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March 06, 2014 8:55 am

Confident girls shooting for conference title this weekend

Written by CJ Baker

There’s little time for the Powell High School girls basketball team to savor Class 3A West’s best regular season record.

Less than five days after beating Cody to take the conference’s top spot, the PHS girls will begin their postseason with hopes of claiming the Class 3A West championship in Mountain View.

First up for the No. 1-seeded Lady Panthers (15-7 overall, 10-4 in conference) is No. 8 Jackson (2-20, 2-12).

They’ll face off at 10:30 a.m. today (Thursday) as PHS looks for a third win over the Lady Broncs; Powell bested Jackson 59-25 on Dec. 13 in Jackson and 67-35 in a Feb. 8 match-up in the Panther Gym.

“We have confidence headed to regionals,” said PHS girls head basketball coach Scott McKenzie. “We like where we’re sitting. We like how we’re playing.

“At this point, you’ve seen a little of everything through the course of the season,” McKenzie said. The girls are coming off a pair of wins and McKenzie said his team won’t take anyone for granted.

“We learned on that last road trip (in Lander and Pinedale) that you have to be prepared and ready,” he said.

McKenzie calls the competition “wide open” in a conference that has already seen its share of upsets this season.

“Everybody’s wanting to win two (games) before you lose two,” he said of the Thursday through Saturday competition. “It’s going to take some good basketball and possibly some lady luck.”

No. 2 Mountain View (14-8 overall, 9-5 in conference) is hosting the regional tourney and nearby No. 6 Lyman (14-8, 8-6) likely will bring plenty of fans to help cheer them along the way. McKenzie expects the small Mountain View gym to be loud and an asset to the local teams.

“We’re just tickled that ... both of them (Mountain View and Lyman) are on the other side of the bracket,” McKenzie said.

A win on Thursday morning would pit the Lady Panthers against the victor of a game between No. 4 Star Valley (10-11 overall, 8-6 in conference) and No. 5 Lander (10-12, 8-6) at 4 p.m. Friday.

A loss to Jackson, meanwhile, would force Powell to a 9 a.m. loser-out game on Friday against whoever drops the Star Valley-Lander contest.

Rounding out the field at regionals are No. 3 Cody (9-13 overall, 8-6 in Class 3A West) and No. 7 Pinedale (5-17, 3-11).

Powell enters the tournament with a scoring average of 43.3 points per game while allowing just 36.

Junior Jenni Ebersberger has led the team in averaging 12.5 points a game, followed by 6.6 from senior Shawnea Harrington. Harrington leads the team in averaging 5.8 rebounds per contest, with junior Megan Wagner right behind with 5.3 boards a game.

McKenzie said in the highs and lows of the season, girls have stepped up when needed. In a recent win over Worland, 10 played important minutes.

“It’s just so nice to have such a deep bench as we head into tournament,” the coach said.

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