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With a host of Cody defenders nearby, Powell’s Alyssa Hildebrand lunges for a loose basketball during Saturday’s conference game between the two Park County schools.  With a host of Cody defenders nearby, Powell’s Alyssa Hildebrand lunges for a loose basketball during Saturday’s conference game between the two Park County schools. Tribune photo by Ben Wetzel

Girls basketball comes up just short against Cody

A back-and-forth battle with Cody ended with Powell’s Lady Panther basketball team on the wrong side of the score.

The Cody Fillies erased a narrow Powell High School lead late and held on for a 23-22 win at the Schweitzer Gym on Friday.

PHS head coach Luke Danforth said he was proud of the girls’ effort in the hard-fought game, but wished it had “turned out just one basket different.”

It’s the second near miss for the Lady Panthers this month, following an overtime loss in Mountain View on Jan. 6.

“Those are tough pills to swallow, but we’re getting better and we need to keep getting better,” Danforth said.

Powell (5-5 overall, 2-3 in Class 3A West) bested Cody in turnovers and rebounding in the low-scoring contest. The team used those advantages to take 40 shots to Cody’s 24, but “just didn’t get them to drop,” Danforth said.

“Part of that is credit to Cody challenging shots so well but part of it is up to us to take advantage of good shot opportunities,” said Danforth, adding, “We just need to keep working to find a rhythm on offense.”

Powell shot 23 percent from the floor, Cody 38 percent.

Danforth praised the PHS girls’ focus, rebounding, balance and defense.

Despite the rough shooting, the Lady Panthers nearly came away with a win in a game where the teams were never more than five points apart.

The Park County rivals played to a 6-6 tie in the first quarter.

Conference-leading Cody (8-3 overall, 5-0 in 3A West) led by as many five points in the second quarter, but PHS didn’t let them pull away. The Fillies had a 13-10 lead at the half.

Powell knotted things up in the third quarter, 15-15, but trailed by one, 17-16 at the close of the period.

PHS grabbed its first lead on a Kendra Ostrom basket that opened scoring in the fourth quarter. After a Cody turnover, Becky Dent sunk a bucket of her own to build a 20-17 Lady Panther advantage.

Cody trimmed the lead back to one, but Tess Mitchell again pushed it to 22-19.

The lead would disappear on Cody’s next possession, however, as Bridget Schumacher made a 3-pointer to even things at 22-22.

“It (the shot) was way huge, especially as hard as points were to come by,” Danforth said.

After trading turnovers, Schumacher drew a shooting foul and made one of two free throws.

PHS came up empty on a couple of attempts to respond in the final minute while Cody was able to retain possession on a couple close calls and run down the clock.

“In the end we missed some good shots and sometimes the ball drops for you and sometimes it doesn’t,” Danforth said.

Mitchell led the PHS offense with seven points, followed by Ostrom with six. Alyssa Hildebrand and Amy Danforth, who had a game-best eight rebounds, each had three points.

Dent had two points and Kadi Cooley added one.

The Powell girls will next play host to Worland (2-9), who now play in Class 3A East.

Danforth said the Worland team’s record “is not indicative of how good a team they are.”

“They are senior heavy and have a lot of scorers and are very athletic,” he said.

Tip off is slated for 5:45 p.m. Friday in the Panther gym.

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