Against the defending state champion Riverton Wolverines, the Panthers lost 58-53 in overtime. Against Lander, Powell battled back from a 17-point deficit at halftime before falling 47-44 to the Tigers.
Riverton 58, Powell 53
Riverton scored the first points of the game with a 3-point basket, but the Panthers battled to lead 14-6 going into the second quarter of play.
The Panthers sustained their lead in the second frame and were up 24-17 at the half.
In the third quarter, however, Riverton came out to make a 3-point basket within the first 30 seconds of play and with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter the score was tied at 28.
Powell’s Zach Meredith responded a couple minutes later, sinking a basket to take a 30-28 lead. However, Riverton added two more 3-point baskets — against a basket by Jace Smith — put the Wolverines up 34-32 going into the final quarter of play.
For the entire fourth quarter, neither team led by more than two points. With the Panthers trailing with 50 seconds left in regulation, Smith made a basket to tie things at 45 — sending the game into overtime.
Forty-five seconds into overtime, Riverton made a 3-pointer and they continued to score, going on to win 58-53.
Head coach Chase Kistler said the game was a “good learning experience.”
As a team, the Panthers had 21 turnovers to the Wolverines’ 13.
The Panthers shot 41 percent from the field, 33 percent from the arc and 65 percent from the free throw line.
Riverton shot 30 percent from the field, 41 percent from the 3-point line and 43 percent from the charity stripe.
Smith led in scoring with 14 points, followed by Luke Washington with nine and Carson Heinen with eight.
Smith also had three steals and three assists.
Heinen had four assists and two steals, while Kaelan Groves had five assists.
On the boards, Meredith led with 11 — nine defensive and two offensive.
Lander 47, Powell 44
The first half of the game was all Lander, as they led 19-11 after the first quarter and increased the lead to 39-22 at halftime.
However, after the break, the momentum switched to the home team. The Panthers held the Tigers to just four points in the third quarter while scoring 11 of their own, cutting Lander’s lead to 43-33.
The Panthers outscored Lander 11-4 again in the final frame, but the first-half deficit proved too much for Powell to overcome, as the Tigers held on for a 47-44 win.
Of the differences in play between the first half and the second in terms of scoring, Kistler said, “first half we weren’t there — they hit them [their shots]. Second half we were there [and] they aren’t hitting all their 3s.”
The coach said he felt his team played selfish ball in the first half, taking quick shots that allowed Lander to get fast break points.
“We were not running our offense and getting kind of greedy in things,” Kistler said. “We were not playing high intensity defense.”
He added that a team’s defensive presence shows up in shot percentages.
As for the second half, however, “we were playing better defensively and offensively,” Kistler said. “I told them [to be] just steady: We don’t need to get back in this game in the first minute, we can do it steadily over the course of two quarters and we did. We just couldn’t make the shot to get ahead.”
The Panthers had 16 turnovers in the game, shot 33 percent from the field, 21 percent at the arc and 65 percent from the free throw line.
The Tigers shot 35 percent from the field, 29 percent from the arc and 50 percent from the charity stripe.
The team was led in scoring by Heinen and Meredith with nine points apiece. Meredith also led the team in rebounds with seven, while Washington had six.
Next up for the Panthers are two road games. The first will be in Cody on Friday night at 7 p.m.
“Cody is a great team,” Kistler said. “They’re a complete team, so we need to have a great week at practice.”
The Panthers will travel to Worland Saturday to play at 5 p.m. This is a change to the schedule, as Worland was originally supposed to play in Powell.