Panthers survive OT scares

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Posted 2/13/24

The Powell Panther boys’ basketball team survived two overtime games Friday and Saturday to keep its undefeated record intact. The Panthers overcame a 12-point deficit on the road Friday night …

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Panthers survive OT scares

Move to 16-0


The Powell Panther boys’ basketball team survived two overtime games Friday and Saturday to keep its undefeated record intact. The Panthers overcame a 12-point deficit on the road Friday night to defeat Worland 62-59 in overtime before a defensive battle had the Panthers holding off Buffalo 47-37 in overtime despite a second half offensive struggle.



The No. 1-ranked Panthers (16-0 overall, 4-0 3A Northwest) put their perfect record on the line Friday night at Worland, a place where Powell hadn’t defeated the Warriors (9-10 overall, 2-3 3A Northwest) in five years.

Early on a motivated Warrior team came out on fire in front of the home crowd, building an 8-2 advantage just two minutes into the game.

Worland continued to push, but chipped away at the lead. Worland still held the advantage at 16-9 going into the second quarter.

In the second, Powell stayed close behind Alex Jordan and Marshall Lewis, with the Warriors effectively guarding the two leading Panther scorers in Brock Johnson and Gunnar Erickson.

“Worland played a triangle and two to really try to limit Brock and Gunnar on the offensive end,” coach Mike Heny said. “That allowed Alex and Marshall the opportunity to go at their other defenders with a little more space and they took advantage.”

Powell cut the lead down to four multiple times and eventually got it down to one possession, trailing 23-21 with 3:20 left in the quarter after a Lewis basket.

After a charge at the defensive end the Panthers then took the lead 24-23 on a Jordan 3-pointer, but Worland continued to play strong on both ends of the court and didn’t allow Powell to pull away.

The two teams went back-and-forth as Powell got a strong contribution late in the quarter from Nathan Preator, but the Warriors led 32-28 going into the half.

Worland again came out strong in the third quarter, keeping the Panthers scoring in check and building back the scoring advantage.

The largest lead of the game came with a minute left in the third with the Warriors ahead 46-34, before Powell started its comeback effort.

Jordan and Cade Queen hit big 3-pointers late in the third quarter, and Powell trailed 46-40 going into the fourth.

“Cade’s three was another big shot that really gave us a lift and helped us claw back into the game after being down 12,” Heny said.

Worland held a 49-42 lead a minute into the quarter, before the Panther defense locked down the Warriors over the final seven minutes.

Trey Stenerson gave Powell a spark early in the quarter with four points to cut into the lead.

Lewis and Jordan continued coming up with big baskets for the Panthers, as a Jordan 3-pointer made it 50-49 before the midway point of the fourth quarter.

The duo scored seven straight to make it 52-49, before the Panthers went cold late.

Worland scored five in a row, and held a 54-52 lead with 23 seconds left.

Lewis found a layup with 10 seconds left, and strong defense on the final possession resulted in a Worland air ball and an extra four minutes of action.

Lewis scored and then Johnson stole the ball and scored to make it 58-54 early in the extra period.

Worland hit a 3-pointer before Stenerson hit a layup to hold the advantage at 60-57 with a minute left.

Johnson was fouled and made 1-2 at the line. After a strong defensive possession Powell got the ball back and delivered another opportunity at the line for Johnson.

He once again went 1-2 to make it 62-57, and a last second basket made the final score 62-59.

“It’s really tough to win in Worland. Getting that win was really important since it got us to 4-0 in our quad,” Heny said. “Staying together and getting through a tough game like that and coming away with a win is a nice reward for how hard these kids have worked. I was really proud how resilient they played throughout the entire contest.”

Lewis finished with 17 points and Jordan finished with 13 in the contest.

Johnson tied for the lead with seven rebounds alongside Stenerson who added eight points.

Johnson also led with four steals while Erickson led with five assists.



After the win Friday the Panthers returned home, welcoming No. 5-ranked Buffalo (7-8 overall, 3-0 3A Northeast) for what turned out to be a defensive battle throughout.

