I n their first state tournament action in four years the Powell Panther girls’ basketball team returned home with its first hardware in five years — winning the consolation championship …
In their first state tournament action in four years the Powell Panther girls’ basketball team returned home with its first hardware in five years — winning the consolation championship after losing the opening round contest to Douglas 68-32, beating Torrington 35-28 and defeating Pinedale 47-44.
DOUGLAS 68, POWELL 32
In their first state appearance since 2019 the Panthers’ (18-10) first matchup came against the four-time defending state champion Douglas Bearcats (27-2) at the Ford Wyoming Center.
Early on the Panthers were not afraid.
Maddie Campbell came out strong, scoring seven straight for Powell — helping the Panthers take a 7-2 lead out of the gate.
Douglas responded to the early scoring, forcing Powell into turnovers and converting those chances into points.
The Bearcats took the lead 10-9 and never looked back.
“We got going and our entire gameplan went out the window,” coach Chelsea Buher said. “We had so many nerves going in that we couldn’t even think straight.”
After taking the lead late in the quarter, Douglas extended it out to 14-9 before the end of the first.
That momentum carried into the second quarter, with the lead extending out to 19-11 before a timeout.
The turnovers started to pile up, allowing Douglas to extend its lead out to 30-15 at halftime.
“We had a good first quarter and a little into the second quarter but towards the end of that second we started to get tense,” Buher said.
Powell was unable to find the basket early in the second half, with an Addy Thorington free throw the only points in the first three minutes as Powell trailed 41-16.
The Panthers were unable to find any momentum in the second half, with turnovers continuing to pile up.
Douglas was able to run away with the contest 68-32, forcing Powell into 37 turnovers in the game.
“It was expected, it was our first time there with this group and me being head coach,” Buher said. “It was a mix of, it was Douglas, we have never played them before and you go by what you hear, know and see from the past. We built it up to be more than it is, not taking anything away from them, they are a great team, but I felt like we didn’t play our best basketball.”
Campbell was the only Panther in double figures, finishing with 12 in the contest.
Douglas went on to win yet another state title.
POWELL 35, TORRINGTON 28
The loss on Thursday dropped the Panthers down to the consolation bracket, matching up with the Torrington Trailblazers (11-14) who dropped a 42-39 quarterfinal contest to Lyman on Thursday.
Both teams struggled to find a rhythm at Natrona County High School early on Friday morning, with Thorington finding the only basket for the Panthers early as they trailed 5-2 with 2:15 left in the first.
Scoring continued to come at a premium for both teams, and the Panthers trailed 5-4 heading into the second quarter.
Powell continued to trail, but remained in the contest thanks to strong defense spearheaded by Thorington who finished with nine blocks in the game.
The Panthers finally got their first lead of the game on a Campbell 3-pointer from the top of the key to take an 11-8 advantage, a lead that would stay until the halftime horn.
“Our shots weren’t falling in the first half, I told the girls to keep shooting. We were getting the open shots, we just needed to execute,” Buher said. “We kept doing the same thing, made a few adjustments at halftime, executed those and they did what they had to do to get the win.”
In the third quarter both teams scored better, with Torrington taking the lead back up 20-18 with 1:31 left in the quarter.
Powell regained the lead late in the frame, taking a 22-20 lead into the fourth quarter.
Thorington picked up her fourth foul early in the quarter, but Powell pushed its lead to 24-21 early and forced a timeout from the Trailblazers.
Powell continued to push the pace late, extending its lead out to 28-21 over Torrington.
The Panthers continued to hold the lead, but with the advantage at 31-25 and 2:11 left on the clock Buher called a timeout to ensure her team remained calm.
Out of the timeout Powell killed time off the clock, with the score staying the same until 1:20 remaining.
A banked-in 3-pointer gave the Trailblazers life, cutting the lead to one possession and they called a timeout with 1:06 left.
Powell struggled at the free throw line late, with Campbell and Coy Erickson both missing the front end of the bonus to give Torrington an opportunity to tie.
Thorington continued her strong play defensively, with another block that led to a layup for Waycee Harvey after she leaked out behind the defense to make it a five point game with 14 seconds left.
Thorington finished it off when she put back a missed free throw, giving Powell a 35-28 victory.
She led the way with 12 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks for the Panthers. Campbell finished with nine points and eight rebounds for Powell in the victory.
“Addy had a great game,” Buher said. “Triple doubles are really hard to get and achieve, it was great to see her get that close.”
POWELL 47, PINEDALE 44
Earning the opportunity to play for a trophy Saturday morning, the Panthers matched up with the Pinedale Wranglers (20-7) for the third time this season having split the regular season series.
Early on the Wranglers played strong, holding a 13-7 lead with 2:09 left in the first quarter and forcing a timeout from Buher.
Late in the quarter Saige Kidd and Catelynn Floy scored six straight to help tie the game at 13 heading into the second.
A jumper by Kidd started the second quarter for Powell, gaining the advantage 15-13.
“Saige was playing with a lot of aggression, she was taking the ball to the hole and was finishing,” Buher said. “That’s what we need from her in the future is aggression and physicality.”
Pinedale regained the lead midway through the quarter, putting the Panthers behind 19-17.
Powell retook the lead 22-21 with a minute left, but the Wranglers ended up taking a 23-22 lead into the locker room.
Pinedale came out strong, extending its lead out to 28-22 after two minutes and forcing a timeout.
