Lady Punchers crush St. Stephens

Robert Galbreath photo Sophomore Micah Strong goes up for a basket against Kemmerer on Jan. 13. Strong led the Lady Punchers in scoring against St. Stephens on Jan. 20 and Wyoming Indian High School on Jan. 21.

WYOMING – Week two of conference play pitted the Big Piney High School Lady Puncher basketball team against 2A Southwest quadrant rivals St. Stephens and Wyoming Indian High School (WIHS) at away games on Jan. 20 and 21.

Leaving it all on the court against St. Stephens on Friday, Big Piney trounced its opponent, 74-42.

On Saturday, WIHS dominated the first quarter. The Lady Punchers battled back in the second and third quarters and chipped away at WIHS’s lead before WIHS pulled ahead for the win, 71-39.

“All in all we had a good weekend,” said Head Coach Brian Espenscheid. “Quite a few girls saw the ball go in the basket. We just keep getting better. The kids are happy and feel good about how things are going.”

St. Stephens

Big Piney netted 15 points in the first quarter. Sophomore Micah Strong set the pace with a trio of close-range shots and a free throw. Senior Hannah Runyan netted two jumpers. Fellow senior Rayne Wheeler scored 2 points from inside the paint and sunk a free throw. Sophomore Sienna Whiterock made a shot from the charity stripe.

An explosive second quarter saw the Lady Punchers score 23 points. Strong and freshmen Lizzy Brandt and Brylie Bailey each posted 6 points. Runyan tossed in 4 points. Senior Sharianne Brower rounded out scoring with a free throw.

Maintaining the pressure into the third quarter, Big Piney netted 16 points. Strong, Wheeler and Runyan scored 4 points apiece. Whiterock and Bailey both broke through the perimeter to sink a shot.

Showing no mercy in the final quarter, the Lady Punchers scored 20 points. Wheeler netted a pair of close-range shots. Brandt scored two baskets from inside the paint.

Sophomore Chelsea Wright entered the fray and sunk two free throws and a jumper. Freshman Kodee Greene added 4 points to the scoreboard. Brower and Runyan both netted inside shots.

Nine Lady Punchers contributed to the final tally against St. Stephens and four athletes scored double digits. Strong led with 17 points, Runyan 14, Wheeler 11 and Brandt 10. Bailey netted 8 points, with 4 apiece from Greene and Wright, and Brower and Whiterock both adding 3.

“Seventy-four points is a big deal, I don’t remember us scoring that high since I started coaching,” said Espenscheid. “I was really proud of the girls. Going to St. Stephens is no easy task. We came out and played hard for the whole game. That was a real nice team effort. Props to Hannah Runyan; she had her best game of the season points wise. Micah Strong had a great game. I don’t know how many steals she had. She was quite a force on the defensive side and scored 17 points.”

Wyoming Indian

WIHS pulled ahead in the first quarter, outmaneuvering the Lady Punchers, 13-3.

Regrouping in the second quarter, Big Piney netted 13 points to 18 from WIHS. Strong found openings in the WIHS defense to score three layups. Defensive pressure by Whiterock and Greene resulted in a turnover. Whiterock tossed in 3 points from the free-throw line.

Strong rustled a steal and Wheeler sunk a close-range shot. Brower scored a jumper before the halftime buzzer sounded.

WIHS won the third quarter, 21-14. Wheeler netted a jumper. Strong and Whiterock forced a turnover and Brower nabbed a steal. Strong scored from inside the paint. Whiterock seized a steal and Wheeler tossed in a close-range shot.

Strong scored on a fast break. Whiterock made two free throws. Wheeler scored a jumper and Strong made a layup.

Wheeler opened the final quarter with a steal. Brower caused a turnover and Greene made a free throw.

Bailey stepped onto the court and scored a jumper. Greene snatched a steal and Bailey netted an inside shot. Strong forced a turnover and tossed in a layup. Bailey rounded out the quarter with an inside shot.

Strong led Big Piney in scoring against WIHS with 14 points, Wheeler 10, Whiterock and Bailey 6 apiece, Brower 2 and Greene a free throw.

The Jan. 26 game against Farson is rescheduled for Jan. 31.

The Punchers host Rich County, Utah, on Friday, Jan. 27. Game times are 4 p.m. for junior varsity, 5:30 p.m. for girls’ varsity and 7 p.m. for boys’ varsity.

Big Piney hits the road to play Shoshoni on Saturday, Jan. 28.