Stunning conclusion: Panther girls’ season ends on final shot

Posted 3/12/24

A spirited comeback came up short and a devastating buzzer-beater ended the Powell Panther girls’ basketball season, losing to Buffalo 59-49 and Wheatland 45-43 at the state tournament in …

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Stunning conclusion: Panther girls’ season ends on final shot


A spirited comeback came up short and a devastating buzzer-beater ended the Powell Panther girls’ basketball season, losing to Buffalo 59-49 and Wheatland 45-43 at the state tournament in Casper on Thursday and Friday.



Kicking off the tournament the Panthers (17-9) went in as the No. 3 seed out of the west, facing the east No. 2 seed Bison (22-4).

Early on Buffalo applied pressure, forcing Powell into mistakes often.

That helped Buffalo build an 11-3 lead midway through the quarter.

The Panthers kept the game within reach, before a foul on a shot near midcourt with a second left in the quarter gave the Bison three free throws. The Buffalo player made all three and the Bison led 18-8 after the first.

A Coy Erickson 3-pointer lit a spark early in the second quarter as Powell chipped away at the lead.

Buffalo continued to hold the advantage at 25-16 midway through the frame, before using one last push to make it 33-21 at the break, the largest lead of the game.

“We talked about the X’s and O’s and what was working and what was not with any adjustments,” coach Chelsea Kistler said. “We were down 17 to Mountain View, so 12 is something we are able to come back from. They are a team that has never quit so we weren’t going to start then.”

Out of the locker room the Panthers made adjustments quickly, finding the basket and cutting the lead down to five just three minutes into the quarter.

Waycee Harvey made a layup to cut the lead down to a single possession, as Powell trailed 40-37 with two minutes left in the third.

Buffalo kept the lead, but the Panthers got a spark going into the fourth.

A desperation heave by Ivy Agee from 28 feet banked in at the buzzer to pull Powell within two — trailing 45-43 going into the final frame.

“When you dig yourself a hole at that level, it’s really hard to come back from and you exert a lot of energy trying to dig yourself out of a hole,” Kistler said. “To bank a shot like that at the buzzer is pretty remarkable.”

Throughout the fourth quarter the Panthers continued to keep the contest within a couple possessions, but were unable to find a way to tie or take the lead.

Every time the Panthers found themselves close the Bison had a shot to answer, with Buffalo finding a way to pull away late.

A 9-2 stretch over the final five and a half minutes allowed Buffalo to finish with a 59-49 victory and drop the Panthers to the consolation bracket for the second straight year.

“We just could never gain the lead,” Kistler said. “Then we had to foul and put them at the line and they’re a pretty good free throw shooting team. You’re at state, you just can’t dig a hole that deep.”

Harvey and Addy Thorington tied for the team lead with 11 points, as Harvey led with seven rebounds. Erickson was the third Panther in double figures with 10 points.



Turning their attention to the No. 4 seeded Bulldogs (17-11) from the east the Panthers were looking to rebound in order to keep their season alive.

Early on the Panthers held a 9-4 lead, and extended that late in the quarter out to 17-10 with an Erickson 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

A drought ensued for Powell in the second as Wheatland inched closer to the lead.

The Bulldogs outscored Powell 6-0 for most of the quarter, before an Erickson 3-pointer finally got Powell back on the board with 1:10 left in the half.

That sparked a Panther 7-0 run over the final minute to take a 24-16 lead at the half.

“Second quarter was a slow start, it was definitely a quarter of runs,” Kistler said. “When their best player is on the bench you really gotta execute better than we did. She was on the bench with fouls and I don’t feel like we did that until the end of the quarter.”

Powell immediately pushed the lead to 10 out of the locker room, before Wheatland started working its way back into the contest.

A 7-0 run cut down Powell’s advantage, but Agee made a layup to end that run.

The Bulldogs kept pushing, tying the contest at 28 before ultimately taking a 29-28 lead.

Saige Kidd made a free throw before quarter’s end, with the scoreline tied at 29 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the final frame the Panthers held an early lead. Powell went up 39-35 after an Alexa Richardson 3-pointer with three minutes left, and regained possession after Thorington was fouled underneath fighting for positioning.

“I felt like that was a game we really should have controlled the whole time and we didn’t,” Kistler said.

The Panthers were unable to take advantage, and Wheatland continued to stay in it.

