Growth on display in Panther losses to Worland, Lander Valley

Posted 1/26/21

Since beginning the 2020-21 season, the Powell High School girls’ basketball team has shown improvement every week, and last weekend was no exception. 

Despite playing against two …

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Growth on display in Panther losses to Worland, Lander Valley

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Since beginning the 2020-21 season, the Powell High School girls’ basketball team has shown improvement every week, and last weekend was no exception. 

Despite playing against two goliaths in Class 3A Northwest on Friday and Saturday — Worland and Lander Valley — the Panthers were very competitive in both games. Though they weren’t able to win either matchup, the Panthers fought until the end in both, falling 42-31 to Worland and 42-34 to Lander. 

On the road against the Warriors on Friday, the Panthers never led, but were never out of it, either. They even outscored Worland 15-10 in the fourth quarter to make the final score 42-31. 

“We actually played pretty well that whole game,” PHS head coach Chelsea Buher said. “It was close at halftime, and we competed the whole game.”

A year ago, the Panthers lost by more than 20 points in both of their contests against Worland. According to Buher, a more competitive outing is a testament to the girls’ growth. 

“That’s a team that beat us by 30 points last year,” Buher said. “We were able to compete, which is new to us.”

Powell showed similar improvement against Lander Valley, a squad that hasn’t lost this season. 

The Panthers led for the majority of the game until the Tigers hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter to take a 31-30 advantage. After that, LVHS kept the lead and escaped with a 42-34 victory. 

The two games were both closer than some of the Panthers’ losses earlier in the season, and Buher said the girls will focus on late-game scenarios and “being more situational” in practice in the coming weeks.

The coach thinks the two solid outings against tough opponents will heighten the girls’ confidence going forward.

“It shows them that all their hard work is paying off,” Buher said. “I think we’ve turned a corner here, and I’m excited to see what we have. If we can take care of us, we can compete with the best of them.”

Senior Rose Graft was the Panthers’ leading scorer in both contests, with 10 and 11 points, respectively. Buher said Rose has been consistent, despite usually “being guarded by their toughest kids.”

The coach also said freshman Addy Thorington has been “phenomenal” defensively and on the glass. She posted a combined 20 rebounds in the losses. 

PHS gets back to the hardwood on Friday, playing a road game against Lovell, and will play the next day at home against Cody. 

Against Lovell, Buher said the focus will be stopping 6-foot-4 post Rhett Partridge, who is the leader of a “scrappy” team. And the coach hopes to see a “better showing” than last time against Cody, which cruised to a 43-17 win over PHS on Dec. 17. 

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