Panther girls’ season concludes in Lovell

Posted 3/9/21

Though PHS girls’ basketball’s season came to an end Thursday, the Panthers did what they’ve done all season in the seven-point loss to Lander Valley: compete. 

At the Class …

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Panther girls’ season concludes in Lovell

Posted

Though PHS girls’ basketball’s season came to an end Thursday, the Panthers did what they’ve done all season in the seven-point loss to Lander Valley: compete. 

At the Class 3A West Regional Tournament in Lovell, the team dropped its opening contest to the Tigers 30-23, eliminating Powell from the tournament. Due to the one-out format employed this year — where the losing team doesn’t qualify for the state tournament — the defeat marked the end of the Panthers’ season. They finished the year 6-13 overall.

Early in the first quarter, the Panthers fell into a 7-0 hole, but sophomore Maddie Campbell hit a three with less than a minute remaining in the period to fuel the team’s offense. Powell outscored Lander 10-9 in the second, making the halftime score 16-13 in favor of the Tigers. 

“We were feeling good coming out of halftime,” head coach Chelsea Buher said. “It was still a close game, and we were in a good position.”

The third quarter, however, proved costly. PHS didn’t score a point in the period, despite holding Lander to just four points. After that, the Tigers were able to sustain their seven-point advantage in the fourth and secure a 30-23 win. 

As a team, PHS shot 21% from the field and 11% from beyond the arc. 

“It’s hard to win a game when you shoot like that,” Buher said.

Senior Rose Graft and Campbell combined for 20 of the Panthers’ 23 points. Graft had 11, and Campbell had nine. 

Though Powell struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the loss, the Panthers played some of their best defense of the year. PHS held Lander — the No. 1 seed in 3A Northwest — to just 30 points, forcing 22 turnovers. 

“Our defense was fantastic,” Buher said. “I couldn’t have asked for better defense from the girls.”

The coach admitted the loss was “tough,” but said the team fulfilled its season goal of playing competitive basketball in almost every game this season. Only four of the Panthers losses came by more than 20 points. Also, PHS doubled its 2019-20 win total and defeated Lyman, the state’s No. 2 3A team, on Feb. 19. 

“The fact that it went from almost not competing in many games to competing in almost all of them, that’s something to be proud of,” Buher said. “There are a lot of things to be proud of.”

Five seniors will now leave the program: Graft, Madi Fields, Rylynn Valdez and Hailee Hyde.

“They are tough players and will always have a special place in my heart,” Buher said of the group.

As the focus shifts to 2021-22, the coach looks forward to seeing what further leaps her squad can make. With several key varsity players returning and success at the sub-varsity levels this year, she said the expectations will get loftier. 

“We feel like we can contend,” Buher said. “We want to continue to build — we don’t want to stay where we’re at. Our young players hustle and create their own magic, so I’m excited to see what they continue to bring.”

    

Lander Valley 30, Powell 23

Points — Rose Graft 11, Maddie Campbell 9, Addy Thorington 2, Megan Jacobsen 1

Rebounds — Thorington 5, Graft 3, Campbell 3, Jacobsen 3, Hailee Hyde 1, Kami Jensen 1

Steals — Jensen 3

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