Puncher girls trounce Wind River

Joan Mitchell photo Junior Hanna Hansen goes up for a basket during the Jan. 22 game against Wind River.

BIG PINEY – Regular conference season opened with a bang for the Big Piney girls’ basketball team. Taking their game to another level, the Punchers meshed well and demonstrated solid passing, rebounding, steals, speed and scoring. The team seemed to be everywhere at once, applying pressure in all the right places.

When the final buzzer sounded, Big Piney won by a significant margin, 58-30.

Puncher defense set the tone in the first quarter when senior Cassidy Espenscheid and junior Ceci Sambrano forced turnovers from their opponent. Big Piney opened their offense with 2-pointers by Espenscheid and junior Sierra Keiter.

Back in the game following an injury, junior Hanna Hansen demonstrated her accuracy with double 2-pointers and a pair of free throws. Junior Lena Hatch pulled off a steal and Keiter finished up the quarter with a free throw.

Big Piney dominated scoring in the second quarter, out-shooting their opponent, 22-5. Hansen and senior Ryker Goodman caught early rebounds, followed by a 2-pointer from Goodman. Hatch, Espenscheid and Hibbert stepped up defensively and Hibbert caught a rebound for a layup.

Goodman proved her accuracy at the charity stripe, making four of four free throws. Goodman forced the ball away from Wind River, allowing Espenscheid to make a deep 3-pointer.

Sophomore Hannah Runyan entered the fray as the clock ticked down in the first half and scored a 2-pointer. Goodman and Espenscheid continued to seize the ball from their opponent.

Halftime found the Punchers with a substantial lead, 35-10.

Big Piney kept the offensive and defensive heat on during the third quarter. The Punchers tossed in 17 points and held Wind River to eight.

Hansen scored four points right away. Hibbert and Keiter made their opponent turn over the ball, allowing Keiter to toss in a 2-pointer. Sambrano swept in with a steal, putting Hatch in a position to make a 2-pointer.

Espenscheid made a breakaway layup as the third quarter ticked down. Junior Autumn Wright drew a foul and put away a perfect pair of free throws.

Big Piney’s lead stood at 52-18 when the fourth quarter began. Espenscheid, Runyan and Keiter scored 2 points each before varsity received a well-deserved break and junior varsity played out the remaining minutes.

Eight Big Piney girls scored against Wind River. Espenscheid shot in 18 points and Hansen added 12 to the roster. Keiter scored nine points and Goodman tossed in eight.

Runyan made four points with Hibbert contributing three. Hatch and Wright both rounded the tally out with two points.