By JAMES COOK
The Powell County Lady Pirates did a little traveling before Christmas and came away with a couple wins in the Hyden Citizens Bank Classic at Leslie County. Powell knocked off Betsy Layne and Buckhorn, but fell to the host.
The fun began the Friday before Christmas as Powell took on Betsy Layne. The Lady Pirates jumped out to a 15-9 lead and just took over. The Lady Pirates offense hit the right gears at the right times, and had fewer turnovers than in most recent outings. Powell held a 29-21 halftime lead.
In the second half it was all Powell as the defense held Betsy Layne to just six points in the third and in the fourth quarters. Powell won the game easily, 49-33.
Dakota Brown led the way with 15 points and Amber Branham tossed in 11. An ill Destiny Peck scored 10 points in the game. Briana Elam added seven and Shayla Lindon rounded out the scoring with six points.
Then on Saturday, Dec. 19 the Lady Pirates had to play two games. The first opponent was Buckhorn, a 14th Region team. The game was a nail-biter for the Lady Pirates. The Lady Wildcats led 17-9 early, but Powell managed to swing the momentum some. Despite a valiant first half effort, the lady Pirates trailed 30-25 at the half.
In the third quarter Powell outscored Buckhorn 16-7 to take the lead at 41-37. Both teams entered the final frame, foul shots kept Buckhorn close, but the Lady Pirates held on for a 53-51 win.
Powell was out rebounded by Buckhorn (31-28) and the Lady Wildcats hit 50 percent of their three point shots (4-for-8), as Powell was 2-for-8 for 28 percent.
Peck led the way for Powell with 16 points. Lindon played an excellent game despite having four fouls to score 10 points. Briana Elam also scored 10 points. Brown added six points, Gracie Hall scored five, Amber Branham was held to only four points and Haleigh Bauer came of the bench to add two points.
In the night cap Powell took on the host Leslie County Lady Eagles. The last time the two teams played each other was on the same floor in the 14th Region Semi-Finals back on March 7, 2014. Powell upset the Lady Eagles with some last second heroics, 70-69.
This game would not resemble that contest.
Powell held a slim 14-13 lead early on, but Leslie began to pull away and led 35-29 at the half. Both teams had problems with turnovers with Powell committing 14, but Leslie had 10. Both defenses also picked up the pace.
In the second half Leslie slowly built up their lead. They led 48-40 as the final frame began. Leslie, the region’s top team, then outlasted Powell and held on for the 65-54 victory.
Peck led the Lady Pirates again with 17 points. Briana Elam, who seemed to play rather well in the tournament, tossed in 11 points and four assists. Amber Branham was back on track and scored nine points, as Brown added eight points and picked up eight rebounds, seven of those on defense.
Sarah Spencer scored four points, Hall added three more and Emily Branham connected on two free throws. Lindon did not score, but picked up five assists in the game.
Leslie was led by Madison Combs with a game high 25 points and Emily Griffith with 15. Leslie improved to 9-1.
The Lady Pirates enjoyed a Christmas break and hold a 6-2 record. They are playing this week in the Mingua Beef Jerky Holiday Classic in Bourbon County. They will return to regular action on Jan. 4 as they travel to Menifee County. Powell will return home on Jan. 8 to play Owlsey County as part of a boys/girls varsity doubleheader.