Lady Wrangler trio snags basketball All-Conference honors
Robert Galbreath photos Sophomore Elyn Bowers goes up for a shot against Mountain View on Jan. 21. Bowers earned 3A All-Conference and All-State honors and was named 3A West Player of the Year. Senior Haylen Sandner delivers a shot against Buffalo at the Pinedale Tournament on Jan. 7. Sandner earned 3A All-Conference honors. Senior Sara Kunard catches air against Buffalo on Jan. 7. Kunard earned 3A All-Conference honors for the 2022-2023 season.
PINEDALE – The Wyoming Coaches Association recognized three talented athletes on the Pinedale High School (PHS) Lady Wrangler basketball team with 3A All-Conference honors – seniors Sara Kunard and Haylen Sandner and sophomore Elyn Bowers.
Bowers was also named the 3A West Conference Player of the Year and garnered All-State honors.
“All three athletes are very deserving of this award,” said Head Coach Trent Bowers. “Sara, Haylen and Elyn are each tremendous young women who bring professionalism and maturity to high school basketball. They are great teammates, fun to have on the team and are easy to coach because they are always willing to take charge.”
Netting 534 points for the season, Bowers shattered the PHS girls’ basketball record for most points scored in a season. Chantal Rule set the previous record of 448 season points in 2017.
Bowers ranked No. 3 in Wyoming for all classifications in scoring and was No. 1 in the 3A West Conference, averaging 20.5 points per game.
Bowers excelled at accurately sinking shots from across the court, shooting at 50 percent from inside the perimeter and 38 percent from outside – the third-highest 3-point percentage in the 3A West Conference.
Bowers maintained a free-throw shooting percentage of 83 percent, the third highest in Wyoming for all classifications.
On Jan. 21, Bowers went 12 for 12 at the charity stripe, the top performance for girls’ basketball in all classifications.
Squaring off against Lyman on Feb. 10, Bowers posted an 86-percent, 3-point field goal percentage, tossing in six of seven outside shots, the third-best performance for all classifications in Wyoming. Bowers tallied 31 points overall in the Lyman game, the fourth-highest performance in the 3A West Conference.
On offense, Bowers finished the season ranked second in the 3A West Conference for assists, averaging 3.4 assists per game. Defensively, Bowers rustled 3.5 steals per game, ranked No. 3 in the conference.
“Elyn had a phenomenal year,” said Coach Bowers. “She is a terrific 3-point shooter and posted solid stats, leading the team in many categories. Elyn is a strong ball handler and shooter. She is always in the gym working to improve her technique before and after practice. Elyn is also a great team leader.”
Kunard proved a powerful force on both offense and defense. The senior finished the 2022-2023 season ranked No. 4 in the 3A West Conference for scoring, averaging 12.5 points per game. Kunard shot 77 percent from the free-throw line, the 10th-highest percentage out of all classifications in Wyoming.
Kunard shot at 34 percent from outside the perimeter, coming in at No. 4 in the 3A West Conference. On Dec. 10, against Powell, and again on Jan. 21 against Mountain View, Kunard shot at 67 percent from the outside.
Squaring off against Rawlins on Jan. 6, Kunard tossed in six 3-pointers, the fifth-best performance statewide in 3A.
Kunard posted 23 points against Powell on Dec. 10.
Kunard shared the ball well, tallying three assists per game and ranked third in the conference. She delivered seven assists against both Kemmerer on Dec. 20 and Lyman on Feb. 10.
Defensively, Kunard was ninth in the conference for steals, averaging 2.5 steals per game.
“Sara had a great year,” said Coach Bowers. “She is a phenomenal shooter and was one of the best 3-point scorers in the state with 51 shots. Sara is a scrappy player and plays with heart and energy. Sara has a high basketball IQ and was always willing to step up with leadership to motivate the team. She is a strong player and handles the ball well. Sara is a joy to have on the team.”
Sandner dominated the rebound game, totaling 91 defensive rebounds and 77 offensive rebounds for the season. Averaging 6.2 rebounds per game, Sandner finished the season ranked No. 6 in the 3A West Conference.
During the Feb. 10 game against Lyman, Sandner grabbed 12 rebounds. She made 10 rebounds against both Evanston on Dec. 17 and Mountain View on March 3.
Offensively, Sandner posted a 56-percent field goal percentage, the fifth highest for all classifications in Wyoming. On Dec. 9, Sandner made nine of 10 attempted field goals against Riverton, the fourth-best performance in the 3A West Conference. Sandner averaged 9.3 points per game, ranked No. 6 in the conference.
On defense, Sandner led the team in blocks at 20. She tallied five blocks against Rawlins on Dec. 8. Sandner recorded 27 steals over the course of the season.
“Haylen had a really good year as a post player,” said Coach Bowers. “She is a super scrappy player and is really aggressive on the inside. She often got a rebound, outlet the ball and would somehow be the first person down the floor, ahead of the ball, to catch a pass for a layup. Haylen would always find ways to improve and was fun to coach. She brought energy and a strong work ethic to the team.”