At season-opening tourney, Lady Panthers get off to winning start

Posted 12/11/18

As rocker Meat Loaf might say, two out of three ain’t bad.

Powell High School’s Lady Panthers opened the girls basketball season by taking two of three games at the East-West Classic …

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At season-opening tourney, Lady Panthers get off to winning start

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As rocker Meat Loaf might say, two out of three ain’t bad.

Powell High School’s Lady Panthers opened the girls basketball season by taking two of three games at the East-West Classic in Lovell over the weekend. They downed Rawlins 39-34 on Friday afternoon before falling 58-16 to top-ranked — and defending state champion — Douglas Friday night. However, the Lady Panthers finished the classic with a 29-21 victory over Pinedale Saturday afternoon.

After last weekend’s games, Aubrie Stenerson leads the team in scoring with 7.3 points per contest, while Rachel Bonander is second at six points per contest. Bonander is also averaging seven rebounds per game to lead the team, while Stenerson is second at 4.7 boards per contest. As a team, Powell is averaging 10 steals per game and blocking five shots per contest, led by Bonander’s 2.33 blocks per game.

Powell 39, Rawlins 34

The Lady Panthers trailed by three points (30-27) early in the fourth quarter against Rawlins before running off nine points in a row to take the lead for good.

Powell scored 18 of its 39 points at the foul line against the Lady Outlaws, including six of its final 10 points.

“The free-throw line, I think, is what won the game for us,” said PHS coach Scott McKenzie. “We went 6-for-10 in the fourth, but we were 18-for-27 overall. ... I thought it was a typical first game. We were nervous, but I think we had some real good moments. I really like how many times we did get to the free-throw line.”

Bonander’s free throw with 7:04 remaining tied the score at 30, then her basket with 4:59 left in the game put the Lady Panthers ahead to stay at 32-30. She added another basket with 3:06 remaining to cap Powell’s 9-0 run and make the score 36-30.

Stenerson led the Lady Panthers with 14 points, while Rachel Bonander had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Stenerson and Bonander each had three steals and Bonander blocked three shots.

“She had a double-double,” coach McKenzie said of Bonander. “She led the state last year in 3A with those. ... Karlie [McKenzie] with five assists in there fed the ball well to her.”

Powell finished with 36 rebounds, as Stenerson, Devon Curtis and Katie McKenzie each had five to tie for second on the team.

“We were right in the ballpark of where we usually are,” coach McKenzie said. “We had eight offensive, 28 defensive — that’s right in the mid-30s. That’s about where we like to be.”

Douglas 58, Powell 16

The Lady Bearcats demonstrated to Powell not only why they are the top-ranked team in Class 3A, but also why they might be the best girls basketball team in Wyoming, regardless of class.

Douglas scored the first 12 points and held the Lady Panthers scoreless for almost seven minutes to open the game. Ashtyn Heny’s 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in the first period cut the Lady Bearcat lead to 14-5, but Douglas ran off 16 straight points to open the second quarter to seize total control.

“Douglas is a level above the rest of us, for sure,” coach McKenzie said. “The athleticism that they bring and the basketball talent that they bring for girls is — it’s one of the best girls’ teams I’ve ever seen in my 30 years of coaching. They did it to everyone this weekend and I would assume they’ll continue to do that. I know we’re all going to work to find ways to get some cracks in their armor, but they’re so darn impressive.”

Powell took just 10 shots inside the 3-point line and shot 22 percent (5-for-23) for the game. The Lady Bearcats also forced 17 turnovers in the first half.

“They just took us out of our game offensively,” coach McKenzie said. “That is very uncharacteristic of us to only have 10 2-point field goal attempts, but the big girl [6 foot, 4 inch sophomore Allyson Fertig] inside does that to you.”

After Douglas took a 39-9 lead to the locker room, Powell held the Lady Bearcats to 19 points in the last two quarters.

“Though the score doesn’t show it, we played better in the second half,” coach McKenzie said. “We held them to 19 points in that second half and we also got more attempts at the rim on our end by making some adjustments.”

Powell 29, Pinedale 21

After Friday night’s loss to Douglas, the Lady Panthers bounced back strong on Saturday afternoon by downing Pinedale.

After finishing the opening period with a 7-7 tie, Katie McKenzie hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter to give Powell a 13-7 advantage — a lead the team would not relinquish.

“Rachel [Bonander] and Aubrie [Stenerson] both struggled offensively, but Katie came through for us, getting three 3s,” coach McKenzie said. “That’s something we depend on from her. She’s capable of doing that. It was good to see her get some rhythm, get some 3-pointers and lead us with 11 [points].”

Baskets by Michele Wagner and Stenerson sent the Lady Panthers to the locker room with a 17-12 lead at the half. Bonander drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to open the third quarter to make it 20-12 as Powell maintained a two-possession lead the rest of the game.

After committing 50 turnovers in their first two games, the Lady Panthers committed just 12 against Pinedale.

Coach McKenzie was also pleased with his bench’s play opening weekend.

“[All] our bench girls contributed at some point or another in great ways,” coach McKenzie said. “To come out of the weekend 2-1 and to have a sack full of things to work on now, that’s what it’s all about.”

Powell is back on the hardwood Friday when they head to Cody for a 5:30 p.m. contest. The Lady Broncs are led by University of Wyoming recruit Paige Powell, and it should be a tough challenge for the Lady Panthers.

“They’re playing well,” coach McKenzie said, adding, “They’ll play hard for coach [Tim] Vannoy. It should be a very fun game. We’re looking forward to playing Cody.”

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