NWC's Success Continues
Posted by: Trapper Athletics — February 14, 2018
By LEW FREEDMAN Cody Enterprise Sports Writer
Courtesy of the Cody Enterprise
Shelby Wardell’s first long jumper of the Northwest College-Little Big Horn women’s basketball contest missed by so much from the left side she feared she was in for a nightmare game.
“I bricked my first shot hard off the backboard,” Wardell said. “I was worried.”
That was transitory turbulence, however, and the 5-foot-6 freshman from Lovell instead compiled a 23-minute lifetime highlight film.
In a game where the Lady Trappers overpowered the Rams, 117-33, for their 20th victory of the season, Wardell’s hot hand could not have been tempered by a pot holder.
She scored 35 points, making nine 3-pointers, while going 11-for-14 from the field in all. And that was after coming off the bench.
“It is by far the best game of my whole life,” Wardell said.
Or of most people’s lives. Wardell was taking it under advisement whether or not she should frame the box score as a souvenir.
It was a do-no-wrong game for the Trappers, now 20-6 – the most wins in coach Janis Beal’s nine-season tenure – against Little Big Horn (1-21) which had just six players in uniform.
The Saturday afternoon performance at Cabre Gym followed a Wednesday night 82-57 silencing of Central Wyoming in Riverton.
Northwest has one of the best records in all of Region IX, along with Casper College, 24-2, Western Nebraska, 23-3, and Miles Community College, 21-5.
The Trappers were scheduled to meet Miles on the road Wednesday night and face Casper in their last home game of the season Saturday afternoon.
At Central, Northwest was led by center Dallas Petties with 17 points, guard Dani McManamen with 13, and guard Domenica Gomes with 10. This was
the season’s best game for Gomes, who missed weeks of play with a sprained ankle.
“Our defense was very good,” Petties said.
That included holding Central to seven points in the third quarter.
“Sometimes we take our foot off the gas pedal, but if we play all four quarters we can win.”
That defense manifested itself with steals: Northwest had 26, including five each by Tala Tuisavura and Kira Marlow.
“We forced them out of their game,” McManamen said. “This is the time we definitely want to be playing our best basketball.”
The Trappers could not play better than they did against the Rams, shooting 56 percent from the field and nearly 80 percent from the foul line, out-rebounding Little Big Horn, 43-23, and putting all 13 players in the scoring column. Alexi Payne followed Wardell with 16 points.
Northwest also shot 51.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Beal said Wardell’s sizzling shooting had the Trappers feeding her.
“Sometimes there are those days the hoop looks bigger,” Beal said of Wardell’s explosion. “She actually out-scored Little Big Horn herself.”
After her opening lousy shot, Wardell thought, “Well, I can only go up from here.”
Like a rocket ship. There were many friendly eyewitnesses to the show, too. Wardell’s mom, stepfather, brother, grandparents and uncle were in attendance.
“The bench was nuts,” Wardell said. Teammates “all came up and hugged me.
“That was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”