Lady Punchers rally in nailbiter against Shoshoni
WYOMING – Putting up a tenacious fight against 2A conference rival Shoshoni, the Big Piney High School Lady Punchers basketball team gritted through four physical quarters during an away game that came down to the wire on Saturday, Jan. 28.
Big Piney controlled the scoreboard through the first and second quarters. Shoshoni dominated the third quarter. Rebounding in the fourth quarter, Big Piney battled back and closed the gap to a single possession. Shoshoni managed to pull out the win, 40-37, in a game that could have gone either way.
“The girls had a good weekend,” said Head Coach Brian Espenscheid. “We battled the elements and got over to Shoshoni. Our girls really performed great. We just had a little bit of a letdown in the third quarter, but overall, it probably was our best effort of the season. I think we got better again in that game. I think we’re on the right track and I’m super proud of the girls.”
On Friday, Jan. 27, Big Piney came up short against tough competition from Rich County, Utah, on the home court. Rich County pulled out the win, 54-29.
“Rich County was a good team and really well coached,” said Espenscheid. “I think our girls battled the whole night, which is huge. The best thing about it was our press break was as good as we’ve done all year for an extended period of time. We were able to get some good shots. It was a good effort and the girls felt good about how we competed against a really good team.”
The Lady Rebels established a strong lead, 14-4, in the first quarter.
Big Piney sophomore Micah Strong snatched a steal early in the opening quarter. Defensive pressure by senior Rayne Wheeler resulted in a turnover.
Strong scored Big Piney’s first points with a layup. Senior Sharianne Brower grabbed two steals. Strong sunk a second layup.
Big Piney chipped away at Rich County’s lead in the second quarter, netting 10 points to 13 from the Lady Rebels.
Senior Hannah Runyan converted an and-1 and sunk a pair of free throws. Freshman Lizzy Brandt tossed in a layup. Fellow freshman Brylie Bailey netted a close-range shot.
Rich County won the third quarter, 17-8.
Runyan opened the second half for Big Piney with an inside shot. Brower and freshman Kodee Greene both nabbed steals. Strong netted a layup. Runyan broke through the perimeter to score and Wheeler sunk a jumper.
Big Piney came close to matching Rich County in scoring during the final quarter. Sophomore Chelsea Wright found an opening in Rich County’s defense to score. Wheeler tossed in a jumper and rustled a steal. Defensive pressure by Greene and Brandt resulted in a turnover and Bailey scored a close-range shot.
Runyan led scoring against Rich County with 9 points. Strong contributed 6 points, Wheeler and Bailey each 5 with Brandt and Wright tallying 2 points apiece.
Big Piney outscored the Lady Rebels, 11-7, in the first quarter. Senior Shelby Guest snapped up a steal and tossed in a layup. Runyan converted an and-1. Strong grabbed a steal and Wheeler forced a turnover. Wheeler and Brower both netted jumpers. Strong and Brower each snatched a steal and Guest sunk a layup.
Guest tied the game at 15 points with a jumper as the second quarter began. A free throw by Runyan placed Big Piney ahead, 16-15. Greene made a steal and Strong scored a layup. A 3-pointer by Strong widened Big Piney’s lead, 21-17.
The halftime score favored Big Piney, 23-20.
Shoshoni rallied in the third quarter and edged ahead, 31-23.
Refusing to throw in the towel, the Lady Punchers honed in on Shoshoni in the final quarter, making it a one-possession game. Runyan netted a jumper. Brower tossed in a close-range shot and a deep outside shot.
Greene and Brandt each made steals. Defensive pressure by Guest and Wright forced a turnover. Runyan sunk an inside shot, closing Shoshoni’s lead to 3 points. Wheeler scored from inside the perimeter. Brower rustled a steal and tossed in a 3-pointer.
The Punchers host Farson on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Results were not available at press time.
Big Piney hosts Wind River on Saturday, Feb. 4. Game times are 11 a.m. for junior varsity with girls’ varsity playing at 12:30 p.m. and boys’ varsity at 2 p.m.