With the sting of Lander’s second-half comeback last weekend still fresh in their minds, the Powell High School girls’ basketball team righted the ship Friday, downing Class 3A Northwest rival Lovell 33-19 at Panther Gym. The win gives the Lady Panthers an 8-5 record on the season, 2-1 in conference play.
“I was really pleased with how we played,” said Powell head coach Scott McKenzie. “It was a good win for us to bounce back from the Lander game. Everyone got in the game and everyone did something good for us.”
Lovell’s Paige Bischoff scored the game’s first basket, giving the Lady Bulldogs (2-12, 0-3) the first of their two leads. Free throws by Powell’s Rachel Bonander and Aubrie Stenerson gave the Lady Panthers a 5-3 advantage, then Bischoff answered with a 3-pointer to retake the lead 6-5.
However, a nice drive underneath by Powell’s Jasmyne Lensegrav gave the Lady Panthers a 7-6 lead that they never relinquished; it was Powell’s only field goal of the quarter. Stenerson hit the team’s only 3-pointer of the game as the second quarter ended, and the Lady Panthers took a 14-8 lead into the half.
Shots began to fall for the Lady Panthers in the second half, as they outscored Lovell 19-11 in the final two quarters. Like the prior week against Lander, free throws were again a factor for Powell, but this time as a positive: The Lady Panthers were 14-of-20 from the charity stripe, while Lovell was just 2-for-8.
“The free throws were a really good stat for us,” coach McKenzie said. “We also only had eight turnovers. We got into some foul trouble with Katie [McKenzie] and Rachel [Bonander], so we sat them quite a bit. I thought the girls that came off the bench did a great job for us.”
Powell continued to show why it has one of the top defenses in the state in 3A, holding the Lady Bulldogs to just 19 points.
Stenerson had the hot hand for the Lady Panthers, scoring 18 points to go along with five steals and four rebounds. That included going 9 for 11 at the free throw line.
“Aubrie [Stenerson] did a good job of making things happen,” coach McKenzie said, adding, “She did a good job of just taking over for us. We talked as a team after the Lander game about needing people who can do that, and I thought Aubrie attacked the rim pretty darn well.”
Early foul trouble relegated Bonander to the sidelines for much of the second and third quarters, but the senior still managed seven points and three rebounds in limited action.
Katie McKenzie finished with four points, while Jasmyne Lensegrav chipped in two.
“All four of Katie [McKenzie]’s points came from her attacking the rim,” coach McKenzie said. “I was very happy with that.”
Devon Curtis and Brea Terry rounded out the scoring with a point apiece. Curtis was a force on the boards in the defensive end, grabbing five defensive rebounds, while Terry also finished with five boards, four on defense.
“Devon Curtis did a great job filling in for Rachel [Bonander],” coach McKenzie said, adding, “Brea [Terry] also got it done for us on the boards. Just a great effort.”
Karlie McKenzie and Lensegrav led the team in assists with three apiece; Lensegrav, Ashtyn Heny, Stenerson and Curtis finished with two blocked shots each. Michele Wagner finished with two rebounds and two steals.
“Having all of my bench players be able to contribute is a great thing to have as we hit February,” coach McKenzie said. “Karlie [McKenzie] was under the weather with a cold, and Michele Wagner did a nice job of coming in and running things for us. Jasmyne [Lensegrav] made things happen for us as well.”
The Lady Panthers are at home again this weekend, welcoming in Pinedale Friday and 3A newcomer Big Piney on Saturday. Both teams have young rosters, though Pinedale will be looking to avenge a 29-21 opening-weekend loss against Powell.
“Both teams struggled a little bit offensively in that game, though we did hit six 3-pointers ...,” coach McKenzie said of the teams’ first matchup. “Pinedale is scrappy, they play hard. They’re young, I think they only have one senior. But it’s an important game, so we’ll give them our utmost respect as we prepare for them.”