Second half surges: Panthers push past Bridger Valley

Posted 2/20/24

The Powell Panther boys’ basketball team found its groove in the second halves against Bridger Valley competition, defeating Lyman 55-41 on Friday and Mountain View 59-35 on Saturday to remain …

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Second half surges: Panthers push past Bridger Valley


The Powell Panther boys’ basketball team found its groove in the second halves against Bridger Valley competition, defeating Lyman 55-41 on Friday and Mountain View 59-35 on Saturday to remain undefeated at 18-0.



Staying at home the Panthers (18-0 overall, 4-0 3A Northwest) were looking to get back on track against the Eagles (4-15 overall, 0-4 3A Southwest) after two overtime scares the weekend prior.

A strong start from Alex Jordan gave the Panthers a 7-2 lead as Powell built an early advantage.

Despite holding a 12-4 lead and hitting the bonus midway through the quarter, Powell couldn’t stop a Lyman surge and Powell only led 12-10 after the first quarter.

Powell appeared to find its groove again in the second but the Eagles kept in it, as the contest was tied at 22 at the half.

Lyman held the lead 26-24, before Brock Johnson and Gunnar Erickson battled to tie the contest at 28.

An Erickson 3-pointer gave Powell the lead, and an Evan Whitlock 3-pointer extended it.

Erickson finished the quarter with a four-point play to make it 38-32 after the third.

“We just finally were able to get out in transition a little bit to create some easy opportunities and we started knocking down some shots from the perimeter,” coach Mike Heny said. 

Erickson’s strong scoring continued in the fourth along with a Marshall Lewis layup to lead by double-digits at 42-32.

One of the final highlights of the night came with 5:58 remaining when a corner 3-pointer by Johnson pushed him over the 1,000 point scoring mark — the fourth in Panther history.

“Brock getting to 1,000 points for his career at home made it even more special,” Heny said. “It was nice to be able to call a quick timeout to recognize the accomplishment without taking away from the game too much. He has been a consistent leader for us offensively for the past three years as a starter and he’s only the fourth player in PHS history to reach that milestone.”

Powell was able to carry the momentum late, and finished with a 55-41 victory.

Erickson led with 21 points and Jordan had 10 as the other Panther with double figures.

Trey Stenerson and Jordan tied for the team lead with seven rebounds.

Johnson led with six steals and four assists.



Heading into Saturday the Panthers were hoping to keep things rolling, taking on the Buffalos (7-12 overall, 2-2 3A Southwest).

The visitors came out strong and held a 9-6 lead as Stenerson had scored all six of the opening points for the Panthers.

“We felt like we had a huge advantage with Trey on the inside against Mountain View. They are scrappy and quick but do not have a lot of size,” Heny said. “Working the ball inside was one of our keys for the game. We need to be able to attack the post a lot more as we move towards the postseason and keep getting Trey and Cade (Queen) touches when we have the size advantage.”

A slow first quarter had Powell trailing 11-8 heading into the second.

Erickson hit a 3-pointer and Lewis sank a layup to give the Panthers the lead, an advantage they would not relinquish.

Powell held the Buffalos to two points in the second quarter and took a 19-13 lead at the break.

Mountain View stormed out and cut the lead down to 19-18, before the Powell offense found a groove it had been searching for the past couple of weeks.

An Erickson free throw pushed it out to 28-18 midway through the quarter, and the Panthers pushed the advantage to 38-24 heading into the fourth.

In the fourth quarter a Johnson layup made it a 20-point advantage with five minutes left, and the Panthers were able to cruise to a 59-35 win.

“We were able to turn Mountain View over and get some easy buckets,” Heny said. “Our movement improved in our half-court offense and we were able to take advantage of some open looks.”

Erickson led with 16 points and five assists alongside Johnson who had 12 points, five assists and six steals. Stenerson finished with 11 points and led with seven rebounds.



The regular season wraps up this week, as the Panthers will host a game before heading on the road Saturday to get a preview of the gym where the 3A West Regionals will be played the following weekend.

That final home game will be at 7 p.m. Thursday night against the Lovell Bulldogs (17-5 overall, 3-2 3A Northwest) who currently sit second in the quadrant.

Powell will then head to Thermopolis on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. to take on the Bobcats (10-9 overall, 1-4 3A Northwest).

“We need to be ready to try to come out early against both Lovell and Thermopolis with more consistency on offense,” Heny said. “Our defensive pressure has kept us in the past few games but we need to be ready on both ends with these last two quad games.”



Total rebounds then offensive rebounds in ()

Points — Gunnar Erickson 21, Alex Jordan 10, Brock Johnson 9, Marshall Lewis 4, Nathan Preator 4, Trey Stenerson 4, Evan Whitlock 3

Rebounds — Trey Stenerson 7 (2), Alex Jordan 7 (6), Brock Johnson 6 (3), Gunnar Erickson 5 (3), Cade Queen 3 (1), Marshall Lewis 1

Assists — Brock Johnson 4, Trey Stenerson 3, Marshall Lewis 2, Gunnar Erickson 2, Alex Jordan 1

Steals — Brock Johnson 6, Gunnar Erickson 4, Marshall Lewis 2, Alex Jordan 2, Cade Queen 2, Dawson Griffin 1

Blocks — Trey Stenerson 1, Alex Jordan 1, Cade Queen 1



Points — Gunnar Erickson 16, Brock Johnson 12, Trey Stenerson 11, Marshall Lewis 8, Nathan Preator 5, Cade Queen 4, Alex Jordan 3

Rebounds — Trey Stenerson 7 (3), Gunnar Erickson 6 (3), Alex Jordan 4 (1), Marshall Lewis 3, Brock Johnson 2 (1), Cade Queen 2, Evan Whitlock 1

Assists — Brock Johnson 5, Gunnar Erickson 5, Trey Stenerson 2, Evan Whitlock 1, Marshall Lewis 1, Alex Jordan 1

Steals — Brock Johnson 6, Marshall Lewis 2, Alex Jordan 2, Gunnar Erickson 2, Nathan Preator 1, Trey Stenerson 1, Cade Queen 1

Blocks — Trey Stenerson 1, Alex Jordan 1