PINEDALE – Regardless of the size of the Pinedale High School Lady Wranglers’ opponents, despite the number of players missing practice due to major illnesses, whether the game is home or away, the Lady Wranglers are more than capable of rising to the challenge.
Pinedale limped into the second day of the Flaming Gorge Tournament on Friday, Dec. 16, the team still recovering from a bug, said Head Coach Trent Bowers, but it came out on top.
The final tally on the scoreboard through the weekend hardly reflected the fact the Lady Wranglers were under the weather. Pinedale gritted through a tough weekend and scored a clean sweep against much larger 4A teams.
The Lady Wranglers defeated Kelly Walsh High School, 55-50, on Friday, Dec. 16. Buoyed by the win, Pinedale overpowered Cheyenne South, 65-47, on Saturday. Also on Saturday afternoon, Pinedale battled 4A Evanston to a 69-57 victory.
“All in all, it was a good weekend of basketball considering the lack of practice and going down to Flaming Gorge wounded,” said Coach Bowers. “The kids really wanted to play and I’m proud of them for stepping up and fighting through the weekend.”
Back in action on Tuesday, Dec. 20, the Lady Wranglers scored their first home win against Kemmerer, 68-43.
The team heads into the winter break undefeated, 7-0.
Flaming Gorge – Kelly Walsh
Pinedale burst onto the court ready to inflict damage. The Lady Wranglers outscored Kelly Walsh, 20-10, in the first quarter.
Pinedale’s commanding lead carried it through a tough second quarter. Pinedale led, 27-22, when the halftime buzzer sounded.
Rebounding in the third quarter, Pinedale netted 14 points while a tighter defense held Kelly Walsh to 10 points. The final quarter came down to the wire with Pinedale maintaining the lead by 5 points.
“We had a good start and jumped out 20-10 in the first quarter, hitting shots and running the floor really well,” said Bowers. “The next three quarters were just a fight to keep in the game. You could tell the girls were low on energy. They did a good job, though, and won the third quarter and held their own in the fourth. We were just happy to get the win.”
Sophomore Elyn Bowers and seniors Sara Kunard and Haylen Sandner all scored double digits against Kelly Walsh. Bowers led the team with 24 points, Kunard 13 and Sandner 10.
Sophomore Gabby Rogers contributed 4 points, senior McKenzie Illoway 3 and junior Trista Covill rounded out scoring with a free throw.
“Trista did a great job rebounding against Kelly Walsh,” said Coach Bowers. “Gabby does a great job knocking down shots and McKenzie also did great knocking down the boards.”
Sandner and Covill both tallied 4 rebounds. Kunard and senior Toree Andersen each made 3 assists and Bowers snatched 3 steals.
The first quarter ended in a 15-15 stalemate.
The Lady Wranglers pulled ahead in the second quarter, outscoring Cheyenne South, 19-12.
Pinedale hit the locker rooms at halftime ahead, 34-27.
The Lady Wranglers won the third quarter, 12-6, and scored 19 points in the fourth quarter while holding Cheyenne South to 14.
“We had a little more energy on Saturday thanks to food and sleep,” said Bowers. “We came out tight in the first quarter, but the girls started doing their thing in the second quarter. The team chemistry started to click and the girls just put it away, quarter by quarter.”
Three athletes scored triple digits against Cheyenne South – Bowers with 19 points, Illoway at 15 and Sandner 12.
“McKenzie had a really good game, scoring in each quarter,” said Bowers. “Toree did a good job being a defensive hound, disrupting Cheyenne South’s offense and creating turnover.”
Kunard added 8 points to the scoreboard, Rogers 6, Andersen 3 and Covill 2. Rogers made 6 rebounds. Kunard delivered 6 assists and Bowers nabbed 8 steals.
Pinedale hit the ground running in the first quarter, scoring 24 points and holding Evanston to 10. The Lady Wranglers’ commanding lead allowed the team to pull through the next three neck-and-neck quarters to secure the win.
“The girls had a ton of energy and were starting to get back to normal against Evanston,” said Bowers. “Elyn had an amazing first quarter with 13 points. Sara did a great job and with Elyn and Haylen make a three-headed monster on offense. Trista and Haylen did a great job being physical and rebounding against girls much bigger than they are. Sara provided leadership and great communication. Toree brought the energy. It was a team effort.”
Bowers totaled 30 points against Evanston. Sandner scored 19, Kunard 17, Rogers 2 and Covill a free throw. Sandner tallied 10 rebounds. Bowers led in assists and steals, with 5 and 4, respectively.
The Lady Wranglers host the Girls’ Winter Classic Tournament in Pinedale, Friday through Saturday, Jan. 6-7.