A floater by Erickson made it 43-40 with 1:30 left, and Powell tried to hold off a final Wheatland push.

Wheatland made a layup with 50 seconds left, as Powell started to play keep-away and tried to run down the clock with the 43-42 lead.

Two missed free throws with 20 seconds left gave Wheatland a chance.

Emery Hernandez appeared to get a steal that led to a jump ball, but Wheatland was granted a timeout as opposed to a jump ball that would have given the Panthers possession with 14 seconds left.

After an opportunity for Wheatland went out of bounds off a Panther, Powell forced a jump ball and gained possession with just under five seconds remaining.

Wheatland’s Camryn Mickelsen stole the inbound pass, putting up a 3-pointer from the corner and hitting it just before the buzzer to steal the 45-43 win.

“Definitely the story of our season. We haven’t had anything go our way with last second shots or even one possession games,” Kistler said. “You hope that we grow from it and are stronger from it and next year we are able to win those types of games.”

The Panthers’ one possession loss was the sixth such defeat of the season, as Powell was 0-6 in such contests.

“Another thing I told the girls, which I think is a big thing for kids at this age, is understanding that that loss or how that weekend went, doesn’t define them,” Kistler said. “It’s a big moment in their life, but it doesn’t define ‘who they are’ and if that’s the worst thing that happens to them then they will have the best life.”

Thorington led with 14 points and eight rebounds, Erickson was the other Panther in double figures with 11 points. Richardson led with three assists and Kidd led with three steals.

Wheatland was led by Lily Anderson, who finished with a game high 29 points.

“She didn’t do anything we didn’t know was coming at us, we just struggled to shut her down,” Kistler said.



The Panthers will be losing four seniors from the team, two starters in Thorington and Harvey along with two rotational pieces in Kenzie Fields and Lauryn Bennett.

“This is a tough senior class to lose,” Kistler said. “Waycee and Addy are our leaders on the court … Addy is a kid I have really built a good relationship with over the last couple years … Waycee is my most level-headed kid and no matter how good or bad things are going she has the same emotion about her and that is a leader you want … They (Fields and Bennett) are the definition of a true, good teammate. Their role is not the easiest one to fill and it’s not for everybody, but they never once complained they always cheered for their teammates. You want every one of your kids to be like those two.”

Next year the Panthers will return a lot of players in the rotation from this season, with a mix of three juniors, two sophomores and a freshman having gained significant minutes for the Panthers both as starters and rotational pieces.

With those six — four guards and two forwards — alongside strong junior varsity and freshman seasons and a strong incoming freshman class, the Panthers are hoping to keep growing after making two straight state tournaments.

“We are going to be quick,” Kistler said. “All those guys getting experience at the state level you can’t mimic that … You can’t just be a great team just from November to March, you become a great team in the offseason and that’s always a hard thing for kids to buy into. I think I have good kids that want to work and want to be better.”



Total rebounds then offensive rebounds in ()

Points — Waycee Harvey 11, Addy Thorington 11, Coy Erickson 10, Catelynn Floy 8, Saige Kidd 6, Ivy Agee 3

Rebounds — Waycee Harvey 7 (3), Coy Erickson 6 (1), Addy Thorington 4, Saige Kidd 3 (1), Alexa Richardson 1, Catelynn Floy 1 (1)

Assists — Saige Kidd 3, Alexa Richardson 1, Waycee Harvey 1, Ivy Agee 1, Addy Thorington 1, Emery Hernandez 1

Steals — Alexa Richardson 1, Ivy Agee 1, Coy Erickson 1, Catelynn Floy 1

Blocks — Addy Thorington 2, Saige Kidd 2



Points — Addy Thorington 14, Coy Erickson 11, Waycee Harvey 4, Emery Hernandez 4, Alexa Richardson 3, Saige Kidd 3, Ivy Agee 2, Catelynn Floy 2

Rebounds — Addy Thorington 8 (1), Waycee Harvey 6 (3), Emery Hernandez 5 (4), Alexa Richardson 2, Catelynn Floy 2 (1), Ivy Agee 1 (1)

Assists — Alexa Richardson 3, Ivy Agee 1, Catelynn Floy 1

Steals — Saige Kidd 3, Ivy Agee 2, Emery Hernandez 2, Waycee Harvey 1, Coy Erickson 1, Addy Thorington 1

Blocks — Saige Kidd 1, Catelynn Floy 1