“There were a lot of things we did well,” said Panther head coach Mike Heny, whose team fell 64-44 to Newcastle on Friday before dropping games to Rawlins (64-49) and Wheatland (66-39) on Saturday. “I thought we moved the ball well …
Short bench a factor in 0-3 startThe Powell Panthers failed to bring home a victory in three attempts at Buffalo to begin boys' basketball season. The Panthers dropped games against Newcastle, Rawlins and Wheatland as part of the 3A East-West showdown field.
“There were a lot of things we did well,” said Panther head coach Mike Heny, whose team fell 64-44 to Newcastle on Friday before dropping games to Rawlins (64-49) and Wheatland (66-39) on Saturday. “I thought we moved the ball well on offense and got guys open against the defenses we faced. We didn't always see the right things at the right time, but we're definitely going in the right direction with what we're doing offensively. I think nearly half of our baskets this weekend had an assist.”
Both the game against Newcastle on Friday and the early game against Rawlins on Saturday followed similar scripts. Against Newcastle, the Panthers answered an early 9-0 Newcastle run with a streak of their own to take the lead early in the second period.
Newcastle erased Powell's lead with a 10-0 run in the second period, then slammed the door with an early outburst from 3-point territory to begin the third quarter. Powell closed out the contest by scoring the final 12 points to get the final margin closer.
On Saturday, the Panthers were just three points in back of Rawlins at intermission before a third-period surge again sent the game margin into double figures. Powell was unable to mount a fourth quarter rally. In Saturday's late game, the Panthers were simply overwhelmed by Wheatland's trapping zone look on defense.
“We ran out of gas,” said Heny, who saw an already short bench grow shorter on Saturday after Josh Cragoe aggravated a pre-season ankle injury. Cragoe did not appear in either of Powell's Saturday games as the Panthers went with largely a six-player rotation.
“Fatigue definitely played a role, especially against Wheatland,” said Heny. “We made some tired mistakes and poor decisions and that led to higher turnover numbers on Saturday. If we'd been able to rotate in some fresh guys, I'm sure we could have cut that down some.”
After turning the ball over just 14 times against Newcastle on Friday, the Panthers saw that number double against Rawlins. The Panthers were guilty of 27 turnovers against Wheatland.
Powell senior Jacob Beuster emerged as one of the bright spots of Powell's opening weekend play. After seeing spot varsity action a year ago, Beuster burst onto the hardwood over the weekend, leading Powell with 20 points against Newcastle, 15 points against Rawlins and 17 points against Wheatland.
Beuster also served as the team leader in rebounds in all three Panther games. Beuster finished with a total of 36 boards, averaging a double-double for the season's opening weekend with 17.3 points and 12 rebounds per contest.
Zane Bushnell, Cooper Wise and Marshall McArthur were the only other Panthers to score in double figures over the weekend. All three dropped in 10 points against Rawlins as the Panthers placed four players in double digits in the scoring column that game.
In addition to ball security, Heny noted the Panthers will be emphasizing rebounding in practice this week as they gear up for their first conference games this weekend.
“I knew we didn't rebound the ball well, but I didn't realize just how bad it was until we broke down the film,” Heny said. “We'll have to improve in that area, because we can't afford to give up so many second chance opportunities to other teams.”
The Panthers return to the hardwood on Friday at Pinedale, which also finished winless in Buffalo this past weekend. The team heads to Jackson on Saturday for a game.
Newcastle 64, Powell 44
Scoring: McArthur 6, Wise 4, Schaefer 4, Bushnell 2, England 2, Cragoe 2, Curtis 4, Beuster 20. Rebounds: Beuster 14. Assists: McArthur, Schaefer and England 2. Steals: McAurthur 4.
Rawlins 64, Powell 49
Scoring: McArthur 10, Wise 10, Bushnell 10, England 4, Beuster 15. Rebounds: Beuster 13. Assists: Bushnell 4. Steals: Wise and Bushnell 4.
Wheatland 66, Powell 39