NWC Men Down Fairchild AFB, Drop Two To North Idaho
The Northwest College men’s basketball team traveled to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for the North Idaho Classic over the weekend, opening the tournament with a win over Fairchild Air Force Base before dropping a pair to host North Idaho College.
“Overall, it was a really good trip,” said Trappers head coach Brian Erickson. “It was great in the way of experience. North Idaho is picked to win the Scenic West Athletic Conference; they’re a really good team. Playing them twice gave us a lot of experience. But big picture, we just gotta get better.”
TRAPPERS 86, FAIRCHILD AFB 74
NWC (5-3) opened play at the North Idaho Classic against Fairchild Air Force Base, surviving a strong second-half effort by Fairchild to seal the 86-74 win.
“We came out really strong and played really hard,” Erickson said. “We started making a lot of improvements over things that we needed to work on after last weekend. The overall score probably could have been bigger, but it was a good game to get everybody some experience.”
The Trappers got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 12-0 lead behind 3-pointers by Reme Torbert and Blake Hinze. The quick lead enabled Erickson to rotate his lineup, and NWC pushed the lead to 48-32 at the half.
“The first half, we got everybody into the game,” Erickson said. The Trappers increased their lead in the second half, “but they [Fairchild] weren’t going to go away,” the coach said.
The second half began much like the first, with the Trappers battling to their biggest lead of the game at 65-40. Luc Lombardy knocked down a pair of threes to open the final frame, with Taufa Laukan and Umar Jalloh scoring in the paint. Fairchild tried to make a game of it, but NWC held on for the double-digit win.
“I told the guys to have patience, but to play with urgency, if that makes sense,” Erickson said. “We could get an offensive rebound and just shoot right back up. There’s not enough patience in letting the play develop, moving the ball a little bit more. We don’t have to shoot five seconds into the shot clock. Have some urgency of getting into the offense, but once we get into it, be patient. There was a big improvement in that, and I was pretty happy with it.”
The Trappers finished with four players in double-digits, led by Lombardy and Hinze with 13 points apiece. Torbert followed with 12 points, and Umar Jalloh added 10. Erickson was especially pleased with the play of Torbert and Calvin Fugett.
“I thought Calvin and Reme played really, really well,” Erickson said. “We pulled them pretty early; I don’t think we played them the last 15 minutes. Blake [Hinze] knocked down some shots, Luc [Lombard] knocked down some shots. Lau [Taufa] played really well. You look at the minutes, and I think we had 12 guys that played probably 13 minutes or more. It was a team win, every guy did their job when they got in there.”
The Trappers lost the battle of the boards to Fairchild, 39-31. Lagio Grantsaan and Taufa both finished with eight boards apiece. Fairchild also finished with 11 assists to NWC’s five. NWC sank nine 3-pointers to Fairchild’s eight.
NWC shot 73 percent on free throws, 40 percent on 3-point shots and 49 percent from the field, compared to Fairchild’s 43 percent on free throws, 50 percent on 3-point shots and 48 percent from the field.
NIC 87, TRAPPERS 80
Friday found the Trappers squaring off against tournament host and nationally-ranked North Idaho College. The Trappers held a 38-34 lead at the half but were unable to sustain it late in the game, falling to the Cardinals 87-80.
“I thought we did some pretty good things, but they started getting to the rim,” Erickson said. “We gave that one away a little bit.”
NIC (2-0) dominated the game early, jumping out to a 20-9 lead to open things. The Trappers battled back with a pair of 3-pointers from Lombardy and free throws from Jalloh and Grantsaan. With the game knotted up at 32-32, Trapper Jordan Banks nailed a shot from behind the arc to give NWC their first lead since the opening moments. The Trappers went into the half up 38-34.
“That was their first game of the year, so they came out excited,” Erickson said of NIC’s fast start. “We didn’t really match their intensity. Once we did, it was a back and forth game.”
The Cardinals began to battle back in the second half, retaking the lead at 51- 48 with just over 12 minutes left in the game. The lead went back and forth until NIC pulled away for good, holding off a late-game rally by the Trappers.
Lombardy led the way for NWC, netting 19 points, including four 3-pointers. Grantsaan followed with 13 points, Hinze with 11 and Jalloh with 10.
Taufa led the team with seven boards to go along with four points; Lombardy grabbed six rebounds for the game. The Trappers were out-rebounded by the Cardinals 37-32, but won the 3-point battle 11-6.
“Luc [Lombardy] shot it really well,” Erickson said. “He played really well in that first half. In the second half, Calvin [Fugett] kind of came alive. He did a better job of getting to the rim. We had a couple of different guys step up. Lau [Taufa] played well, rebounding the basketball, being big on both ends.”
NWC shot 70 percent on free throws, 39 percent on 3-point shots and 41 percent from the field, compared to NIC’s 68 percent on free throws, 31 percent on 3-point shots and 53 percent from the field.
“I thought we did a pretty good job, but they scored too many points, really,” Erickson said. “We didn’t do a good enough job that day of staying in front of them.”
NIC 71, TRAPPERS 61
The Trappers battled NIC for the second time in less than 24 hours on Saturday to round out the North Idaho Classic. Neither team was as up-tempo as the night before, with the Cardinals holding on for a 71-61 win.
“I thought we did a really good job defensively in this game,” Erickson said. “We fixed the things we weren’t doing well the night before. We held them to 71 points, so it was really a different game. We just couldn’t make a shot.”
The Cardinals jumped out to a double-digit lead to start the game, though NWC was able to chip away at the lead late in the first half. NIC led by just four points at the half, 34-30.
The second half went back and forth, with the Cardinals unable to add to their four-point lead for the first 10 minutes of the half. The fatigue of three games in three days may have become a factor for the Trappers, however, as NIC coasted late to a 71-61 win.
“We did a better job of having patience on offense, getting guys in the right spots,” Erickson said. “But the shots just wouldn’t fall. ... We kind of threw everything at them, it was just one of those things where nobody could hit an open shot, even from inside the paint. When shooting is cold, you wonder what adjustments to make. If the shots aren’t falling, I don’t think it matters what you do.”
NWC’s Grantsaan just missed a double-double, finishing with 15 points and nine rebounds to lead the team in both categories. Fugett was the only other Trapper in double figures, netting 10 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists.
Torbert and Banks finished with eight points each, followed by six points apiece for Lombardy and Hinze.
The battle of the boards was knotted up at 42-42, while NWC doubled up the Cardinals in 3-pointers, 8-4.
For the game, NWC shot 71 percent on free throws, 23 percent on 3-point shots and a dismal 28 percent from the field. That compared to NIC’s 80 percent on free throws, 27 percent on 3-point shots and 40 percent from the field.
The Trappers will host Laramie County Community College tonight (Tuesday) at 7:30 p.m. at Cabre Gym. NWC will head to Sheridan this weekend for the Lions Club Classic, squaring off against Williston State College and the Rocky Mountain JV