Similar to the schools’ Dec. 11 matchup, Jackson led for most of the game until the Panthers clawed their way back into the contest. Marshall McArthur banked home a short layup after out-scrambling a pair of Broncs for a basketball poked away by one of his Panther teammates to give Powell its first lead of the second half with less than two minutes to play.
The Panthers’ sophomore came up big in the closing seconds as well, stepping in front of an outlet pass to put Powell up by three in the waning seconds. For the game, he paced the Panthers with 14 points. Chase Partridge chipped in with eight.
A three-quarter court shot by Jackson at the buzzer fell short, delivering a 40-37 win to the Panthers.
“We didn’t have a real good night offensively, but we were able to create some energy and opportunity with our defense,” said Heny.
That statement could just as easily have been referencing Saturday’s game against Pinedale. The Wranglers spent much of the game packed tightly into a zone, daring Powell to shoot from the perimeter.
Early on, it was a gamble that paid off for Pinedale. Powell scored the final six points — all set up by defensive turnovers — to pull away from a 6-6 tie. The Panthers continued to pour on the pressure, forcing 11 Pinedale miscues in the second period as Powell closed the half on a 9-0 run.
From there, the offense was able to take over. The Panthers cashed in on 13 of their 21 shot attempts in the second half. Powell scored the first seven points of the second half, then closed the third quarter on another 9-0 run to carry a 23-point edge into the final period.
Pinedale got no closer than 20 points as the Panthers scored the final 12 points of the contest.
Tyler England paced a balanced Panther scoring line in the contest with 10 points, finishing as the only player in double figures. Partridge added nine points. McArthur and Josh Cragoe finished with eight each and Zane Bushnell had seven points.
Defensively, the Panthers coaxed Pinedale into 31 turnovers in the game. Eleven of those came due to the ball-hawking efforts of Bushnell, who set a Powell High School record for steals with his performance.
The weekend wins improved Powell’s record to 8-8 overall. The Panthers are 7-2 in the 3A West and tied with Worland in the standings.
Powell prepares for a long road trip this weekend. The team heads to Lyman for a Friday night contest, then plays Mountain View on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers will not play another home game until the regular-season finale against Cody on Feb. 25.
Powell 40, Jackson 37
McArthur 14, Wise 4, Bushnell 2, England 5, Partridge 8, Cragoe 5, Beuster 2.
Rebounds: Partridge and Beuster, 8 each. Assists: Wise 3. Steals: McArthur, Bushnell and Cragoe, 2 each. Blocked shots: Beuster 2.
Powell 54, Pinedale 22
McArthur 8, Wise 4, Schaefer 1, Bushnell 7, England 10, Partridge 9, Cragoe 8, Curtis 3, Beuster 4.
Rebounds: McArthur 7. Assists: Bushnell 4. Steals: Bushnell 11. Blocked shots: McArthur 3.