scoring a little bit and we’ll be in the hunt.”
The Powell girls went 15 of 45 from the field and an improved 8 of 14 from the line. They also turned the ball over 27 times.
McKenzie said the team is still learning what roles each girl will play.
“We’re not panicked or worried, we’re just going to continue to get better,” McKenzie said.
The Class 3A West Conference schedule starts this week, with Powell hosting Jackson at 5:45 p.m. Friday and Star Valley at 12:45 p.m. Saturday.