Rogers hits milestone as Lady Wrangers face pressure

Senior Roxanne Rogers prepares to shoot a free throw. Rogers surpassed 1,000 high school career points at the Flaming Gorge Classic. (Laila Illoway photo).

SWEETWATER COUNTY – Squaring off against some of the largest basketball programs in Wyoming, the Lady Wranglers courageously held their own and demonstrated their ability to take on any opponent at the Flaming Gorge Classic hosted by Rock Springs and Green River.

On Thursday, Dec. 16, Pinedale hit the court against Natrona County High School. In a point-for-point nail-biter, the Lady Wranglers fought Natrona County to a 30-30 draw at the end of the third quarter.

Natrona County broke the stalemate with a powerful offense in the final 2 minutes of the game to win, 50-38.

Pinedale faced Laramie on Friday. Despite an explosive second quarter by the Lady Wranglers, Laramie took the initiative in the second half for a 57-45 win.

Undeterred by the losses, Pinedale regrouped on Saturday and trounced Cheyenne South, 57-27.

Senior Roxanne Rogers hit a milestone against Natrona County, surpassing 1,000 career points.

Natrona County

Pinedale set the momentum in the first quarter, leading, 13- 11. Natrona County answered back in the second quarter to take the lead at halftime, 22-19.

Pinedale closed the deficit and tied Natrona County, 30-30, as the fourth quarter opened. The teams fought neck-and-neck through most of the fourth quarter until Natrona County pulled ahead before the final buzzer sounded.

Freshman Elyn Bowers led the Lady Wranglers in scoring with 13 points. Rogers scored seven points and junior Haylen Sandner added six. Senior Abigail Hawke and junior McKenzie Illoway both tossed in five points while junior Mandy Majhanovich rounded the scorebook out with two.

Hawke finished the game with nine rebounds. Rogers and senior Olivia Edwards had three assists each. Rogers snatched five steals.

“Natrona County are ranked No. 3 in 4A and they brought the pressure,” said head coach Trent Bowers. “Their lineup is a bit longer and taller than us. It was a great match up, though, back and forth until the last 2 minutes. Overall, the game was a good challenge to show us where we stand against one of the best teams in the state.”

Bowers highlighted Rogers hitting 1,000 points.

“That is a really amazing milestone and it was great to celebrate as a team,” he added.

Laramie

Laramie came out on top in the first quarter, 18-10. The Lady Wranglers turned the tables in the second quarter, scoring 19 points while a bolder defense held Laramie to 12.

The first half ended with Pinedale trailing by a single point, 30-29.

Laramie pulled out all the stops in the third quarter, outscoring Pinedale 15-5. The Lady Wranglers regrouped in the third quarter, nearly matching Laramie in scoring, but still came up short.

Rogers finished the game with 18 points. Bowers scored 16 points, Sandner had five with three apiece from Edwards and junior Sara Kunard.

Sandner led the team in rebounds with eight. Rogers made three assists and grabbed four steals.

“Laramie was a good learning opportunity, to show us what we need to do to get better,” Coach Bowers said. “Laramie jumped out right away and we were down eight points. Laramie forced turnover with a 1-2-2 press and had big girls up top that wreaked havoc for us. We did handle the pressure better as the game went on and we grew from the experience. Roxanne Rogers and Elyn Bowers both had great games and our guards are doing a good job.”

Cheyenne South

Pinedale threw down the gauntlet in the first quarter, establishing a commanding 23-4 lead. Carrying the momentum into the second quarter, Pinedale outscored Cheyenne South, 15-8.

Cheyenne South found its footing in the third quarter, scoring nine points while Pinedale shot in six. The Lady Wranglers regained the momentum in the fourth quarter, sinking 13 points and holding Cheyenne South to six.

Rogers led in scoring with 15 points. Kunard added 10 points to the scoreboard. Bowers, Sandner and Hawke contributed six points each. Illoway scored four points, Edwards three with senior Hadli Nate adding a free throw.

Hawke tallied nine rebounds and 10 blocks. Bowers made five assists and three steals.

“We made really good adjustments against Cheyenne South,” said Coach Bowers. “Hawke tied the school record in blocks. She played a tremendous game defensively, hitting the board and protecting the basket. It was great to see Sara Kunard rebound and shoot in double digits.”

The Lady Wranglers break for Christmas to “cool their minds” and “get their hunger back” before hitting the floor for practice the following Monday, said Bowers.

“Practice over break will give us a blueprint on what we need to be better at – handling pressure more and improving our offensive and defensive sets.”

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