The Jackson Lady Broncs knew they would have their work cut out for them if they were to put away last week’s cringe effort against Lander Valley and turn things around.
Pinedale has probably the best girls basketball team in the state at any level. They get production from at least seven key players with a good mix of experience and youth.
To make matters worse, the Lady Broncs were without their leading scorer in Karsen Breeding, who was away attending a volleyball camp.
Pinedale 64, Jackson 32
In Breeding’s absence, Gracie Hardeman stepped up big time over the weekend. She had her two best games in a long time, answering a challenge from coach Andrea Joyce, who said she needed more out of the power forward.
Hardeman controlled the boards for coach Joyce, pulling down 10 rebounds and adding 5 points in the losing effort Friday night against Pinedale. After a quiet 1st half, senior Rachel Noyce scored 9 to go along with her 10 boards.
But Jackson struggled mightily with the pressure the Lady Wranglers brought. The 3/4 court trap created way too many turnovers (29 in all) and Pinedale’s offense, on an off night by their standards, was not going to be denied.
A bonus effort from Bailey Chamberlain kept Pinedale from doing even more damage. The unsung guard doesn’t show up on the stat sheet many nights unless she fouls out (which she did in both games over the weekend). But her defense is like a Wind River mosquito swarm in mid-July.
Lander Valley 54, Jackson 34
Saturday’s game was closer than the final score would indicate. Jackson played better, Gracie was good again with 8 points and 7 boards, but Lander Valley stretched a 5-pt halftime lead over the final 16 minutes without ever feeling threatened.
Improvement? It was there. The ladies did a better job of beating the press and taking care of the basketball. Caroline Fouras came to the forefront with 8-pt games on both Friday and Saturday just when coach Joyce was looking for someone to step up.
Off the bench, Anna Revill lacks nothing but confidence at this point. She has all the tools and instinct to demand more and more playing time. And Courtney Noyce has looked very good on the JV team should Joyce look to shake things up a bit.