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PHS girls plan to be best of West

All season long, coaches and media across Wyoming have favored the girls basketball teams from Class 3A’s eastern conference over those from the West. But at this weekend’s state tournament, it’s time for the players to have the final word.

“I’d have to say the West is coming in as underdogs, so we’re going to hope to represent and do as best as we can,” said Powell High School girls head basketball coach Scott McKenzie.

As the West’s No. 2 seed, PHS (17-8 on the season) opens state tournament play at 9 a.m. today (Thursday) in the Casper Events Center. They’ll face Torrington (21-5).

The Lady Trailblazers entered last weekend regional tournament as WyoPreps.com’s top-ranked 3A team, but were tripped up by Worland’s Lady Warriors (15-10). Worland ended up as No. 2 and Torrington settled for the East’s No. 3 position.

The Worland upset means particularly stiff competition for the Powell girls’ first game, but McKenzie noted the loss also shows Torrington is beatable.

“You’ve got to beat teams to meet your goals, and so Torrington is a team in our way,” he said.

The coach said the Lady Panthers will “have our hands full, but we like to think maybe someone would have their hands full with us,” McKenzie said.

A victory over Torrington would put Powell in the Class 3A semifinals against the winner of a game between East No. 1 seed Douglas (22-3) and West No. 4 seed Lander (12-14). That game would be played at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Casper College. A loss would drop PHS to the consolation bracket and a 9 a.m. Friday match-up with the loser of the Lander-Douglas game.

The other teams in the mix at state are West No. 1 seed Mountain View (17-8), West No. 3 seed Star Valley (13-12) and East No. 4 seed Newcastle (13-13).

“We’re going to have to shoot the ball well and ... each girl needs to continue to do what they do for us,” McKenzie said.

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