The turnovers still annoy coach Brian Erickson, but the Northwest College men’s basketball team overcame the miscues with otherwise solid all-around play to capture two games last weekend and raise its season record to 8-5.
Victories over Dawson Community College, 81-67, and the Rocky Mountain junior varsity, 70-49, gave Erickson the sense his freshmen-dominated team is starting to come together.
“A lot of improvement, for sure,” Erickson said. “That’s probably the hardest we’ve played all year (versus Dawson).”
Yet the Trappers still had 24 turnovers, always a concern, and then 22 against Rocky Mountain.
“We’ve kind of been an up and down team, but if we can play 40 minutes of hard-nosed basketball we can be a pretty good team,” Erickson said.
A major problem for the Trappers Friday night against Dawson was early foul trouble for the bigs. This became center Axel Okongo’s time to shine. The 7-foot freshman from France has not seen a tremendous amount of action, but he came off the bench to score six points and snatch four rebounds during Northwest’s troubled first-half times.
“I think he won the game for us,” Erickson said. “He was the difference in that game.”
Omar Jalloh scored 18 points, Reme Torbert 15, and Blake Hinze and Calvin Fugett Jr. 12 points each. Fugett also had eight assists.
“He has stepped up,” Erickson said of Jalloh.
Erickson thinks the Trappers were crisper against Dawson, but were still good enough to win over Rocky.
“I don’t think we played together enough,” he said, “but overall it was a successful weekend.”
Fugett topped the team with 14 points and Torbert contributed 11.
After three games in three days on the road, Thursday-Saturday, the Trappers go into semester finals and do not play another game until Jan. 10. They won’t even practice for three weeks before returning for their 14th game of the season.
“I wish it wasn’t quite so long, but it is a well-needed break,” Erickson said. “These kids (the freshmen) are used to playing 20 games in a year.”