Powell, 6-3 overall and 2-1 in 3A West play, defeated Mountain View 53-47night. The Panthers play Lyman, 3-7 overall, afternoon.
Head boys' basketball coach Chase Kistler said his team showed it learned from a week's practice that focused on closing games out, hitting free throws late and making smart plays when it mattered. Not all wins are pretty, but they all count, Kistler said, and he told his players he was proud of them.
Junior guard Kalei Smith once again paced the Panthers, scoring 19 points, and fellow junior Zach Heny added 12. Seniors Hayden Cragoe and Garrett Michael both added seven.
Powell jumped on Mountain View, 6-4 overall, early, building a 11-2 lead in the first period behind six points and two steals from Smith, and holding an 11-6 edge at the end of the quarter. The Panthers may have endured a long drive, but they came out alert and ready to compete.
Smith slammed one home early in the second to give Powell a 15-6 lead and another steal, this time by Cragoe, helped Powell build a 17-6 lead and forced Mountain View to ask for time.
The Panthers were on the prowl, and roaring. When Cragoe added a 3-pointer after the teams took the court again, the lead grew to 20-6.
But Powell once again struggled with a lead, and an 8-0 run by the Buffalos cut into the lead. The score was knotted at 24-24 as the first half came to a close, but a sweet lefty scoop shot by Smith gave the Panthers a 26-24 lead at the break.
Senior post Garrett Michael opened the second-half scoring with a bucket and a free throw to build the lead to five. The Panthers continued to apply pressure and force turnovers, and when Smith knocked down a 3, the lead was 32-24.
A 3-pointer by Heny built the lead to 37-28 and once again the Panthers were in control as the period came to a close. Mountain View struggled to hold onto the ball and scored only one basket and two free throws in the quarter.
But the Buffalos came back once again, and a technical foul against Michael, which led to two Mountain View free throws following a basket helped chip away at the Powell lead. Soon, Mountain View trailed by only one point, 37-36.
Junior forward Carter Baxter, who had been scoreless, knocked down a pair of free throws to boost the PHS lead to three, and after a Buffalos' score, Smith drove to net a pair and keep Powell ahead by three.
Heny, who handled the ball on a regular basis, nailed a jumper to make it 45-42, and when Schwan made one of two free throws, it was 46-42 with under 2 minutes to play. Powell just needed to hold the lead in the closing seconds, and when Heny rattled in a pair from the charity stripe, the Panthers had a six-point lead.
When a fast break ended with a hoop plus the foul from Schwan the Panthers were cruising with a nine-point edge as time slipped from the clock.
Powell held on for the six-point victory, and is ready to hit the road for the second game on its longest road trip of the season.