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Lady Panthers, Lady Trappers advance to tournament semifinals

Thursday was a good day for the Powell basketball teams competing in Casper, as the Powell High School Lady Panthers beat Worland and Northwest College’s Lady Trappers knocked out Trinidad (Colorda) State Junior College.

With the wins, PHS and NWC advanced to the semifinals of the Class 3A state championship and the Region IX tournament, respectively.

Both squads may have their hands full today: The Lady Panthers (18-7) will try to hand Douglas (25-0) its first loss of the season at 4:30 p.m., while the Lady Trappers (25-7) face No. 22-ranked Western Nebraska Community College (28-3) at 5 p.m.

The Powell High School girls built an early 12-2 first quarter lead against Worland on Thursday morning, but the Lady Warriors rallied in the second quarter. The Powell girls prevailed with clutch play down the stretch, winning in a 42-39 nailbiter. Juniors Aubrie Stenerson and Rachel Bonander paced the Lady Panthers with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Bonander and senior Maddy Hanks each grabbed seven rebounds.

Things were a little less tense for the NWC women, as they pulled away in the second half against Trinidad State to win 79-58 Thursday afternoon.

That earned the Lady Trappers this evening’s rematch with Western Nebraska — a team that edged NWC in overtime in the quarterfinals of last year’s Region IX tournament.

Western Nebraksa freshman Karli Seay told her college’s sports information department that the Cougars will need to keep playing strong against NWC, saying, “We almost lost to them the first round last year, so we know they will come out for revenge.”

The NWC-WNCC game will be live streamed online. A win would put the Lady Trappers in the Region IX finals and give them a chance to earn a trip to the national NJCAA tournament.

Meanwhile, a win over Douglas would put the Lady Panthers in the Class 3A title game. This Powell-Douglas contest will also be streamed online (for a fee) and broadcast on KPOW, 1260 AM.

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