After advancing to the state tournament and earning a trophy for the first time in five years, the Powell Panther girls’ basketball team is hoping to keep growing in 2023 and compete for a …
After advancing to the state tournament and earning a trophy for the first time in five years, the Powell Panther girls’ basketball team is hoping to keep growing in 2023 and compete for a higher placement at the state tournament.
This year’s edition of the team returns a strong amount of talent from last year, but will need to replace several key players in the process.
“We do have a lot of key players back, and a lot of new kids to go along with us that I feel like are going to round us out,” coach Chelsea Kistler said.
Leading the way for Powell is senior Addy Thorington, who returned to the team last season to earn All-State honors after averaging 8.9 points, seven rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.
She leads a strong frontcourt for the Panthers that will also return a strong junior duo in Catelynn Floy and Saige Kidd who averaged 7.2 points and 6.4 points respectively last year.
One piece of the puzzle the Panthers will have to replace is the production of Maddie Campbell, who averaged 8.7 points per game last season before graduation and was one of the primary ball handlers for the team.
The other returning starter for the Panthers from last season in that backcourt is senior Waycee Harvey, who will likely see added responsibility alongside junior Alexa Richardson and sophomore Coy Erickson who were some of the first options off the bench last season for the Panthers.
“Obviously the point guard position is a key spot to fill,” Kistler said. “I knew this day was coming so I have been working my younger kids in that position.”
Defensively the Panthers will have to replace some key positions after graduating Megan Jacobsen and Kami Jensen who were key defenders both in the starting lineup and off the bench.
“Megan was a huge key piece defensively for us,” Kistler said. “That’s going to be big shoes to fill because we always put her on everybody else’s key player.”
She said that she is working on ensuring that the players are more aggressive especially on the interior, with the team retaining a lot of the knowledge from last year to help early in the season.
“It’s very rusty at this point, but the girls are working hard and working together. We just need to get into our basketball phase of the year,” Kistler said.
In addition to those returners and starters, the Panthers will mix in a pair of seniors in Lauryn Bennett and Kenzie Fields, who both played in more than 10 games last year off the bench.
Another player trying to earn a spot in the rotation early in the season will be sophomore Ivy Agee, who made an impact at the JV and freshman levels last year.
“Everybody has a piece to this puzzle no matter how big or small it is,” Kistler said. “As everybody starts to figure out their role and understands and does it well, that is how successful we will be. We don’t have a ton of numbers, even if you have a ton there is a role for everybody.”
The outlook for the Panthers is bright, having a strong portion of returners to try and push for a chance at the team’s first state title since 2015.
Those other teams expected to be in the mix are five time defending state champion Douglas as well as last year’s runners-up Buffalo.
“I think we are right there in the mix,” Kistler said. “The goal is to build on what we did last year.”
She said that the team is hoping to start faster this year, starting stronger and not falling to ranked opponents regardless of classification.
“We should come out with a bang. The girls are working really hard in practice. They are a very unselfish team,” Kistler said.
The team will be on the road for the opening weekend of the year, heading down to Fremont County to take part in three games from Thursday-Saturday.