Skyline High School graduate Ashayla Powers has been dealt more than a Rocky halfcourt shot’s range of adversity throughout much of her basketball life.
Four coaches in four years with the Falcons, now a standout on a 2-13 Chadron State program, the third-year college player continues to have the weight of being a top-level player on a struggling program.
“I just keep giving myself little tiny goals,” Powers said when asked about her strong individual winter season, where she is currently fourth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in scoring.
“But it does help when the team is winning. And I think,” she paused. “I hope we’ll start winning soon.”
Powers, a 2020 grad of Skyline, where she shouldered much of the responsibility on a 6-17 team her senior season (averaging 18.2 points and 10.3 boards), is having something of similar go on the hardwood three years later.
Though, she said, she doesn’t quite see it that way.
“It’s a lot different here in college because everyone is talented and everyone came here for a reason obviously,” Powers said. “But I would say I’ve taken the leadership role here a lot easier because I was a leader in high school.”
Powers is averaging 16.7 points per game ahead of the Eagles’ home tilt against Fort Lewis Friday, shooting 53.2% (101 of 190) from the field.
The problem is, that’s almost one-third of the team’s total points (59.1), is only slightly more than its average margin of loss (15.4) and her high field-goal percentage only lifts her team to a lowly 36% on the year.
She remains positive despite it.
“Our plan right now is just to win our next game,” said Powers, who also averages 6.2 boards. “We do play better at home and we have to make sure to win every home game. And we have four coming up.”
For all that’s left to be desired from Chadron State’s current losing record — which, without a giant turnaround in the next couple months, would be Powers’ third straight losing season with the Eagles — the hometown girl said she has enjoyed her basketball journey in Nebraska.
She was the RMAC player of the week in late December. And with the way she’s currently playing, she could be in the running for the conference’s player of the year at some point with two years of eligibility remaining.
By the account of the school’s seventh-year head coach Janet Raymer, Powers only continues to improve as a player and leader.
But now, although a difficult ask, the coach said she needs her to make another jump to help the Eagles get on track.
“Part of it is to rely on her teammates a little bit more,” Raymer said. “I know she feels like she probably has to take it on her shoulders all the time. But we have some players stepping up and have capable players who can help out and have a big role… We have so much growth every week.”
The coach is already seeing her star make the adjustments necessary.
“Because people are doubling and tripling her at this point, she is starting to have to expand her game again and is realizing the ball is going to have to move even more for her to be able to score,” Raymer said. “The goal is, when people think that they can hold Shay, they think they probably have the win. And in the case of a week ago or two weeks ago — that’s probably true. But I don’t think that will be the case going forward.”
Powers is one of three former Colorado high school players currently inside the RMAC’s top 10 in scoring.
Former Del Norte standout and 2A player of the year Kendra Parra is second at a 17.6 scoring average for Metro State.
Harrison grad Amyah Moore Allen is fifth (15.5 ppg) for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.