The Panther basketball team finished 1-2 in the Friday-Saturday Big Horn Basin Classic in Worland.
The Powell High School boys crushed Riverside 58-11 in the first game but dropped the next two to Wind River 86-68 and host team Worland 68-56.
“We improved definitely from before Christmas to after,” said head coach Chase Kistler. “... We played against some teams that were really good teams and it made us a lot better. At times we were showing improvement and handling the pressure.”
Powell 58, Riverside 11
The first game of the tournament came against Class 2A Riverside, with Powell winning 58-11.
“It was a good game to get us warmed up and get us clicking on some stuff,” Kistler said.
As a team, the Panthers shot 63 percent from the free throw line, 20 percent from the arc and 45 percent from the field.
Zack Meredith led the team with 14 points, followed by Kaelan Groves with 12. Groves also had five assists.
William Preator had five steals.
Wind River 86, Powell 68
The win against Riverside pitted the Panthers against Class 2A Wind River, who sported a 6-2 overall record going into the tournament.
“Wind River’s game is run and shoot and they definitely did,” Kistler said of the 86-68 loss. “They definitely took advantage of scoring opportunities.”
The Panthers shot 50 percent from the field, 31 percent from the arc and 57 percent from the charity stripe. Kistler said that he was happy with the shooting percentages.
Wind River, meanwhile, shot 48 percent from the field, 27 percent from the arc and 59 percent from the free throw line.
Jace Smith paced the team with 14 points, six assists and three steals.
The Panthers turned the ball over 29 times compared to Wind River’s 15.
Worland 68, Powell 56
Despite holding a one-point lead in the third quarter, the Panthers were unable to hold off a hard-charging Worland team, falling to the Class 3A Warriors 68-56.
“[We ] started the game with a high intensity and then in the second they [Worland] upped theirs and we didn’t match it and dug ourselves a hole,” Kistler said of the game.
The Panthers trailed by 14 at halftime, but battled back to lead by one at the end of the third quarter, 44-43. Kistler described the third quarter as how the team needs to play, “under control, good defense.”
But in the fourth quarter, the Panthers got down again and lost 68-56.
As a team, the Panthers shot 52 percent from the free throw line, 29 percent at the arc and 43 percent from the field.
The Warriors shot 73 percent from the free throw line, 25 percent at the arc and 28 percent from the field.
“They’re a young team, but they are going to be a pretty dangerous team by the end of the year,” Kistler said of Worland.
Powell had 24 turnovers to Worland’s 11.
Carsen Heinen scored 21 points with three 3-point baskets and grabbed 12 rebounds — split evenly between offense and defense — for a double-double. He also led in assists with five, in blocked shots with three and steals with three.
Luke Washington also scored in double digits with 13 points.
Kistler said the tournament highlighted things the team needs to work on, such as defense and taking care of the ball.
Next up for the Panthers is a Saturday home game against Douglas, with tip off at 6 p.m.