Twenty straight: Boys finish perfect regular season

Posted 2/27/24

Two final victories wrapped up a perfect regular season for the Powell Panther boys’ basketball team, defeating Lovell at home 47-36 on Thursday before racing past Thermopolis 69-38 on Saturday …

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Twenty straight: Boys finish perfect regular season


Two final victories wrapped up a perfect regular season for the Powell Panther boys’ basketball team, defeating Lovell at home 47-36 on Thursday before racing past Thermopolis 69-38 on Saturday to make it a 20-0 record going into the postseason.



The third matchup of the season between the two teams had the Panthers (20-0 overall, 6-0 3A Northwest) and Bulldogs (17-6 overall, 3-3 3A Northwest) battling for advantage early.

Despite six points and a dunk from Brock Johnson in the first quarter, the two teams were tied at 10 heading into the second after a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by the Bulldogs.

The Panthers started the second with a 9-1 run with four Panthers contributing, helping establish an advantage midway through the quarter.

Lovell made a run at the lead before the half, but a late 3-pointer by Gunnar Erickson kept the Bulldogs at bay with a 24-17 advantage at the break.

“The second quarter was better for us offensively and our defense continued to give us the opportunities we needed to get the seven point lead going into halftime,” coach Mike Heny said. “We had five players score in the second and that kind of production really puts the pressure on the opponent when points are spread around like that.”

Erickson added a 3-point play on the other side of the half, making the advantage 27-17.

The lead grew to 15 after Trey Stenerson scored with one-tenth of a second left in the quarter to make it 38-23 going into the fourth.

Lovell hung around, cutting the lead down to eight multiple times as the Bulldog zone led to Panther mistakes.

“We were not as sharp in the fourth quarter but that had more to do with us not being patient than Lovell’s zone,” Heny said. “We had built the 15-point lead by moving the ball and not forcing the action when the advantage wasn’t there. We just needed to be more deliberate and not take as many unnecessary chances.”

Powell held off any late surprises, earning a 47-36 win and completing a perfect home campaign.

Johnson led with 16 points and four steals, while Erickson finished with 14 points and led with seven rebounds.



The Panthers had the No. 1 seed locked up for the regional tournament, but were looking to finish the regular season undefeated against the Bobcats (10-11 overall, 1-5 3A Northwest).

Strong shooting from the hosts made it a 10-2 deficit for Powell in the first, leading to an early timeout from Heny.

“On Saturday our energy level wasn’t quite where it needed to be at the start of the game, especially on the defensive end,” Heny said.

Powell quickly responded and tied the game at 10.

Thermopolis didn’t allow Powell to gain the lead and held a 15-10 advantage after the first.

Cade Queen scored four straight to give Powell the lead as both teams battled in the second.

Trailing 21-19, the Panthers finished strong behind 3-pointers from Alex Jordan and Marshall Lewis along with a buzzer-beater by Johnson to build a 32-23 advantage at the break.

Powell opened the third on an 11-0 run to build a commanding 43-23 lead.

An and-one from Erickson pushed the lead over 30 early in the fourth quarter, as the Panthers cruised to a 69-38 victory to cap off a perfect regular season.

“It was fun to watch the kids execute as well as they did after that first quarter on Saturday,” Heny said. “Our perimeter shooting really opened up the game and every team is looking for momentum at this time of the year heading into the postseason. We just want to continue to work the ball side-to-side and create opportunities for each other.”

Four Panthers scored in double-figures, led by Erickson with 16 and seven rebounds, Johnson with 15 and five steals, Jordan with 12 and Lewis with 10.

Despite not getting on the scoresheet, Stenerson led with six assists.



Last weekend the Panthers welcomed Jhett Schwahn back to the team’s lineup. The senior had been absent following an incident in early February that led to his suspension alongside Keona Wisniewski.

“Jhett’s and Keona’s absence from our lineup was due to a disciplinary issue after a violation of our code of conduct within our participation agreement,” Heny said.

Schwahn’s suspension ran through the Mountain View contest on Feb. 17. Heny said Wisniewski will not return this season.

Heading into the postseason the Panthers will return to Hot Springs County this weekend, taking part in the 3A West Regional tournament.

Northwest No. 1 seeded Powell will take on Southwest No. 4 seed Lyman (4-17 overall, 0-6 3A Southwest) at noon at Hot Springs County High School on Thursday.

“Lyman has been in close games all year and just hasn’t been able to find ways to win the games,” Heny said. “At this time of year you cannot overlook any opponent and we know how difficult our regional will be regardless of who we play.”

If Powell wins it will advance to the semifinal Friday night at 7 p.m. against the winner of Southwest No. 2 seed Lander (7-14 overall, 4-2 3A Southwest) and Northwest No. 3 seed Worland (10-12 overall, 2-4 3A Northwest).

The losers of those two games will play at noon on Friday in a loser-out contest.



Total rebounds then offensive rebounds in ()

Points — Brock Johnson 16, Gunnar Erickson 14, Trey Stenerson 6, Cade Queen 4, Marshall Lewis 3, Nathan Preator 2, Jhett Schwahn 2

Rebounds — Gunnar Erickson 7 (1), Alex Jordan 5 (1), Trey Stenerson 4 (1), Marshall lewis 3 (1), Brock Johnson 3 (2), Jhett Schwahn 3, Cade Queen 2 (1)

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

Steals — Brock Johnson 4, Gunnar Erickson 3, Jhett Schwahn 2, Trey Stenerson 1, Alex Jordan 1, Cade Queen 1

Blocks — Marshall Lewis 1, Trey Stenerson 1



Points — Gunnar Erickson 16, Brock Johnson 15, Alex Jordan 12, Marshall Lewis 10, Alex Jordan 6, Jaxon Hancock 6, Nathan Preator 2, Dawson Griffin 2

Rebounds — Gunnar Erickson 7 (4), Marshall Lewis 5 (1), Brock Johnson 4 (2), Alex Jordan 4 (1), Trey Stenerson 3 (1), Cade Queen 3 (1), Nathan Preator 2, Jhett Schwahn 1, Dawson Griffin 1 (1), Jaxon Hancock 1

Assists — Trey Stenerson 6, Brock Johnson 4, Jhett Schwahn 3, Dawson Griffin 2, Nathan Preator 1, Alex Jordan 1, Gunnar Erickson 1, Cade Queen 1

Steals — Brock Johnson 5, Trey Stenerson 3, Gunnar Erickson 2, Nathan Preator 1, Alex Jordan 1, Cade Queen 1, Jaxon Hancock 1

Blocks — Trey Stenerson 1, Alex Jordan 1



(All games at Hot Springs County High School)   


Game 1 — Noon: No. 1N Powell vs. No. 4S Lyman

Game 2 — 1:30 p.m. No. 2S Lander vs. No. 3N Worland

Game 3 — 7 p.m. No. 1S Pinedale vs. No. 4N Thermopolis

Game 4 — 8:30 p.m. No. 2N Lovell vs. No. 3S Mountain View



Game 5 — Noon: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2

Game 6 — 1:30 p.m. Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4

Game 7 — 7 p.m. Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2

Game 8 — 8:30 p.m. Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4



Game 10 — Noon: Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 6

Game 9 — 1:30 p.m. Loser Game 8 vs. Winner Game 5

Game 12 — 5:30 p.m. Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 (Championship)

Game 11 — 8:30 p.m. Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10 (Third place)