Those were two telling highlights for the Powell girls in a 59-25 Friday night romp over Jackson and in fending off Star Valley, 41-33, on Saturday in the Panther Gym.
“We always tell the girls that we want to win all our home games and steal as many as we can on the road — and we’re off to a good start there,” said PHS head coach Scott McKenzie.
The Lady Panthers are now 3-3 overall and 2-0 in Class 3A West Conference play.
Jackson (0-5, 0-2) drew first blood, going up 1-0, but it was all Powell after that. Jackson cut the Powell lead to 13-5 with three minutes left in the first quarter, but the Lady Panther defense would shut out the Lady Broncs until the opening minute of the third quarter.
In the meantime, PHS used scoring from six girls to build up a 34-5 lead. Jackson got some offense going in the second half, but was still outpaced by the Lady Panthers, 25-20. All 12 girls on PHS’ varsity squad played in both halves of the 34-point victory.
“That’s my dream for the kids, is that we have a game like that where everyone can contribute and give positive results,” said McKenzie. He said it’s a deep bench where playing time “is going to vary every game depending on who’s getting the job done and who isn’t.”
Junior Jenni Ebersberger led the team with 13 points and six assists, followed by 11 points from senior Brooke Lensegrav. Lensegrav made three 3-pointers on six attempts.
Senior Jada Swires scored nine points, fellow senior Shawnea Harrington had seven, junior Megan Wagner six, sophomore Breanna Donarski five and senior KaDee Harrison four, while senior Tori Sleep and sophomore Danna Hanks each scored two.
The team went 21 of 45 from the floor (46.6 percent) and 11 of 17 (64.7 percent) from the free throw line.
Donarski had five of Powell’s 22 steals; the team would collect another 18 thefts against Star Valley.
“This group has really been working hard and taking pride in their defense,” said McKenzie, praising Powell’s quickness.
The Saturday contest with Star Valley (1-2 overall, 0-2 in 3A West) was considerably tighter.
Powell found itself down 12-4 in the first quarter, but began chipping away. With about 1:30 left in the second quarter, a Harrington basket put the Lady Panthers up 19-18. PHS led 23-21 at the half.
The teams continued to go back and forth in the early goings of the second half. Powell went up five, 31-26, early in the fourth quarter, but Star Valley tied things up at 31 all and then again at 33 apiece.
Harrington made a free throw to put Powell up 34-33. On the ensuing possession, Star Valley drew a trip to the line for a one-and-one. The Lady Braves missed and then fouled Harrington as she grabbed the rebound.
Harrington canned both free throw attempts to make it a 36-33 game with 1:52 remaining.
“It was a great spurt by Shawnea,” said McKenzie, also noting a steal in that timeframe.
Ebersberger knocked down four more free throws in the final minute and Swires added one for the 41-33 victory.
A pleased Coach McKenzie said free throw shooting had been a big focus in practice and “you could see a big difference just in one week.”
After shooting just below 50 percent in the season’s first three games, the Lady Panthers sunk 74 percent in Friday’s and Saturday’s contests.
Ebersberger led the team with 16 points against Star Valley. Harrington added eight points and Wagner six; both collected six rebounds as well. Donarski chipped in four points, followed by two apiece from Lensegrav and Alex Good and the late free throw from Swires.
Ebersberger and Wagner each had five steals.
The Lady Panthers shot 13 of 37 (35.1 percent) from the field.
Improving from the week before, the PHS girls had 18 turnovers against Jackson and 16 against Star Valley.
PHS will travel to Lovell this weekend for the Big Horn Basin Basketball Classic, a new event. They’ll play Thermopolis at 11 a.m. on Friday to kick things off.