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Third place

The Lady Panthers spent last week focusing on how to beat the Mountain View Lady Buffaloes at the Class 3A West regional basketball tournament.

That work paid off, as the Powell High School girls beat Mountain View twice en route to a third-place regional finish and ticket to the state tournament.

“All-in-all a great (regional) tournament,” said PHS head coach Luke Danforth. “All 12 girls came in and made contributions at different points throughout the weekend. Great team win both offensively and defensively.”

The Powell girls opened play with a come-from-behind thriller over Mountain View on Thursday to win 29-24 in overtime.

The Lady Panthers then lost to Cody 47-30 on Friday before taking a must-win game over Jackson Hole on Saturday morning, 54-37. Powell closed out regionals with a 34-24 win over Mountain View Saturday evening.

In the final third-place match, Powell appeared to be headed to a runaway win early on.

PHS went up 14-4 early in the second quarter, but saw Mountain View respond with an 8-0 run. The Powell girls were up 15-12 at the half.

They were unable to create much separation in the third quarter.

Mountain View pulled within two points late in the quarter, 22-20, but Brooke Lensegrav beat the buzzer with a basket and some breathing room, 24-20.

Early in the fourth quarter, Amy Danforth sunk a basket to push the PHS lead to 26-20 and was fouled. She missed the free throw, but it amounted to a four-point play when Becky Dent grabbed the offensive rebound and dished to Kendra Ostrom for a basket and a 28-20 lead.

Mountain View never got any closer and PHS closed them out.

Powell won the turnover battle, helping force 16 Mountain View turnovers to their eight.

Ostrom led with 12 points. Danforth had six points while Shawnea Harrington had five and Tess Mitchell three.

Kadi Cooley, Dent, Alyssa Hildebrand and Alex Good each had two points.

Hildebrand and Amy Danforth each had seven rebounds. Hildebrand led with five assists.

Powell had been seeded No. 4 entering the regional tournament.

In their Thursday match against Mountain View, Coach Danforth said his squad “kind of neutralized” 6’5” Stephanie Smith of Mountain View offensively, but “their height gave us some trouble offensively, cold shooting early on. But in the fourth quarter, the (Powell) girls found their range.”

After a run fueled by an Ostrom trey brought PHS within one at 18-17, Mountain View built up a 22-17 lead.

Ostrom, assisted by Mitchell, made another 3-pointer, but Mountain View’s Smith got a basket to make it 24-21.

Harrington locked things up with a yet another PHS 3-pointer off an assist from Amy Danforth. It was part of a 3-4 fourth quarter shooting performance from beyond the arc.

Powell played for a last shot but came up empty.

“The play worked well, the ball just didn’t drop,” Coach Danforth said.

The Lady Panthers made it academic in overtime, holding Mountain View to zero for eight shooting and no points. Hildebrand had a lay-up and two free throws, and Ostrom added another.

“In the end, the girls stepped up, hit some key shots,” Coach Danforth said.

Hildebrand had 11 points and six rebounds, while Ostrom had 10 points. Harrington had five, Mitchell two and Dent one.

In the semi-final game against Cody, the Lady Fillies jumped up early with some hot shooting and never looked back.

Cody took a nine-point lead the half, 26-17. Powell briefly cut it to seven early in the third quarter, but the Fillies pulled away.

“We had a hard time getting our offense going and Cody shot very well,” said Coach Danforth. “Give them their due.”

The Fillies had 13 turnovers to Powell’s 17 and shot 40 percent from the floor to Powell’s 27 percent.

Amy Danforth led with seven points, followed by Ostrom with six, Mitchell with five, BreaAnn Hollenbeck with four, Harrington and Hildebrand with three each and Dent with two. Dent and Harrington led with six rebounds each.

Coach Danforth praised his squad’s resiliency after the Cody loss.

“They didn’t pout about it. They came ready to play on Saturday morning,” he said.

Indeed, the Lady Panthers outscored the tournament-hosting Lady Broncs in every quarter, out-rebounded them 40-27 and shot 39 percent to Jackson’s 31 percent en route to a 54-37 victory.

Jackson put Powell at the free throw line 31 times, and PHS answered the challenge, making 21 of the shots. Mitchell was a standout, sinking all eight of her tries.

Conversely, the Lady Broncs made just five of 20 free throws. That included going 0-for-10 in the fourth quarter as Powell went 13 for 21.

“The girls played well together. Great effort, defensively and offensively,” said Coach Danforth.

Mitchell led with 13 points, followed by 12 each from Ostrom and Dent and 10 from Amy Danforth. Hildebrand added five points and a team-best 10 rebounds, while Alex Good added two points.

At the Class 3A State Tournament in Casper, the Powell High School girls will first face Rawlins, the east’s No. 2 seed. The game will tip off at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Casper College.

Rawlins has one of the best post players in the state in Madison Forney, said Coach Danforth, and a “scoring machine” in their point guard, Kalli Feddersen. Limiting Rawlins’ transition and second-chance points will be key, he said. Powell didn’t play Rawlins this year.

As a whole, Coach Danforth said the eastern side of the conference is “just as tough as nails and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

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