Powell answered, and cut the lead down to 30-28 late in the quarter after an Erickson 3-pointer.
Both teams exchanged one more basket and Powell trailed 32-30 heading into the fourth.
Another Erickson 3-pointer gave Powell the lead 33-32, and leak outs by the Panthers led to fast break opportunities and pushed the lead to five with five minutes left.
Strong offensive rebounding allowed Powell to maintain the lead, but Pinedale had one last push late cutting the lead down to 40-39 with 2:40 left.
A 3-point play by Campbell helped push it back out to a four point lead, but a 3-pointer by Pinedale’s leading scorer Elyn Bowers returned it to a one point game.
“I always felt like we could compete with them at full strength,” Buher said. “They have a lot of pieces to their puzzle. Obviously Elyn is the main player you have to take away, she kind of runs the show … We knew if we could limit her touches then we were going to give ourselves an opportunity.”
A Thorington layup made it a three point lead and an Erickson free throw made it four before a layup by Pinedale cut it to two.
A free throw by Campbell made it three, making Pinedale call a timeout with 17.6 remaining to try and draw up a play for a 3-pointer.
Strong defense prevented a shot opportunity for 11 seconds and forced another timeout.
More strong defense led to a rushed shot by the Wranglers and a final 3-pointer was off the mark and Powell walked away with the 47-44 victory — earning the first trophy for the Panthers at state since the 2017-18 season.
“Everybody took on their role perfectly. They knew what they had to do to get the job done and they had their sights set on a win and that’s what they did,” Buher said. “There’s only three teams that get to end their season off with a win… It’s really good to have the girls see their hard work is paying off. These kids, especially the seniors, have been there from the beginning.”
Kidd and Campbell led the way with 11 points each, while Floy finished with 10. Erickson and Thorington finished with eight and seven points respectively as the other two Panthers to score.
Thorington led the way with 15 rebounds, six blocks and five assists for Powell.
Heading into the offseason the Panthers continue to rebuild towards a bright future, after winning more games this season than the previous three combined under Buher and bringing home a trophy for the first time in five years.
Powell loses some key pieces this offseason with Campbell alongside defensive specialists Megan Jacobsen and Kami Jensen leaving after graduation.
“It’s proof in the pudding that if you are going to work hard and put the time in that it will pay off,” Buher said. “Those seniors were with me at the beginning and I have had a lot of kids come and go … Those three stuck with me to the bitter end and I couldn’t be happier to see them finish their careers with a win.”
Powell brings back eight girls who played varsity this year, with hopes of the program continuing to grow into next year.
“Those are some big shoes to fill but we have some young ones we have been prepping. This was a great experience for those young ones, it gives them a taste of where they want to be and where they can be,” Buher said. “I hope they continue to work hard in the offseason and we can continue to add to our depth.”
DOUGLAS 68, POWELL 32
Total rebounds then offensive rebounds in ()
Points — Maddie Campbell 12, Addy Thorington 6, Saige Kidd 4, Lauryn Bennett 3, Coy Erickson 2, Catelynn Floy 2, Megan Jacobsen 2, Kami Jensen 1
Rebounds — Addy Thorington 7, Saige Kidd 4 (1), Coy Erickson 3 (1), Catelynn Floy 3 (2), Waycee Harvey 2 (1), Maddie Campbell 2, Megan Jacobsen 2, Lauryn Bennett 1 (1)
Assists — Waycee Harvey 3, Catelynn Floy 2, Coy Erickson 1, Addy Thorington 1, Kami Jensen 1, Megan Jacobsen 1
Steals — Addy Thorington 2, Waycee Harvey 1, Coy Erickson 1, Maddie Campbell 1, Kenzie Fields 1
Blocks — Addy Thorington 2, Waycee Harvey 1, Coy Erickson 1
POWELL 35, TORRINGTON 28
Points — Addy Thorington 12, Maddie Campbell 9, Waycee Harvey 8, Saige Kidd 2, Kami Jensen 2, Megan Jacobsen 2
Rebounds — Addy Thorington 12 (3), Maddie Campbell 8 (3), Coy Erickson 5, Catelynn Floy 4, Waycee Harvey 3, Saige Kidd 3 (2), Kami Jensen 3 (2), Megan Jacobsen 2 (2), Alexa Richardson 1
Assists — Addy Thorington 2, Alexa Richardson 1, Coy Erickson 1, Maddie Campbell 1, Catelynn Floy 1
Steals — Maddie Campbell 3, Alexa Richardson 1, Waycee Harvey 1, Addy Thorington 1, Saige Kidd 1, Catelynn Floy 1
Blocks — Addy Thorington 9, Coy Erickson 2, Saige Kidd 1, Kami Jensen 1
POWELL 47, PINEDALE 44
Points — Maddie Campbell 11, Saige Kidd 11, Catelynn Floy 10, Coy Erickson 8, Addy Thorington 7
Rebounds — Addy Thorington 15 (4), Coy Erickson 8 (5), Maddie Campbell 4, Catelynn Floy 4 (3), Saige Kidd 3, Megan Jacobsen 2 (2), Waycee Harvey 1 (1), Kami Jensen 1
Assists — Addy Thorington 5, Megan Jacobsen 4, Catelynn Floy 2, Coy Erickson 1, Maddie Campbell 1, Saige Kidd 1, Kami Jensen 1
Steals — Maddie Campbell 2
Blocks — Addy Thorington 6, Saige Kidd 2, Coy Erickson 1, Maddie Campbell 1