Panther JV girls perfect at Big Horn Classic


The Powell High School girls junior varsity basketball team recently swept four local opponents to push its season record to 8-1.

The Powell girls beat Rocky Mountain, Lovell, Buffalo and Thermopolis by a combined score of 181-81 in the Big Horn Basin Classic on Dec. 20-21.

“The girls played extremely well in all four games on both ends of the floor,” said JV coach Troy Hildebrand. “This group has done a great job so far of gelling and really finding their individual strengths that make them a strong team together.”

The PHS JV opened with a 48-10 win over Class 2A Rocky Mountain, jumping out to a 15-0 first quarter lead and never looking back.

“We were able to get everybody a lot of court time and had nice contributions from everyone,” said Hildebrand, noting that 11 girls scored.

Danna Hanks led the squad with 11 points in three quarters, Kalina Smith had eight, Jen Bonander and Richelle Phister added seven each while Anissa Warner added four.

Hildebrand praised the good interior defense provided by Warner, Smith, Bonander and Brooklyn Good throughout the game.

In their next match-up, Powell bested Lovell 50-29.

“Lovell is a very good team that is always well coached so I knew we were in for a real test,” said Hildebrand. The Class 2A Lady Bulldogs led Powell 14-13 after one period. The Lady Panthers, however, came back for a 21-16 lead at the half and then exploded for 23 points in the third quarter.

Mikaila Moore had 10 of those points, while Smith had six of her 17 points in the period; the two Lady Panthers combined for four 3-pointers in the third quarter.

The Powell squad outscored its Lovell counterpart 37-15 over the final three quarters which “was a real testament to how well the girls played in this game,” Hildebrand said.

Hanks added six points for PHS, while Aimee Kawano and Bonander each had four.

Next up was the Class 3A Buffalo Lady Bison. They entered the game undefeated and left with a 38-16 loss at the hands of the Lady Panthers.

Hildebrand said both teams started slow and it was 17-11 at halftime. But once again, the Lady Panthers broke out in the third quarter to outscore the Lady Bison 14-5. Powell protected the lead in the fourth by shutting out Buffalo 7-0.

“Our guards did a great job across the board of putting incredible pressure on Buffalo and making it very difficult for them to get into any offensive rhythm,” Hildebrand said. That included work from Hanks, Bailey Sanders, Phister, Lexee Craig, Kinsey Ashby and Kawano.

Hanks scored 16 points.

“Danna (Hanks) did a terrific job on both ends of the floor. She created a number of turnovers and did a great job of pushing the ball and getting easy baskets for us on offense,” Hildebrand said.

Smith added 10 points and Moore five. The downside to the win was losing Good to a knee injury; Hildebrand said more will be known about the injury after the break.

The PHS JV closed out the Big Horn Basin tourney with a 45-26 win over Class 2A Thermopolis. The Lady Panthers steadily outpaced their opponents — outscoring the Lady Bobcats by three to eight points each quarter.

“I thought our post players did a really solid job on the boards to really limit Thermop’s second chances,” said Hildebrand. He noted the work of Rebecca Pratt, Moore, Smith and Bonander.

Smith led with 13 points, followed by 10 from Moore, nine from Bonander, four from Phister and three apiece from Hanks and Pratt.