By JAMES COOK
The Powell County Lady Pirates may be small in some positions, but they play big on the floor. That was evident in two games last week. One ended up being a loss, while the other game may have boosted their confidence with a big district win.
Last Monday the Lady Pirates traveled to the unfriendly confines of The Pit, a.k.a historic Memorial Gymnasium, also known as the home court of the Hazard Lady Bulldogs. The Lady Dawgs are a regional opponent that has, from time to time, given Powell some fits. This game was no exception.
The home team opened up a 20-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. They would hold the lead, but Powell did manage to chip away and stay close throughout the game. Powell trailed 35-25 at the half, but outscored Hazard by one point in each of the last two quarters. But they could not overcome the first quarter deficit.
The difference in the game was evident by looking at the shooting percentages. Powell hit 19-of-48 shots from the field for 39 percent, while Hazard connected on 20-of-41 shots for 48 percent. Turnovers were also an issue as stats indicated that Powell committed 20 miscues to Hazard’s two.
Hazard won 67-59.
Powell’s Destiny Peck, one of the region’s top players, scored a game high 22 points and pulled down 13 boards. She was also 8-for-11 a the charity stripe. She was followed by Briana Elam with a season high 19 points for her. Amber Branham added seven points. Shayla Lindon and Sarah Spencer each chipped in four points, while Haleigh Bauer added two and Emily Branham tossed in a free throw.
Hazard was led by seventh grader Hayley Caudill with 17 points, Colbi Johnson with 16 and Alyssa Muha with 10 points.
Last Friday Powell made the bus ride to Lee County for their first big district game. The memory of last year’s surprise loss to Lee in the first round of the district tournament was still haunting some lady Pirates. The nightmare seemed to have started all over again early in this game.
Lee came out hot taking a quick 17-14 lead. But they extended that lead in the second quarter and held a 31-22 halftime advantage on their home floor.
Though we may never know what Powell Head Coach Ken Jones told his team during the break, it must have worked. The Lady Pirates came out blazing. They outscored Lee 14-3 in the third period to take a 36-34 lead entering the final frame.
The last quarter was quite a show. With Powell taking a six point advantage a the five minute mark, Lee went on a 12-0 run to regain the lead by six. But Powell fought back with Peck in foul trouble the guards had to once again answer the call. And they did.
Lindon was in rare form as she picked off passes, stole the ball and grabbed loose rebounds for Powell. Powell fought back and the see-saw battle continued until the final 30 seconds of the game. A key rebound and basket by Lindon helped to seal the deal. Powell won in a close game, 54-50.
Peck and Lindon led the way for Powell with 14 points each. Amber Branham tossed in nine points, Dakota Brown added eight points and picked up nine rebounds. Briana Elam added seven points and nine boards to the winning cause. Emily Branham score a basket as well.
Lee was led by sophomore guard Hannah Kash with 22 points and Peyton Henry with 11.
Free throws, one of Powell’s weaknesses in recent years, helped them in the game. The Lady Pirates connected on 17-of-24 from the charity stripe for 70 percent. They also out-rebounded Lee 33-20, but turnovers seemed to still be an issue as they committed 17 in the game.
With the win Powell improves to 3-1 for the season and 1-0 in district play. They were scheduled to travel to Tates Creek this past Tuesday. Then they will set sails for the Hyden Citizens Bank Classic Tournament held at Leslie County this Friday and Saturday. They will play Betsy Layne on Friday, before taking on Buckhorn and host Leslie County on Saturday.