Conference Record Stands At 3-3
The Northwest College men’s basketball team survived a pair of tough road games to earn a split last week, defeating Western Wyoming Community College before falling to Central Wyoming College.
Against WWCC (14-8) on Thursday, Jan. 26, the Trappers (15-7) used a tenacious defense to keep the Mustangs from finding a rhythm, leaving Rock Springs with a 57-51 win.
“We knew WWCC was going to try to run the shot clock down against us, keep the scoring low,” said NWC head coach Brian Erickson. “They’re a really disciplined team. It probably wasn’t the most exciting game to watch, but it was one of those games where every possession counted.”
NWC finished the game with three players in double figures, led by Powell native Marshall McArthur with 13. Cody’s Blake Hinze netted 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, while Sukhjot Bains chipped in 10. Damon Leach scored nine points and Skyler Zabrinskie was a perfect 2-2 from behind the arc, finishing with seven points to round out the top five. Levi Londole led the charge on the boards, pulling down nine rebounds (eight on the defensive end of the floor), and Bains dished off three assists.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Erickson said. “We came out with making the least mistakes. We rebounded well, cut down on turnovers, we were getting good shots. McArthur had another good game, that’s about three to four games in a row where he’s played pretty well.”
WWCC’s Tyrell Isaacs led all scorers with 16 points, while teammate Joshua Fearing finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Trappers wound up with five 3-pointers, and outrebounded the Mustangs 39-36. They shot 63 percent on free throws, 42 percent on 3-point shots and 39 percent from the field, compared to WWCC’s 89 percent on free throws, 33 percent on 3-point shots and 33 percent from the field. NWC had 11 turnovers compared to six for the Mustangs.
In Riverton Friday, the Trappers got off to a sluggish start against CWC (13-7) and never recovered, returning home with a 68-61 loss. NWC wasn’t playing at full strength due to sickness and the lack of depth caught up with them as the game wore on.
“We only had nine guys suited up,” Erickson said. “Our back-up point guard was sick and didn’t go on the trip, our starting point guard was sick all week, he played a little bit against WWCC but wasn’t able to go Friday. Luc Lombardy had to go back home because of a family emergency. Playing back-to-back, we were tired, and you could tell by how we played.”
The Rustlers began the game with a 10-0 run, shutting NWC down defensively for the first six minutes before Leach finally put the Trappers on the board. Down 14-2 at one point, NWC battled back behind the 3-point shooting of Bains and Carter Baxter and strong play by McArthur and Hinze, pulling within a point at 25-24.
CWC would make another run, however, going into the half up 35-26.
“We got down 14-2, and it was tough getting back,” Erickson said. “We almost tied it up in the first half; it was back and forth. We went to everybody, everybody had the chance to play. Tanner Coleman hasn’t played a lot of minutes, but I think he played 15 good minutes in that game. We just ran out of gas.”
In the second half, the Rustlers pushed their lead to 16 points at 54-38 with 12 minutes to play. The Trappers would battle back yet again, though it was a case of too little, too late, as CWC held on for the seven-point win.
For NWC, Bains led the team in scoring and rebounding with 16 points and nine boards, just missing a double-double. Baxter and McArthur finished with 13 points apiece, including a pair of 3-pointers for Baxter, while Hinze chipped in seven points.
CWC’s Devon Colley led all scorers with 21 points, while teammate Chris Quayle finished with 13. Alihan Demir pulled down 14 boards to go along with his seven points.
The Trappers finished with eight 3-pointers, but were outrebounded by CWC 51-39. NWC shot 58 percent on free throws, 28 percent on 3-point shots and 32 percent from the field, compared to the Rustlers’ 83 percent on free throws, 29 percent on 3-point shots and 36 percent from the field. NWC had nine turnovers compared to 14 for the Mustangs.
The Trappers hosted Casper College Wednesday and will travel to Gillette Saturday to take on the Pronghorns. They then host Sheridan College Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
“Both Casper and Gillette only have one loss, both tied for first place,” Erickson said. “Both games are going to be tough. Gillette is going to want to get up and down and make it a fast-paced game, so we have to be able to slow it down, take time off the clock. We have to hit a good shot every time down the court.”
The game against Gillette College on Saturday can be viewed online at: www.gcprong horns.com/video