Erickson found his offense early in the game, breaking the deadlock more than two minutes in with a 3-pointer.

Powell continued to take it to the Bison early, leading 15-6 after the first quarter with Erickson chipping in eight points.

That lead grew to double-digits in the second quarter at 19-9, before Buffalo stepped up its defensive intensity. The Panthers keyed in on stopping Eli Patterson and the Bison focused on stopping Johnson.

“The focus on Saturday was to try and limit Eli as best as we could,” Heny said. “Brock took the challenge and did a really good job keeping him from getting to the basketball and challenging his outside shots. When we had to switch or help, the other kids worked hard as well to force him to give the ball up or work hard to get a shot off.”

Powell continued to hold its advantage despite increased pressure from the visitors, up 22-13 at the break.

The Panthers once again came out strong early, building the lead back to double-digits and appearing to be on the way to a strong victory.

The lead was 30-17 with 3:22 left in the third, but those were the final points of the third quarter as the Bison cut into the lead at 30-22 going into the fourth.

Powell continued to struggle scoring, and the Bison pushed as the lead was cut down to 31-30 with 4:43 left in the game.

A made free throw made it two before Buffalo tied it at 32.

Erickson answered with a layup to take the lead with 3:10 left, but Buffalo would not go away.

The visitors tied the game with 40 seconds left, but neither found a winner as Johnson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was off.

Neither team scored well throughout much of overtime either, as Johnson’s and-one was the difference with 1:19 left.

Powell was able to seal it over the final minute with eight free throws, ending with a 47-37 win.

“We hadn’t seen that type of intensity for a few games and we had to work really hard on offense to get the shots we wanted,” Heny said. “Each game down the stretch will provide us with different challenges and winning two overtime games will certainly help us if we find ourselves in those situations again.”

Erickson led with 20 points and had 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Jordan tied Erickson with 10 rebounds.



Staying home this weekend the Panthers will be taking on a pair of opponents from the 3A Southwest, wrapping up their cross-quadrant play.

That will start against Lyman (3-13 overall, 0-4 3A Southwest) at 7 p.m. on Friday.

It will be followed with another game against Mountain View (7-10 overall, 2-2 3A Southwest) at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

“Lyman and Mountain View will both be tough opponents and we will work on making sure we learn from what we didn’t do well last weekend,” Heny said. “Lyman and Mountain View will play hard and give us everything they’ve got.”

All rankings are courtesy of the WyoPreps Coaches and Media poll; a new poll is released each Wednesday.



Total rebounds then offensive rebounds in ()

Points — Marshall Lewis 17, Alex Jordan 13, Trey Stenerson 8, Brock Johnson 7, Nathan Preator 7, Cade Queen 6, Gunnar Erickson 4

Rebounds — Brock Johnson 7 (4), Trey Stenerson 7 (4), Marshall Lewis 6 (2), Cade Queen 6 (2), Gunnar Erickson 5 (2), Alex Jordan 4 (2), Nathan Preator 1

Assists — Gunnar Erickson 5, Brock Johnson 3, Nathan Preator 2, Marshall Lewis 1, Trey Stenerson 1, Cade Queen 1, Jaxon Hancock 1

Steals — Brock Johnson 4, Nathan Preator 2, Trey Stenerson 2, Marshall Lewis 1, Gunnar Erickson 1, Jaxon Hancock 1

Blocks — Alex Jordan 2



Points — Gunnar Erickson 20, Marshall Lewis 8, Brock Johnson 7, Trey Stenerson 5, Alex Jordan 5, Nathan Preator 2

Rebounds — Alex Jordan 10 (1), Gunnar Erickson 10, Brock Johnson 6 (1), Marshall Lewis 5 (2), Cade Queen 5 (4), Nathan Preator 1

Assists — Brock Johnson 2, Alex Jordan 2, Marshall Lewis 1, Nathan Preator 1, Trey Stenerson 1, Gunnar Erickson 1, Cade Queen 1

Steals — Gunnar Erickson 3, Brock Johnson 2, Marshall Lewis 1, Cade Queen 1

Blocks — Alex Jordan 1, Cade Queen 1