Panthers advance to state for first time in four years

Posted 3/7/23

It has been a long road back to Casper for the Powell girls’ basketball team. The Panthers have advanced to the state tournament for the first time since the 2018-19 season — placing …

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Panthers advance to state for first time in four years


It has been a long road back to Casper for the Powell girls’ basketball team. The Panthers have advanced to the state tournament for the first time since the 2018-19 season — placing third at the 3A West Regionals after defeating Lander 46-30, losing to Lyman 56-40, beating Lovell 51-33 and beating Mountain View 52-38.



Nerves were present early for the Panthers (16-9), as Waycee Harvey had the only basket over the first six minutes of the contest — trailing the Tigers 11-2.

“We were just making some silly passes and silly mistakes,” coach Chelsea Buher said.

A pair of Addy Thorington free throws stopped the scoring drought, sparking a quick run by the Panthers to cut the lead to 11-9 after the first quarter.

Every time the Panthers cut the lead down to two in the second quarter the Tigers (7-17) had an answer, attempting to pull off the upset leading 21-19 at the break.

“At halftime we talked about some things we could clean up,” Buher said. “Typically our best quarter is our third quarter. I knew when we went into the locker room and sat down that we were going to have the upper hand coming out.”

The third quarter started with a Saige Kidd jumper that tied the contest but neither team could take the lead over the next three minutes.

A Maddie Campbell jumper gave Powell a 23-21 lead with five minutes left, with the Panthers starting to shut down the Tigers offensively.

After Lander tied the game at 23, a spark by the Panther bench helped Powell take control of the game, finishing the quarter on a 10-0 run to give Powell a 33-23 lead heading into the fourth.

“The bench brought a spark twice in this game,” Buher said. “That run in the third quarter kind of sealed the deal for us.”

That run extended into the fourth, growing to 15 with Alexa Richardson’s only points of the game. Lander ended its scoring drought after having not scored for nearly six minutes in the second half.

Powell was able to pull away in the fourth quarter, finishing with a 46-30 victory over Lander.

Kidd led the way with 11 points, while Thorington added 10 rebounds, six points, five steals and four blocks.



After the victory Thursday the Panthers advanced to the semifinal round, squaring off with Lyman (20-5).

Both teams exchanged baskets early, with Powell pressuring the Eagles full-court while Lyman opted for a half-court trap defensively.

Powell took the lead 9-8 midway through the quarter on a layup from Kidd, before turnovers started piling up.

Despite turnovers and a slow scoring end to the first, the Panthers only trailed 16-11 heading into the second.

Powell stayed close, down 26-24 after a Catelynn Floy layup with 2:29 left.

Heading into the half the game continued to remain close with Powell trailing 29-28 at the break.

Coming out of the locker room has been a strength for the Panthers throughout the season, but this was not one of those occasions.

Lyman started out the second half on a 7-0 run, which was stopped by a Maddie Campbell free throw midway through the frame.

The Eagles continued to take advantage of the Panthers droughts, outscoring Powell 13-2 in the period and taking a 42-30 lead into the fourth.

“We just didn’t get shots to fall and couldn’t execute in the half-court,” Buher said.

In the fourth Lyman continued its strong second half, maintaining a double digit lead and finishing with a 56-40 victory.

Floy led the Panthers with 12 points in the contest.



After the loss Friday night the Panthers had a quick turnaround on Saturday, tipping off at 9 a.m. against Lovell (15-10) — a team Powell defeated in two of the three meetings this season.

Buher said she had received the plaque for winning the 3A Northwest on Friday night, but waited to show the girls on Saturday morning as motivation to show they were the top team out of the northwest throughout the season.

“It kind of reminded them we are the top team out of our quadrant, and you are now playing a team out of our quadrant that we have beaten twice. I said ‘you needed to go out there and prove why we got that accolade,’” Buher said.

Playing against a team for a fourth time can be difficult and the Panthers got off to a slow start trailing 5-1 early.

Powell got things going the rest of the first quarter, and the contest was tied going into the second quarter 9-9.

Coy Erickson gave the Panthers the lead with a 3-pointer to start the second, and the Panthers got their offense going.

Lovell cut the lead back down to one, but Powell had an answer to take a 23-18 lead into the locker room.

The first points of the third quarter went to Lovell, but the Panthers quickly opened up a double digit lead — taking control of the game up 32-20.

Lovell cut the lead down to single digits multiple times, but the Panthers continued to answer and took a 38-27 lead into the fourth.

Quick baskets in the fourth continued to give Powell momentum, opening up a 47-27 lead just under two minutes into the final period.

Powell continued to maintain control of the contest, defeating Lovell for the third time this season and booking the state tournament berth for the Panthers after the 51-33 win.

“Hats off to the girls, they had a tough game the night before,” Buher said. “They rebounded off that game, collected their thoughts and were able to execute against Lovell … It was a well-rounded team effort.”

Floy led the Panthers with 13 points and five assists, Campbell finished with 11 points and four steals while Thorington led the Panthers with 10 rebounds.



Finishing out the weekend in the third-place game the Panthers matched up with hosts Mountain View (22-5) looking for revenge after the Buffalos defeated Powell in Mountain View two weeks ago.

Powell came out aggressive, attacking the Buffalos and helping establish an early lead through four points from Floy and Harvey.

