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Panther girls hammer conference opponents

The Powell High School girls basketball team convincingly beat two conference opponents over the weekend, closing out a lengthy home-stand in style.

The Lady Panthers handled Jackson 42-26 on Friday night, then overwhelmed Pinedale on Saturday, 60-35.

With the wins, Powell (8-8 overall, 6-3 in conference play) jumped back into a tie for third place with Worland in Class 3A West.

PHS head coach Luke Danforth was pleased with his squad “just taking care of business” over the weekend with disciplined play.

While forcing Jackson and Pinedale into a total of 47 turnovers in the two contests, PHS turned the ball over just 21 times.

“I think the key was the lack of turnovers and a strong defensive effort,” said Danforth, specifically crediting the defense of Olivia Rogers, Randi Asay and Alyssa Hildebrand.

Powell’s offense started sluggishly on Friday and Jackson (5-12 overall, 2-7 in Class 3A West) jumped out to a 8-4 lead in the first quarter.

To Powell’s credit, “We didn’t get rattled, we made some adjustments,” said Danforth.

One of those changes was moving Leslie Thronburg to the post position, he said. Thronburg scored nine points in the quarter — and 11 of Powell’s 16 first-half points — to help the Lady Panthers seize the lead.

Three-pointers from Hildebrand and Thronburg got PHS over the top to lead 12-10 in the second quarter. After going back and forth, a Thronburg basket with about 30 seconds remaining gave Powell a 16-15 half-time advantage.

PHS began pulling away in the third quarter. Jackson was held to just four points in the period while five different Lady Panthers — Hildebrand, Kendra Ostrom, Thronburg, Becky Dent and Rogers — combined for 13 points and a 29-20 lead going into the fourth.

Jackson briefly cut the lead to seven — 31-24 — at the five-minute mark, but two more baskets from Thronburg put the PHS lead into double digits for good.

Thronburg led the squad with 22 points on nine of 17 shooting from the floor and three of four shooting from the free throw line. Hildebrand followed with eight points, Rogers and Asay had four each and Kadi Cooley and Dent each added two.

On Saturday, Powell gave Pinedale (4-10 overall, 0-8 in 3A West) little opportunity to pick up their first conference win of the year. The Lady Panthers outscored Pinedale by three points in the first period, seven in the second, eight in the third and seven in the fourth.

The Lady Wranglers did hang around in the first quarter, trailing just 9-6.

However, successive, unanswered 3-pointers from Ostrom and Hildebrand early in the second quarter quickly gave PHS a comfortable lead and the team built from there.

The Lady Panthers held a 24-14 lead at the half and had it to 42-24 at the end of the third.

Danforth pulled most of PHS’ starting lineup with just under four minutes remaining, his squad up 52-26. Pinedale didn’t find the going much easier the rest of way, falling 60-35.

Pinedale put Powell at the free throw line 25 times in the contest and the Lady Panthers made them pay, sinking 20 shots.

PHS forced 23 turnovers, but stayed out of foul trouble. Powell had only nine turnovers.

Three Lady Panthers reached double figures: Hildebrand led with 14 points, going four of seven from the floor and five of six from the free throw line. Rogers and Thronburg — who went eight for eight from the free throw line — each had 10.

Ostrom added eight points, Cooley and Tess Mitchell six each, Savannah Holt four and Dent two. Asay led with seven rebounds.

The games ended a stretch where PHS played nine of their last 11 games at home — separated only by trips to Lovell and Cody.

They’ll begin a stretch of four road games this weekend, traveling to Lyman (6-11 overall, 2-7 in 3A West) for a 5:45 p.m. Friday match-up and then taking on co-conference leader Mountain View (16-2, 8-1) at 12:45 p.m. Saturday.

“Every weekend out we’ve got good opponents that are playing well and this weekend should be no different,” said Danforth. “We’re looking forward to the test.”

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