Forfeit Over Little Big Horn Has NWC 1-3 In Last Four Games
Coming off a three-game losing skid, the Northwest College men’s basketball team was anxious to right the ship and get back into the win column last week.
The Trappers did just that over the weekend, but not in the way they would have preferred. After a tough 89-68 loss against Central Wyoming College in Riverton Feb. 7 that pushed the Trappers’ winless streak to three, NWC was looking forward to a conference matchup against Little Big Horn College at home last weekend. But due to a “perfect storm” of injuries and academic issues, The Rams (0-23, 0-10) were unable to field a five-man roster, forcing the team to pull the plug on Saturday’s contest at the last minute. The forfeit will count as a conference win, but NWC head coach Brian Erickson said the team would have benefitted more from actually being on the court.
“We needed to play that game in terms of added experience,” Erickson said. “It’s not something you want to see happen at this point in the season. We really could have used it.”
CENTRAL WYOMING 89, TRAPPERS 68
The last time the Trappers squared off against Central Wyoming, the Rustlers (16-10, 7-3) survived a 30-point effort by NWC freshman Reme Torbert by capitalizing on turnovers, holding on for a 90-85 win in Powell.
The rematch in Riverton last week featured another strong performance by Torbert, but the outcome was the same, with the Rustlers handing the Trappers (13-13, 4-6) a 89-68 loss.
“I thought we started out pretty well,” Erickson said. “But as the game got going, we really couldn’t stop them. We played really well in the first half, but came out in the second half and folded a little bit.”
The Trappers were down just 45-38 at the break, but as the second half got underway, Erickson said the team struggled to get anything going. The Rustlers outscored NWC 44-30 in the final frame.
“We got down by about 12 with 18 minutes left, and I think some of our mental toughness got the best of us,” he said. “Guys got frustrated with the officials. With five minutes left, the fouls were 25-10 [in CWC’s favor]. The mental toughness wasn’t quite there, we needed to push through and overcome it and we didn’t do that.”
NWC has struggled putting together a consistent defense all season, an aspect that was apparent in Riverton. Erickson said when the Trappers play team defense, good things happen, but sustaining it over the course of 40 minutes has proven to be a challenge.
“It’s been in the last week and a half or so that it’s become really noticeable that we’ve fallen away from team defense,” he said. “The rest of our games are tough ones against the best in the conference, so we need to get it figured out.”
The Trappers finished with three players in double digits, all with a great night from behind the arc. Torbert paced the Trappers with a game-high 22 points, followed by 12 points apiece from Luc Lombardy and Blake Hinze. All three hit four 3-pointers apiece.
“Reme [Torbert] again played really, really well,” Erickson said. “Blake [Hinze] shot it really well, and Luc [Lombardy] had his moments,” Erickson said. “I think towards the end we started playing a little more aggressive. Some of the guys who got a chance to play never quit. If we can get everyone to play like that we’ll be all right.”
The Rustlers also finished with three players in double digits, led by Broc Finstuen with 22.
The Trappers traveled to Miles City, Montana, on Wednesday to take on the MCC Pioneers (8-18, 2-8), and will wrap up the home portion of their season Saturday against Casper College (18-8, 6-4). NWC will honor sophomores Hinze, Lombardy and Jace Johnson before the game, and Erickson said he’d like to see the team finish strong at home.
“It’s always good to go out with a win on the last home game,” the coach said. “It’s another game, but it has a little special part to it. Those games are always exciting, so we just need to get guys to settle in pretty quick. We need to treat it like just another game and get the sophomores a win.”