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Monday ‘Fun Day’ part of Powell boys basketball success

Powell Boys Basketball
Posted at 2:55 PM, Mar 04, 2024

POWELL, Wyo. — This season's Powell Panthers are enjoying sizzling basketball success. Why might that be a mild surprise?

“Four of our six seniors were baseball guys,” head coach Mike Heny told MTN Sports during a recent practice.

In other words, the Panthers aren’t loaded with basketball stars. Heny says two of the aforementioned seniors will play college baseball and two more are football signees.

So, the Panthers are one of Wyoming's Class 3A state title favorites with a team full of — athletes.

“Most of us play multiple sports," said guard Brock Johnson. "Two others mostly play basketball.”

Johnson, one of the team captains, is now Powell’s all-time steals leader, according to Heny. Gunnar Erickson is top four among career steals leaders on a team that will suffocate others defensively.

“I think a goal for us – each half at least – is holding our (opposing) team under 20 (points),” Erickson said.

Simply put: if teams can’t score, they can’t win.

Heny says this is an unprecedented campaign for the 23-0 Panthers, noting their 20-0 regular season record marked the school's longest unbeaten stretch in his recollection.

Offensively, Powell pushes an entertaining, fast-paced style — occasionally even throwing one down.

“I tell them to dunk every one they can," Heny said. "In Wyoming, it doesn’t happen as much as a lot of other states.”

 “I can (dunk)… I haven’t done it in a game yet,” said Johnson with a smile.

 Erickson also feels like he's close.

“I can get up every once in a while, but I haven’t dunked in season yet,” he said with a similar grin.

But a couple other Panthers have thrown it down, naturally, igniting the bench.

“Alex Jordan … we don’t see him dunk much in practice, but he just went up and threw it down," recalled Erickson. "The other one is Trey Stenerson. He went up off a steal and just .... two-handed jam ... just punched it and we all went crazy.”

After winning the 3A West Regional Saturday with a nail-biting 54-52 win over Lovell, top-seeded Powell opens the state tournament Thursday at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper with a 1:30 p.m. tip-off against No. 4-seeded Rawlins. Boys and girls tournament brackets can be seen here.

In the meantime, the Panthers are bringing creativity to more than just games.

"Mondays we call ‘Fun Day’," said Heny. "That’s our skill development day, and I usually bring a dessert in.”

This particular week, Saturday could turn into Fun Day with the ultimate state title dessert.