The Powell County Lady Pirates liked their chances as they entered the 14th Region Girl’s Basketball Tournament last week in Irvine. In their bracket was a team they believed they could beat and another they had beaten last month. They did manage to make it to the semifinals, but came up short on their quest for a title.
Powell won their first round game against Wolfe County, 62-52. But they ran into a buzz saw, also known as Knott County Central, falling to the Lady Patriots 69-36.
The tournament opened last Monday as Powell and Wolfe took to the floor during the Tuesday night action, in the final first round game. Powell took advantage early, jumping out to a 15-6 lead. Powell was able to control the game because of their bench. The Lady Pirates could substitute and never really lose much on the floor. The evidence was he far that Powell’s bench would end up outscoring the Lady Wolves bench, 20-2. By the time the halftime horn sounded, Powell held a 34-22 lead.
Wolfe, the 55th District Champions, did no come to the tournament just to watch. The Lady Wolves picked up some steam in the third quarter. Outscoring Powell 13-7 in the quarter, the Lady Pirates lead was dwindled down to 41-35 as the game entered the final frame.
Powell regrouped, as Emily Branham came off the bench to turn up the heat in the game. Scoring her points in the second half, Branham and the Lady Pirates outlast the Lady Wolves. The Lady Pirates held on to their lead and pushed it out to a comfortable double digit advantage. When the final horn sounded, Powell had advanced to the semifinals with a 62-52 victory.
Wolfe out rebounded Powell 27-25, but that was the only advantage they held. Powell outshot Wolfe (48 to 41 percent) and turnovers (22-16). But both teams were exactly even on the charity stripe, going 11-for-16 for a very impressive 68 percent.
Wolfe was led by Hailey Smith with a game high 21 points and Madison Neeley with 11 points. The Lady Wolves ended their season with a 14-14 record.
Powell was led by Branham with an incredible performance and 18 points. Dakota Brown added 14 points and seven rebounds to the cause.
Powell turned for action in the semifinals last Friday against Knott Central. Back on Feb. 10, Powell pulled off quite huge win for the program, beating the Lady Patriots 51-39. Powell believed they could advance to the final round. But KCC had other plans.
Knott Central opened a 10-6 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. They dominated Powell in every aspect of the game. The Lady Patriots out shot Powell (57 to 25 percent) as the Lady Pirates only hit nine shots from the field. Knott Central also out rebounded Powell 31-18.
Powell had a tough time with weak side help on rebounding and difficulty in containing the Knott shooters. Knott took advantage of every Powell missed shot and held a 30-20 halftime lead. It was the closest Powell would get the rest of the evening. There was a little excitement in the otherwise one-sided game. Powell’s Ashley King and Knott’s Breana Harrington traded some words after King was fouled on a shot by Harrington. The result was a double technical. But with the exception of some physical play, the Lady Patriots rolled through the second half, outscoring Powell 39-16. The result was a revenge win by the Lady Patriots, 69-36.
Knott, who went on to beat Hazard 48-45 in the championship game last Saturday, was led by Harrington with a game high 19 points and nine rebounds. Allie O’Hair tossed in 14 and Jada Higgins chipped in 12 points. They will play Louisville Mercy today (Thursday, Mar.8) in the Kentucky Girl’s State Tournament first round.
The Lady Pirates were led by Dakota Brown with 12 points and Emily Branham with 11 points. Ashley King scored five points. Macey Howell, Briana Bush, Alisha Elam and Gracie Hall each scored two points in the final game of the year.
Brown and Branham were both named to the 14th Region All-Tournament Team.
Powell closed out their season with a 17-13 record.