Losses To Sheridan, Gillette As Clock Ticks On Season
Still looking for its first conference win of the season, the Northwest College women’s basketball team came up empty-handed during its most recent road trip last week.
After a pair of Region IX North losses at Sheridan on Feb. 6 and on Saturday at Gillette, NWC now owns an 0-10 record in the North. With four games remaining in the regular season, the Lady Trappers will have to sweep this week’s games to avoid going into Region IX tournament play as the No. 8 seed.
That’s a pretty tall order, considering the level of competition still left to play.
“At times I thought we played well,” said NWC head coach Camden Levett of his team’s performance on the road last week. “When we’re bought in and we do the things we need to do, we look really good. But those first-quarter lapses and breakdowns at the end are costing us.”
The Lady Trappers traveled to Riverton to take on Central Wyoming Wednesday, and will be back on their home court on Saturday against Casper. The Pronghorns are sporting a perfect 10-0 record atop the Region IX North, and Levett said if the Lady Trappers have any chance at the upset, they’ll have to start fast and sustain it throughout.
“Casper will be a good challenge for us, as always,” he said. “We played them tight the first half last time in Casper, but they got us in the second half pretty good. They’re a talented team.”
SHERIDAN 50, LADY TRAPPERS 45
The effects of a limited roster continue to be felt for the Lady Trappers, though they were able to jump out to a quick 16-9 lead against Sheridan (16-10 overall, 6-4 in the Region IX North). The Lady Generals pulled within five points in the second quarter, trailing Northwest 24-19 at the break.
Sheridan took the lead in the third quarter and held on in the fourth, taking advantage of a dismal 27 percent shooting performance by the Lady Trappers to take the 50-45 win. Despite NWC’s shooting woes, Levett said he was pleased with the team’s defensive effort.
“Sheridan is averaging 70 points a game, and we held them to 50 and lost,” Levett said. “Our defense was good enough to win, we just struggled shooting the ball.”
NWC made 17 of its 22 free throws, but Sheridan countered with a solid 39 percent from the floor. The Lady Generals won the battle of the boards 32-30.
Freshman Berkley Larsen paced NWC with eight points, while Melissa Martinez, Selena Cudney, Kaylee Brown and Jenna Lohrenz netted seven apiece, with Lohrenz finishing with a team-high seven rebounds. Sheridan’s Cynthia Green led all scorers with 11 points.
“Just not enough buckets going in for us,” Levett said. “Our girls got after it defensively, we were talking, we were switching, just doing everything right. We just can’t score.”
GILLETTE 71, LADY TRAPPERS 53
Against Gillette Saturday, the Lady Trappers found more of an offensive rhythm as shots finally began to fall. But key runs in the second and third quarters by the host team had NWC struggling to catch up.
“We came out and played them strong in the first half, but that third quarter is really the one that bit us in the butt,” Levett said. “They [Gillette] are a talented team, and they did a good job against us in the post.”
Northwest trailed 31-21 at the half, after keeping it close in the first quarter. But once again, a big third quarter by Gillette (14- 11, 7-3) was enough to put the game out of reach. The Lady Trappers battled back to outscore the Pronghorns 18-17 in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough, as they fell 71-53.
The Lady Trappers finished 20-of-58 from the floor (34.5 percent), while Gillette countered with 45.8 percent (27-of-59).
Tayler Groll led NWC with 12 points, followed by Kaylee Brown with 10, to go along with six rebounds.
“Tayler Groll off the bench was fantastic for us,” Levett said. “She brought a lot of energy. She’s a good athlete, and for her to have 12 points off the bench for us, that was huge.”
Martinez netted nine points, adding two assists and three steals.
“Melissa [Martinez] has stepped in there and done a good job, though we’re still working on eliminating her turnovers,” Levett said. “But shooting the ball, she’s just solid. She doesn’t force any shots, she plays the game at her pace. She knows I have a lot of confidence in her leading this team as a point.”
Tayler Sayer chipped in six and Lohrenz and Larsen finished with five apiece. Sayer led the team in rebounds with seven, with Brown right behind with six. Gillette’s Molly Coleman led all scorers with 22 points and capped off the contest with a double-double,