Throughout the first quarter the Panthers were able to find scoring opportunities, and led 14-9 heading into the second.

Mountain View continued to cut into the lead but the strong shooting of Powell eventually grew the lead out to 11 after a Floy layup.

Powell continued to apply pressure and took a 28-15 lead into the locker room.

In the third quarter Powell continued to find success on offense, taking a 39-26 lead into the fourth after a deep 3-pointer from Campbell at the buzzer.

Powell dictated the tempo of the game at both ends of the court, finishing with a 52-38 victory.

“The girls did a really good job of taking their execution from the Lovell game and doing it again for the next one,” Buher said. “I felt like in those two games we played well as a team, we moved the ball well, looked for the extra passes and attacked seams to find the next player.”

Campbell led Powell with 15, Harvey finished with 12 and Floy added 10. Thorington led Powell with eight assists and seven rebounds.



Powell’s reward for heading to state is a date with the four-time defending state champion Douglas Bearcats (24-2) who were upset in the 3A East Regional title game by Buffalo.

“Coming into this season after winning only seven last year, now winning 16 is already a win in itself. We more than doubled our win record, won our quadrant, finished third at regionals and only lost to a team that has played in the state championship game three times in the last four years,” Buher said. “I look at this opportunity to continue to grow, and enjoy the moment and the atmosphere … What I want to see from the girls is continued growth, cherish the moment and compete when we are there. It doesn’t matter whose name is on the front of the jersey, anybody can beat anybody on a given night.”

That game is scheduled for a 9 a.m. tipoff on Thursday at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.



Total rebounds then offensive rebounds in ()

Points Saige Kidd 11, Coy Erickson 7, Maddie Campbell 7, Addy Thorington 6, Alexa Richardson 5, Kami Jensen 3, Catelynn Floy 3, Waycee Harvey 2, Megan Jacobsen 2

ReboundsAddy Thorington 10 (2), Maddie Campbell 6 (3), Megan Jacobsen 5 (2), Saige Kidd 3 (1), Catelynn Floy 3 (1), Coy Erickson 2 (1), Waycee Harvey 1 (1), Kami Jensen 1, KoKo Baba 1

Assists Waycee Harvey 3, Addy Thorington 3, Maddie Campbell 3, Alexa Richardson 2, Saige Kidd 2

StealsAddy Thorington 5, Coy Erickson 4, Maddie Campbell 3, Waycee Harvey 2, Saige Kidd 2, Kami Jensen 2, Alexa Richardson 1, Kenzie Fields 1, Catelynn Floy 1

BlocksAddy Thorington 4, Catelynn Floy 1



Points Catelynn Floy 12, Addy Thorington 9, Maddie Campbell 6, Saige Kidd 5, Alexa Richardson 2, Waycee Harvey 2, Coy Erickson 2, Kami Jensen 2

Rebounds Addy Thorington 7 (1), Maddie Campbell 7 (2), Catelynn Floy 6 (2), Saige Kidd 5 (1), Alexa Richardson 3, Coy Erickson 3 (1), Megan Jacobsen 3 (1), Waycee Harvey 1, Kami Jensen 1

AssistsWaycee Harvey 2, Addy Thorington 2, Catelynn Floy 2, Alexa Richardson 1, Maddie Campbell 1, Saige Kidd 1

Steals Maddie Campbell 2, Catelynn Floy 2, Coy Erickson 1, Addy Thorington 1, Kami Jensen 1, Megan Jacobsen 1

Blocks Addy Thorington 4, Saige Kidd 1



PointsCatelynn Floy 13, Maddie Campbell 11, Saige Kidd 7, Addy Thorington 6, Coy Erickson 5, Waycee Harvey 4, Kami Jensen 4, Megan Jacobsen 1

ReboundsAddy Thorington 10 (1), Saige Kidd 6 (2), Catelynn Floy 5 (1), Waycee Harvey 3 (2), Kami Jensen 2, Alexa Richardson 1, KoKo Baba 1

Assists Catelynn Floy 5, Saige Kidd 4, Coy Erickson 2, Addy Thorington 2, Kami Jensen 2, Alexa Richardson 1, Waycee Harvey 1, Maddie Campbell 1

Steals Maddie Campbell 4, Addy Thorington 2, Kami Jensen 2, Waycee Harvey 1, Coy Erickson 1, Saige Kidd 1, Megan Jacobsen 1

Blocks Addy Thorington 3, Saige Kidd 2, Waycee Harvey 1, Maddie Campbell 1



Points Maddie Campbell 15, Waycee Harvey 12, Catelynn Floy 10, Coy Erickson 6, Addy Thorington 3, Saige Kidd 3, Megan Jacobsen 2, Alexa Richardson 1

Rebounds Addy Thorington 7 (1), Maddie Campbell 6 (3), Catelynn Floy 4 (2), Waycee Harvey 3 (1), Alexa Richardson 2 (1), Saige Kidd 1, Kami Jensen 1, KoKo Baba 1, Megan Jacobsen 1 (1)

AssistsAddy Thorington 8, Megan Jacobsen 5, Catelynn Floy 3, Coy Erickson 1

Steals Addy Thorington 2, Waycee Harvey 1, Coy Erickson 1, Maddie Campbell 1, Saige Kidd 1, Kami Jensen 1, Catelynn Floy 1

BlocksWaycee Harvey 1, Addy Thorington 1