Growing pains, lack of familiarity, buying into the system, lack of experience playing as a group.
Whatever the diagnosis, the Northwest College men’s basketball team is still seeking to jell after going 6-5 in the first 11 games of the season and after splitting two games last weekend.
The Trappers looked like a smooth-running, high-performance sports car in beating the Rocky Mountain JV 84-51 on Saturday, but fell to Williston College 80-74 on Friday in the Lions Club Classic tournament in Sheridan.
Northwest previously defeated Williston 97-85 on Nov. 10.
“We’re just not playing together yet,” said coach Brian Erickson, who also said the Trappers never seem to have good fortune in games played the day after Thanksgiving.
The flaws he has seen so far with an almost all-new team are taking shots too quickly, players not moving on offense and not showing the necessary energy on defense.
“We’re a little bit too concerned about our offense and not as concerned about our defense,” he said.
The Trappers did lead against Williston State at various times and Umar Jalloh, 23 points, Calvin Fugett Jr., 12, and Laukan Taufa, 11, had double-figure nights.
Shooting superbly – 57.6 percent in the first half – the Trappers erupted for a 50-22 lead in the first 20 minutes against Rocky Mountain.
Northwest put five players in double figures, led by forward Luc Lombardy’s 17 points. Lombardy swished five-out-of-six 3-point shots. Taufa collected 15 points, Reme Torbert, 12, Lagio Grantsaan 11, and Axel Okongo 10. The team also had 20 assists.
“We started doing things like making the extra pass,” Erickson said. “It was those little things. We were clicking a little bit more, doing the things we need to do.”
Erickson said he believes the Trappers will be much more consistent and improved by season’s end.
“I thought we were going to be up and down early in the year,” Erickson said.