The Lovell Bulldogs are getting used to playing the big boys, and they’re faring pretty well.
Playing their fourth Class 3A opponent in five games this season, the Bulldogs took charge in the second half and defeated the Powell Panthers 62-50 Thursday night at Panther Gym in Powell.
“We were happy with some of the efforts we got from some individual kids,” coach Brian May said Tuesday. “It was fun to see Ryan Clark step up and score more and be more aggressive attacking the basket. Austin Ellis came off the bench and provided a good effort at the defensive end, in rebounding and also scoring 7 points at the other end.”
The lead changed hands several times early before Lovell closed the first quarter with a 9-2 run sparked by a three-pointer by Ryan Clark and fueled by a basket and two free throws by Cody Savage. Lovell led 15-9 after the first quarter.
After a trey by Dylan Hultgren put the Bulldogs up 20-13 two minutes into the second quarter, the Panthers launched a 10-0 run to take a 23-20 lead and the two foes traded baskets the rest of the half. Powell led 28-27 at intermission.
Lovell took charge in the third quarter, in part due to a 1-1-3 zone the Bulldogs employed, though Powell battled back to make a game of it in the fourth. A nine-point outburst propelled by three-point plays by Clark and Savage put Lovell up 40-31, and after Powell answered with a bucket, Clark drained a trey to put Lovell up by 10 points, 43-33. Powell closed the quarter with a 7-0 run, however, to trail by just three points after three, 43-40.
“The zone helped us reduce the penetration they were getting,” May said. “I felt our kids rotated pretty hard and didn’t give up easy baskets as far as three-pointers.”
Although Savage was on the bench with four fouls, the Bulldogs began the third quarter with an 8-0 run to lead 51-40 as Austin Ellis powered home a follow shot and Hultgren zipped passes to Ellis and Clark. Powell rallied to cut the lead to four, 54-50, with a 10-3 run, but the Bulldogs clamped down on defense and outscored the home team 8-0 over the final two minutes to win by 12.
“It was great for our kids to be confident when Cody sat down,” May said. “They were out-working their opponent during that 8-0 run. Also important was being able to get back into the flow and not take quick shots, working the ball until we got easy baskets.”
Savage finished with 22 points on six-of-nine shooting, and Clark added 17 points and five rebounds, Hultgren 9 points and five assists, Chase Tippetts 7 points and three steals, Ellis 7 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Bulldogs will travel to Sheridan Friday to meet the Wright Panthers on a neutral court at Sheridan High School. Wright is 4-6 after going 1-2 at the Foothills Classic over the weekend with losses to Wyoming Indian and Wind River and a win over Big Piney.
Tip-off times are 1 (JV) and 4 p.m. at Sheridan High School.
“We feel pretty good right now,” May said. “Defensively, we’re becoming more of a solid team in regard to team effort and helping teammates out. Our communication is better.
“Our offense is coming. It was nice to see a couple more kids in double figures in the last couple of games.”
A new player, senior Kade Nicholls, has been cleared by the Wyoming High School Activities Association to start practicing with the team after moving from out of state. The guard will be able to play after Christmas, May said, noting that Nicholls is a solid ball-handler and strong defender.
The Powell box score:
Jacob Adey 0 0-0 0, Chase Tippetts 3 0-0 7, Mysen McArthur 0 0-3 0, Brandon Wolvington 0 0-0 0, Calin McArthur 0 0-0 0, Dylan Hultgren 3 2-3 9, Austin Ellis 2 3-7 7, Ryan Clark 6 3-5 17, Cody Savage 6 9-14 22. Totals 20 17-32 62.
Marshall McArthur 5 9-10 19, Justin Lynn 1 1-2 3, Kalei Smith 2 2-2 7, Hayden Cragoe 2 1-2 5, Cory Heny 1 2-4 4, Zach Heny 0 1-2 1, Carter Baxter 1 0-2 3, Vince Sleep 3 2-3 8. Totals 15 18-27 50.
Lovell 15 12 16 19 – 62
Powell 9 19 12 10 – 50
Three-point field goals – Clark 2, Tippetts 1, Hultgren 1, Savage 1; Smith 1, Baxter 1. Fouled out – Cragoe. Total fouls – Lovell 22, Powell 24.
By David Peck