Lady Panthers finish second in the stateThursday, April 22, 2010 By Colter Bostick
History has an unfortunate way of repeating itself when it comes to Powell High School basketball. For the second year in a row, the Lady Panther basketball team came within a figure’s reach of the 3A state championship, only to fall short to the Lady Broncs of Jackson. Hopes were high for the Lady Panthers as they entered the 3A West Regional tournament, hosted in Lyman, as the number one seed. Coming into the tournament with a victory over Park County rival Cody, the girls were riding on high energy as they opened against the Lady Wranglers of Pinedale. After a 46-35 win, the PHS girls were ready to once again take on their adversaries from Cody. Within the first minute the teams went back and forth, trading three-pointer for three-pointer and inside jump-shots one after another. The teams headed to the locker room with only a single point separating them, but the close head-to-head play came to a stop at that point. The Lady Panthers came out from the halftime and took control. After 16 more minutes, the girls of PHS jogged off of the court, with their heads held high, after coming away with a 66-50 victory. The next day, the girls were set to face off against another major rival, who in past years had been a constant struggle to battle against, the Lady Broncs of Jackson. During the 2009 season, the Lady Panthers had a 2-2 record against the girls from Jackson, splitting the regular season and winning the Regional championship, but lost the state championship. This season, with a series of injuries infecting the Jackson roster and few new spots on the roster being filled with untested players, the Lady Panthers ran over Jackson in both regular season games, and with momentum on their side, they hoped to do so again in the Regional championship. As in most championship games, the two teams battled out the first half, both in figurative and physical terms. In a very rough 16 minutes, the teams managed to stay within a very tight margin of each other, but when the end of the second quarter came to an end, the girls from Jackson had a slight lead. When the third quarter began, the same physical game that had been seen in the first half was still present, but the scoring side turned to Jackson’s favor. When the final buzzer sounded, the final score state a 42-36 Jackson victory, but as heartbreaking as the game may have been, the good news was that the Lady Panthers were still making a trip to state. With the frustrated energy backing them, the Lady Panthers came out swinging at the state tournament. In their first game, the girls took on Wheatland. In what was anticipated to be a very high emotion game due to the majority of the varsity volleyball players from each team were on the court and Powell was looking exact some revenge for the volleyball state championship which had been stripped away from them a mere four months earlier. The Lady Panthers took their fury and put it to good use to come away with a 41-26 victory. Their next game, against Eastern rival Buffalo, was considerably closer, but the girls prevailed and won 49-40. For the second year in a row, the stage had been set for a Powell/Jackson State championship. Jackson, who had beaten Torrington and Mountain View with respective scores of 46-40 and 36-30, was in line to win their fourth straight state championship, and the Lady Panthers were ready to try and prevent it. From the moment the ball was thrown into the air for the jump, the two teams resumed their fight which had been put on hold after the Lady Panther’s loss at Regionals. At the end of regulation time, the teams were tied. It would take two over time periods for a team to break lose to the lead, but unfortunately for the PHS fans, it was not the Lady Panthers. The Lady Broncs walked away from the Casper Events Center with their fourth state championship title after a score of 49-42. The Lady Panthers had a great run in 2010. The team will be losing a strong core of players in seniors Hannah Pollart, a three time All-State award winner, Savannah Donarski, a two time All-State award winner, Kami Cooley and Katie Kipp. Congratulations of the good season girls, and good luck next year.