Phenomenal freshmen finish strong year 16-1

Posted 3/19/24

After a season opening loss the Powell Panther girls’ freshmen basketball team ripped off 16 consecutive wins the rest of the season, ending the year with a 16-1 record.

“The lone …

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Phenomenal freshmen finish strong year 16-1


After a season opening loss the Powell Panther girls’ freshmen basketball team ripped off 16 consecutive wins the rest of the season, ending the year with a 16-1 record.

“The lone loss was our first game of the year,” coach Andrew Borcher said. “It was our first real live-action together. I was learning what the rotation was going to be and what our identity was going to be. I was proud of the girls and how they competed and stayed focused to then win 16 straight — that speaks to the caliber of girls I was working with this year.”

Unfortunately for the Panthers, they were unable to cap off the season with a tournament victory, as the annual freshmen tournament was canceled in Worland.

“Any time you are not able to close out your season at some kind of culminating event is somewhat disappointing,” Borcher said. “Without having the tournament, it was super important to win at home and end this group’s freshmen year with a win.”

Throughout the season, Borcher said the Panthers had multiple players step up in different games and help push the team across the finish line.

Leading the way for most of the season was the dynamic duo of guards Emery Hernandez and Kaedenze Carter.

“They were a 1-2 punch in a way. Emery could create off the dribble and Kaedenze had the outside game,” Borcher said.

Alongside Carter and Hernandez, another primary ball-handler for the Panthers was Maddie Valdez, who Borcher said stepped up when asked to handle the ball and score when needed.

Defensively, he added that Leah Graham was one of the key pieces for the team this season as an interior defender.

“The girl has a motor and is a tremendous asset on the defensive end of the floor,” Borcher said.

Throughout the season the team continued to show growth on their court, whether it be in skills or in confidence from game to game.

“I could list off each girl and give some ways that they improved. Some grew in their confidence in their game, and some grew in their mental approach to the game and some grew in their basketball skills,” Borcher said.

He said that key players throughout the team who improved included French foreign exchange student Ange Tirbois as well as Kate Mainwaring, Gabi Gernhart, Mason Whiting and Tanis Ginest, who all contributed to the Panthers’ success.

Borcher said the team was able to share the ball, while executing the offense effectively.

“They were coachable kids and they worked hard,” Borcher said.

He said that the team just needed to continue gaining more experience in certain situations, while learning to manage the mental aspect of the game where they can manage the ups and downs of a high school season.

Borcher said that the team improved defensively, learning when to be more aggressive in certain situations.

“I thought that they did get better at being more aggressive guarding defensively, playing faster knowing when and where to go,” Borcher said.

He added that the team got better at being hard to guard.

Heading into the next level of the Panther program Borcher is hopeful that the players will continue improving in the offseason, putting in the work to compete at the next level.

“You have to be able to guard at the next level, continue to put the work in outside of the season and continue to take advantage of the opportunities they have,” Borcher said. “I wish them all the best and look forward to seeing their successes on and off the court. It was a truly memorable year.”