It has become the biggest night of the season in Stanton. The annual boys/girls varsity battle between district rivals always seems to draw a big crowd. Powell always puts on a great night of events for the occasion. Lady Pirate Dakota Brown was honored for scoring her 1,000th point and the newest members of the PCHS Basketball Hall of Fame were honored. There was also a moment of silence for HOF members who have passed away this past year.
Of course, it the matchup between Estill and Powell on the hardwood that makes the night special. So much so that Pirate Head Coach David Fraley was present despite having the flu, sitting on the end of the bench wearing a mask and was still very much into the game, as Assistant Coach Bobby Bowling took the reigns. But this time around, it was only a big night for one side.
Both the Engineers and Lady Engineers jumped out to huge leads and held on for 10 point victories over the Pirates and Lady Pirates. The games, which had district seeding implications, seemed to have more of a post-season tournament atmosphere.
The ladies took to the court first. Both teams looked prime for another classic matchup. Just two weeks ago the Lady Pirates and Lady Engineers played a double overtime thriller in Irvine, with Powell getting the 73-69 win. The first quarter of last Friday night’s game was close, as Still held a slim 12-10 lead.
Estill went on a 9-2 run to extend their lead early in the second quarter. But Powell fought back. Key free throws by Brown and shots by Alisha Elam edged the home team closer. The visitors still held a slim 26-22 lead at the half.
Powell hit first in the third quarter to make it a two point contest, 26-24. But it was Estill from there on. It seemed like for every shot Powell hit, Estill would hit two. The Lady Engineers would push their lead to nine points, 37-28. The Lady Pirates would scratch and claw their way back to make it close at 43-37 entering the fourth quarter.
That would be the closest Powell would get. Estill took advantage of missed shots, fast breaks and miscues to open up a 62-49 lead with 1:40 to play. Powell tried to mount a comeback, but time and fortune was not on their side. The Lady Engineers took the 64-54 win.
With the win Estill improved to 7-14 overall, but more importantly they are 2-3 in the district. Powell fell to 10-11 and 2-4 in district play. Estill was slated to play Lee County (2-2 in the district) this past Monday. It is now a possibility that Powell could fall to the number four seed, based on how the rest of the district games play out.
Estill was led by Amy Brewer with a game high 21 points and 19 rebounds. Savannah Brewer chipped in 16, as did Meagan Bellamy. Eighth grader, Mia Hale, tossed in 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Brown led Powell with 14 points and 13 boards. Elam scored 11 and Ashley King tossed in 10 points. Macey Howell scored eight points and had seven rebounds.
The boys capped off the night with what, at times, felt like a district title game. Powell struck first on a quick layup by Payton Barnett, but then Estill matched with a three from Joe Benton. That started a 9-0 run early, but a few more layups by Barnett along with early foul trouble for one half of the Engineer Twin Towers, helped Powell edge back to 9-7. But the visitors, namely Caleb Bonny, closed out the first quarter with five straight points to make it 14-7 after one period.
The Engineers pushed their lead to 20-12 midway through the second stanza and the Pirates began their comeback move. Drew Ginter scored after receiving an awesome pass from Bryce Merion. Barnett caught fire gain and the score was 20-18 with 1:30 to play in the half. Then the visitors took the air out of the ball, holding it until just four seconds to play before missing their shot. Merion rebounded and tried a long shot at the buzzer, but the scores stood at 20-18.
The second half began with Estill trying to regain some momentum, but the Pirates stayed close. The Engineers pushed their led to 29-21, only to see the home team creep right back into the game. Carlos Hernandez hit a shot in the lane then later nailed a three, meanwhile DaShaun Williams picked up a steal, scored and then hit two charity tosses. Chimaobi Ajuonuma was showing his proweness on the inside with rebounding and put back scores. Estill tried to hold the ball again, but turned it over. That is when the three by Hernandez made it 33-30 at the :25 mark. But Bonny answered in the closing seconds of the period to make it 36-30 entering the final frame.
The atmosphere was electric as the fourth quarter got under way. Both teams traded shots, but Estill held the lead, 38-30. That is when the Pirates mounted another offensive surge.
Ajuonuma bulldogged his way along he baseline to score, Hernandez hit a jumper in the lane off a fast break, while the Engineers managed just a free throw in the time span. Hernandez scored an an impressive cutting move on an inbounds pass, Ginter put back a missed shot and Barnett connected on one of two free throws. The home crowd exploded as Barnett’s shot slipped through the net, the score was now 39-39 with just 3:20 to play in the game.
But it seemed that each time Powell got close or when they tied the game the fouls would begin to pile up. Four straight charity tosses hit by Estill helped them regain the lead. In fact Estill only scored six points from the field in the final three minutes of the game, with the remaining eight points coming on free throws, which they did not miss down the stretch.
Powell tried to get back into the hunt, but the shots were not falling. Barnett hit two free throws and the final shot, the Pirates only scores in the final minutes. Estill held on to survive, 53-43.
Estill, now 16-6 overall, improved to 5-0 in district play and grabbed the number one seed in the 56th District. They were led by Bonny with 21 points and Lane Doty with 10. They were the only two in double figures for the visitors.
Powell fell to 12-10 overall and 4-2 in the district, giving them the number two seed. Earlier in the week they fell to Knott Central 73-57, where Williams had an incredible 17 point night. Barnett had 12 and Ginter scored 10 at KCC. Against Estill Barnett led the Pirates with 18 points, the only Pirate in double figures.
The Lady Pirates were scheduled to travel to Perry Central this past Monday and return home Thursday to host Montgomery County. On Saturday they play Knott Central at home beginning at 5 p.m.
The Pirates were slated to host Wolfe County this past Tuesday and will host Jackson City this Friday in their last home game. On Saturday they will travel to Williamstown, before ending the regular season on the road on Feb. 13 at Montgomery County and Feb. 15 at Morgan County.