The final weekend of the regular season did not start on the right foot for the Powell High School basketball team. Playing against Lovell — the last-place team in 3A Northwest — the …
The final weekend of the regular season did not start on the right foot for the Powell High School basketball team. Playing against Lovell — the last-place team in 3A Northwest — the Panthers struggled to find offensive consistency early on, trailing 21-18 after 16 minutes.
Just a week removed from a disappointing 1-1 split with Lyman and Mountain View, it seemed like the Panthers were set for another down weekend to close out the 2020-21 regular season.
“We got a little stagnant with our movement, which allowed them [Lovell] to force outside shots and attack the ball when we tried to get it in the paint,” PHS head coach Mike Heny said. “Lovell did a really good job with their zone in the first half. They were really clogging up the lane and while also putting pressure on the perimeter.”
But upon returning from halftime, Heny’s squad woke up. Powell outscored Lovell 34-11 in the last two quarters to run away with a 52-32 win, its 14th of the year.
Increased effort on both ends allowed the Panthers to finally hit a groove.
“The kids were cutting a lot harder through the zone and were moving the ball side to side much more efficiently,” Heny said. “That allowed us to get some wide open looks from the perimeter early in the third quarter, and we were able to knock those down. We also picked up our intensity on the defensive end and that led to some transition opportunities that we weren’t able to get in the first half.”
Seniors Mason Marchant and Landon Lengfelder were the leading scorers with 18 and 15 points, respectively. Adrian Geller tallied the most rebounds with 10, while Marchant added nine.
In the Panthers’ last game of the regular season, a Saturday road test against Lander Valley, they fell 68-64, due to inconsistent play on the defensive end. The Tigers shot above 50% from the field and controlled the rebounding margin.
“We weren’t as sharp defensively as we needed to be,” Heny said. “We weren’t able to stop dribble penetration into the lane consistently, which led to too many baskets for them right at the rim. We gave up four threes in the fourth quarter and were never able to get a stop when we really needed one.”
Though the team struggled defensively, Powell played an efficient game in the defeat. The team went 6-of-7 (86%) from beyond the arc and posted a 48% clip from the field. Marchant once again led PHS in scoring with 24 points, while Lengfelder and Geller added 16 and 13, respectively.
Just five days after the loss, Powell will see Lander Valley again in the 3A West Regional Tournament. Now 1-1 against the Tigers this year, Heny knows how strong of a team Lander can be when it plays its best basketball.
“Lander is a really talented and well coached team, so we’ll just have to be ready to compete for four quarters,” Heny said. “We will also need to get some big contributions from our bench, so we can keep putting the pressure on them on both ends of the floor when we rest our starters.”
Thursday’s game starts at 1 p.m. and will be hosted at Worland High School. A win means Powell moves on in the regional tournament; a loss means the Panthers’ season is over.
“The kids have known from the beginning of the season that it was a good possibility that we would have them [Lander] for this game,” Heny said. “We just need to adjust a few things defensively to try and make it more difficult for them to execute their offense.”
Powell 52, Lovell 32
Points — Mason Marchant 18, Landon Lengfelder 15, Trevor Groves 6, Adrian Geller 6, Jaden Marchant 5, Zach Ratcliff 2; Rebounds — Geller 10, M. Marchant 9, Groves 4, Brock Johnson 3, J. Marchant 3, Ratcliff 3, Lengfelder 2, Landon Sessions 2
Lander Valley 68, Powell 64
Points — M. Marchant 24, Lengfelder 16, Geller 13, J. Marchant 3, Ratcliff 3, Johnson 3, Groves 2; Rebounds — M. Marchant 5, Geller 3, Lengfelder 3, Groves 3, J. Marchant 3, Sessions 1, Ratcliff 1, Johnson 1