“Our girls stepped up and showed a lot of guts,” said PHS head coach Luke Danforth.
The win was the Lady Panthers’ third of the regional tournament and earns the team the west’s No. 3 seed at the state tournament this week.
Powell (12-13 overall, 7-7 in conference play) opened the tournament on Thursday by beating Lander, 51-45, then fell on Friday to regional champion Mountain View, 57-34.
PHS defeated Jackson 53-40 on Saturday morning, before beating Worland that evening.
“I thought really for the whole week it was a balanced team effort,” said Danforth of the regional tourney, saying he thinks the team is in a good position heading to state.
Worland (14-13 overall, 8-6 in Class 3A West) kept Powell at bay through much of the first half as both teams struggled to find the basket. The Lady Warriors held a 15-10 halftime advantage.
Worland expanded its lead to seven points in the third quarter, going up 25-18 with about a minute remaining in the period.
PHS, however, went on a 9-0 run.
A Leslie Thronburg basket made it 25-20, and with 3.2 seconds remaining in the quarter, Olivia Rogers drew a shooting foul. Rogers sank the first free throw. She missed the second, but Thronburg nabbed the rebound and sunk the put-back just before the buzzer to bring PHS within two, 25-23.
In the opening seconds of the fourth, Rogers tied the contest up; Thronburg followed with a steal and lay-up for Powell’s first lead — 27-25 — since the opening minutes of the first quarter.
Powell used a Randi Asay basket and a Thronburg free throw to go up 30-26, but with 2:40 remaining, Worland tied it back up.
Powell pulled ahead 36-32 on baskets by Rogers and two free throws by Alyssa Hildebrand, but Worland knotted the score 36-all with about 40 seconds left.
Rogers sunk what would be the winning basket with 27 seconds remaining, as Worland was unable to find the hoop in the closing seconds against the PHS defense.
Worland hurt itself by going just three for 12 from the free throw line; Powell went six of 10.
Thronburg led PHS with 13 points. Rogers added nine, Hildebrand eight, and Asay four. Kendra Ostrom and Becky Dent each scored two points.
PHS opened regional play by beating Lander (12-14, 7-7).
After a neck-and-neck first half, Danforth said Thronburg “kind of took over in the third quarter,” scoring 10 points and helping PHS take a seven-point lead to the fourth quarter.
“We kind of inched away from them and held on down the stretch,” said Danforth.
Thronburg had a dominant offensive performance, scoring 24 points on 12 of 18 shooting from the floor. She also led the team with seven rebounds and five assists.
“Leslie had a good tournament,” said Danforth.
Also reaching double digits were Rogers (11 points) and Ostrom (10 points). Asay, Tess Mitchell and Amy Danforth each added two points.
The Lady Panthers fell to “the giant chainsaw of Mountain View,” on Friday, Danforth said.
The Lady Buffalo took a 19-11 lead after one quarter. PHS made a run to cut into the deficit, but found itself down 33-18 at the half. Mountain View (24-2, 13-1) cruised from there, getting 49 of their 57 points from sisters Stephanie and Emily Smith (6-5 and 6 feet tall respectively) and their point guard, Tawny Bugas. The Lady Buffalo shot 50 percent from the floor, while Powell shot 25 percent.
Thronburg had 12 points to lead Powell, followed by eight from Rogers, four from Asay, three from Hildebrand and two each from Ostrom, Mitchell and Amy Danforth. Rogers led with eight rebounds.
Powell quickly jumped on top of Jackson (8-17, 4-10) on Saturday morning, going up 13-5 in the first quarter and never looking back.
Ostrom led PHS with 14 points, including making three of five 3-point attempts. Rogers had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Hildebrand scored nine points, aided by six-of-six shooting from the free throw line. Dent scored eight points, Thronburg seven and Asay three.
The Lady Panther victory officially ended the Lady Broncs’ quest for a fifth-straight Class 3A state title.
“It was nice to send them (Jackson) home on a Saturday,” said Danforth, noting PHS’ losses to Jackson in recent post-season play. “The girls felt good about it.”
PHS will open state tournament play against Buffalo (18-8 overall) on Thursday in a 10:30 a.m. match-up at the Casper Events Center.