Bowers garners All-State basketball honors

Joan Mitchell photo PHS sophomore Elyn Bowers maneuvers around an opponent at the State Tournament. Bowers earned 3A All-State and All-Conference honors and was named the 3A West Conference Player of the Year.

PINEDALE – The Pinedale High School (PHS) Lady Wranglers dominated the scoreboard against Mountain View, 39-16, at halftime in the semifinal game at the 3A West Regional Tournament on March 3.

The Lady Buffalos threatened to retake the initiative in the third quarter, outscoring Pinedale, 17-6. A boisterous Mountain View home crowd attempted to demoralize Pinedale.

The Lady Wranglers refused to submit.

“When you’re playing Mountain View, the crowd is always crazy and loud,” said sophomore and Lady Wranglers’ point guard Elyn Bowers. “You have to zone that out, reset and take it one play at a time, one stop at a time, and get a bucket.”

Rallying, Pinedale battled back in the fourth quarter.

“It has to be a quick turnaround,” said Bowers. “If you wait, they’ll keep going with their momentum. We had to get our groove back, fix what we were doing wrong and move on. The third quarter was behind us. We had to get back up.”

The Lady Wranglers went on to trounce Mountain View, 55-42, advancing to the championship game at Regionals for the first time as a 3A team.

Pinedale achieved other 3A firsts during a successful season – capturing second place at Regionals and securing its first State win against Mountain View. The Lady Wranglers tied the PHS girls’ basketball record for the most wins achieved in a season with a 20-7 overall record.

“Taking second at Regionals and winning our first game at State in 3A were big accomplishments,” Bowers said. “Being a part of that team was great.”

The Wyoming Coaches Association recognized Bowers’ tenacious drive and unwavering work and selected her for the 2023 All-State and All-Conference roster. Bowers also earned the 3A West Conference Player of the Year Award. This is Bowers’ second year on the All-State list.

“It feels good to get recognized because I put in a lot of work to achieve those goals,” said Bowers. “Not just in practice, but outside, on the weekends at my house. It’s good to reach goals that you put in the work for.”

Aiming high

Bowers is devoted to basketball. The sophomore stays after practice with her teammates for at least an hour. On weekends, Bowers can be found “shooting around a little bit” at home.

During the offseason, Bowers competes on a traveling team in Colorado affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), playing in tournaments from Louisville to Chicago.

Bowers’ dedication is the result of a hunger to succeed at a sport she loves, a desire to improve, whether rain or shine, to reach high goals.

“I want to make it to the next level and play in college,” she said. “I know I have to put in a ton of work to reach that goal.”

Bowers excels at netting shots from anywhere on the court, scoring with accuracy from inside and outside the perimeter and the charity stripe. Hitting those seemingly impossible shots only comes with practice.

“This summer, I really worked on deeper threes,” Bowers said. “Most defense won’t cross the 3-point line. I take a couple of steps back and have an open shot that makes the game so much easier.”

Bowers picked up a passion for the sport at a young age.

“I used to play hockey and I wanted to give basketball a try,” Bowers said. “I fell in love with basketball and I never put the ball down.”

Bowers played basketball at Pinedale Middle School and joined a local youth traveling team. She hit the ground running for the Lady Wranglers, starting as a freshman.

A stellar season

The Lady Wranglers roared into the 2022-2023 season, defeating opponents of all sizes at season-opening tournaments. The starting lineup found its chemistry early.

“Kicking off the season, we really started to mesh,” said Bowers.

Pinedale came up short against a tough Buffalo varsity squad at the Pinedale Tournament on Jan. 7.

“We were undefeated at the time and overlooked Buffalo a little bit,” Bowers remarked. “That was a good game to get refocused. It brought the team to a higher level and we started playing harder.”

The Lady Wranglers defeated Mountain View four times – at home on Jan. 21, away on Feb. 24, at Regionals and State.

“The atmosphere is always fun against Mountain View,” Bowers noted.

On Feb. 10, Pinedale scored a decisive 65-54 conference win against Lyman at home.

“That was a big game. It was good to get over that slump of losing to Lyman and realize that we could beat them.”

Bowers looks up to NBA player Seth Curry, a guard for the Brooklyn Nets.

“He’s a good player and a really good shooter,” Bowers said.

Bowers thanked her parents for encouraging her to “be at the top of my game” and gave a shoutout to her teammates.

“They are definitely a huge part in how well we did this season.”

Bowers also expressed gratitude to her coaches for “holding me to my highest p