RIVERTON/LANDER – Crushing the competition at the 2022 Bill Strannigan Memorial Basketball Tournament in Riverton and Lander, the Pinedale High School Lady Wranglers left no doubt the team is a force to be reckoned with this season.
The three-day event, running from Dec. 8-10, pitted Pinedale against 3A Conference rivals Rawlins and Powell and 4A opponent Riverton.
Pinedale trounced each adversary by significant margins.
Beginning on Thursday, Dec. 8, Pinedale clobbered the Rawlins Lady Outlaws, 60-25. The Lady Wranglers struck again on Friday, more than doubling the points scored by the Riverton Lady Wolverines to win a decisive 76-30 victory.
Powell proved a tougher opponent on Saturday, Dec. 10. Following a neck-and-neck second quarter, the Lady Wranglers stormed the court in the second half to win by 20 points, 59-39.
The Strannigan Tournament was a “great start” to the season, said Head Coach Trent Bowers.
“All in all, it was a good first weekend of games,” he added. “We were able to see where we are at and what we need to work on. The team played some good basketball over the weekend, especially considering it was the first week of the season.”
The Lady Wranglers took a few minutes to come together in the first quarter of the season-opener against the Lady Outlaws. Pinedale still managed to outscore its opponent, 8-3.
During the second quarter, the Lady Wranglers found their rhythm. The Pinedale offense launched an 18-point offense while an ironclad defense held Rawlins to 5 points.
At halftime, the Lady Wranglers led, 26-8.
Showing no signs of flagging in the second half, the Lady Wranglers widened the gap in the third quarter, netting 18 points to 8 from the Lady Outlaws.
Pinedale retained is lead through the fourth quarter with 16 points to 9 from Rawlins.
“We had a bit of a slow start in the first quarter as the team worked to find its chemistry,” said Coach Bowers. “The girls quickly started to mesh, applying pressure with a full-court press and getting baskets. The team made quick transitions from defense to offense.”
Unselfish basketball played a significant factor in the win, Bowers added. Nine Lady Wranglers put points up on the scoreboard against Rawlins.
“It was great to have each girl contribute,” Bowers said.
Sophomore Elyn Bowers scored 22 points, senior Sara Kunard 10, senior Haylen Sandner 9, senior Toree Andersen 7, freshman Alyxis White 4 and senior McKenzie Illoway 3. Sophomore Gabby Rogers and junior Trista Covill netted 2 points apiece with freshman Erica Wilson sinking a free throw.
Sandner led the team in rebounds with nine and tallied five blocks. Bowers made five assists and Kunard rustled four steals.
Dominating the court in the first quarter, the Pinedale offense scored 21 points while Riverton only managed 13.
Shifting into high gear in the second quarter, the Lady Wranglers outpaced Riverton, 25-10.
Pinedale led, 46-23, at halftime.
The Lady Wranglers continued to chip away at Riverton in the second half, netting 30 points while an ironclad defense held the Lady Wolverines to 7 points.
“We started the game nice and quick,” said Coach Bowers. “Elyn, Haylen and Sara really took off against Riverton and Gabby stepped up. Four girls scoring multiple digits is a recipe for success.”
Bowers scored 22 points, Sandner 18, Kunard 15, Rogers 10, Andersen 7 and Illoway 4. Sandner again led in rebounds, tallying nine. Bowers made five assists and Kunard, Rogers and Bowers snatched three steals apiece.
The Lady Wranglers pulled ahead, 18-11, at the end of the first quarter. Powell upped the ante in a close second quarter with Pinedale outscoring its rival by only 2 points, 17-15.
The halftime score favored the Lady Wranglers, 35-26.
In the second half, Pinedale scored 24 points while holding Powell to 13 points.
“This was a tougher game,” said Bowers. “Powell is a better team than they were last year. We were able to keep up the pressure and get turnovers to transition into buckets on the other end. Elyn, Haylen and Sara did an outstanding job playing selfless basketball. Haylen did a great job hitting the boards and getting rebounds.”
The Lady Wranglers compete at the Flaming Gorge Tournament in Green River and Rock Springs on Dec. 15-17.