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Powell girls trump Cody thanks to big third quarter

It was a tight back-and-forth battle between the Powell and Cody high school girls’ basketball teams. And then the third quarter happened.

The Lady Panthers applied fierce defensive pressure to key an 18-1 run and help turn a 26-all tie into a 51-35 PHS victory in Cody.

“This was just a good win for us,” said PHS head coach Scott McKenzie. “Another conference victory on the road, and (Cody being a) Park County rival and all that, it was nice.”

“We just came and played and played hard all the way to the end,” McKenzie said of his squad, now 8-4 overall and 4-1 in Class 3A West.

Highlighting the effort was junior guard Jenni Ebersberger, who scored six points in the first quarter, seven in the second, six in the third and eight in the fourth quarter for a 27-point game.

“What can I say?” said McKenzie of the performance, adding, “Hopefully that keeps rolling.”

Ebersberger sunk 7 of 11 shots from the field and 12 of 14 free throws. Her stellar showing at the free throw line was reflective of the team as a whole, which generated 27 free throw opportunities and sunk 22.

“We did a really nice job of attacking the rim,” McKenzie said.

Cody (4-8 overall, 3-2 in Class 3A West) jumped out to a 14-9 lead in the first quarter, but the Powell girls kept them within striking distance.

Late in the second quarter, a layup from senior Jada Swires and a pair of free throws from Ebersberger put PHS up 21-20 at the half.

Cody briefly retook the lead at 24-21. Two free throws from senior Shawnea Harrington and a 3-pointer from senior KaDee Harrison swung things Powell’s way for good. The Fillies tied the game at 26, but they wouldn’t touch the Lady Panthers again.

Nine points from Ebersberger, three from freshman Kalina Smith and two apiece from Harrington, junior Megan Wagner and sophomore Brianna Donarski — coupled with a stymied Fillies offense — made for an 18-1 Powell run through the rest of the third quarter and into the fourth.

By the time the third frame was over, the Lady Panthers led 44-27.

McKenzie credited his squad for causing “all kinds of havoc with the press.”

Smith, Donarski, Ebersberger, Swires and senior Tori Sleep “kind of sparked (it) and then we just subbed from there,” with senior Brooke Lensegrav, Harrison and Harrington keeping up the pressure, the coach said.

Cody’s Laurel Place — who led her team with 10 points — went in for a basket with about two and a half minutes remaining that would have pulled the Fillies within 10, but she committed an offensive foul on her way to the basket and instead fouled out.

Powell made four consecutive free throws after that and then was able to run out the final minute of the game.

“Everyone played their part for us,” said McKenzie of his team.

Harrington followed Ebersberger with nine points, followed by three apiece from Harrison, Donarski and Smith and two each for Lensegrav, Swires and Wagner.

Sleep and Wagner each had five rebounds.

Harrison had six steals in the first half — including three on three consecutive Cody possessions — and also served up four assists.

“She had some great steals,” said McKenzie.

Ebersberger also had six steals, a part of 24 such thefts from the Fillies against 13 PHS turnovers.

“Just a really really good night of basketball for us,” McKenzie said. He noted the Lady Panthers will have to face Cody again, on March 1 in the Panther Gym.

The Powell girls will play their first home game since Dec. 14 this Friday night. That’s when — at 5:45 p.m. — they’ll host the Pinedale Lady Wranglers (1-12 overall, 0-6 in Class 3A West). On Saturday, the Lady Panthers will stick around for a 12:45 p.m. matchup with Lander Valley (4-9, 2-3).

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