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PHS girls, boys advance to state basketball tourney

With a pair of wins at the regional tournament, the Powell High School girls and boys basketball teams each earned tickets to this week's Class 3A State Tournament in Casper.

On Saturday, the Lady Panthers settled  for Class 3A West's No. 2 seed after a 31-19 loss to regional champion (and tournament host) Mountain View. The Panther boys earned a trip to state with a 60-56 overtime win against Jackson, then ended up with the West's No. 4 seed by falling to Star Valley on Saturday evening, 54-42.

The PHS girls trailed Mountain View just 9-8 at the half, but the Lady Buffaloes seized a 12-point lead in the opening minutes of the third quarter and held on. Mountain View has gotten the best of Powell the three times they've met this season.

The Lady Panthers will face Torrington, the No. 3 seed from Class 3A East, at 9 a.m. Thursday to kick off their state tournament.

The girls had known they were state-bound after beating Star Valley 35-23 on Friday in the regional semifinals. A 12-0 third-quarter run -- keyed by freshman Kalina Smith -- had made the difference.

The Powell boys, meanwhile, had a more difficult path to the state tournament after losing 73-60 in Friday's semifinal game against rival Cody 

In a must-win Saturday game with Jackson, Powell trailed most of the contest before coming back and claiming a victory in the bonus period. A few hours later, Powell lost out on Class 3A West's No. 3 seed to Star Valley.

The Panther boys now will face Wheatland -- the East's No. 1 seed -- at 9 p.m. Thursday in Casper.

A record-setting performance by junior Kalei Smith could not lead the Panther boys' basketball to a win over Cody on Friday; Smith scored 39 points, breaking Powell High School's old scoring record of 35 points.

In a postgame radio interview with KPOW-AM, PHS boys head basketball coach Chase Kistler said the officials allowed Cody to win the game with rough, physical play in the fourth quarter. But he said the Panthers need to be "young men, not boys" to earn a trip to the 3A state tourney.

Powell led Cody 56-53 at the end of three but was outscored 21-4 in the fourth period. The Panthers missed free throws, threw the ball away and fell off the pace to end up in daylight play Saturday.

Cody later beat Lander on Saturday night for the regional title. The teams split during the regular season.

The Powell High School boys' and girls' basketball teams had each won their opening games at the Class 3A West Regional Tournament on Thursday.

The No. 1-seeded Lady Panthers beat No. 8 Jackson, 50-35, while the No. 3-seeded Panther boys took a 56-49 victory over No. 6 Lyman.

The games were available on TCT's local access channel (851) and on their website,, while KPOW also broadcast the games at 1260 AM and online.

Official tournament brackets for the boys and girls tournaments are available on the Wyoming High School Activities Association website.

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