The optimist in Blake Hinze tells him the Northwest College men’s basketball team can win on Saturday.
“It’s an opportunity,” he said. “We should be able to get the W.”
Those Ws have been in limited supply for the Trappers this season.
After falling to Gillette 94-75 and Sheridan 97-71, Region IX’s two top teams last week to end the regular season, second-chance play begins against Central Wyoming.
This is a league play-in game in Riverton to gain entry to the full-scale tournament at Otero Community College in La Junta, Colo., next week.
The Trappers upset Gillette in the teams’ first meeting of the season when the Pronghorns were 20-0. The second try was not as suspenseful.
Gillette burst to a 12-0 lead at the start and led by 16 points early. Although the Trappers pulled within four points once, they spent most of the game chasing.
“We let them do the things they do well,” said Northwest coach Brian Erickson of the Pronghorns’ prowess at transition basketball and offensive rebounding. “We didn’t stop them. We just didn’t do it.”
Jordan Banks’ 12 points led five Trappers in double figures. Calvin Fugett Jr. and Lagio Grantsaan each had 11 and Reme Torbert and Axel Okongo each had 10.
Erickson was not terribly pleased with the overall performance at Sheridan either.
“We didn’t do anything well and they did everything well,” he said.
Sheridan had six players in double figures and shot 59 percent from the field.
Torbert was high scorer with 17 points for Northwest, Umar Jalloh had 16 and Fugett 15, with Luc Lombardy adding 11.
Hinze, the former Cody High School star guard, said the Trappers have not been executing well, and get away from the game plan and tough defense during games.
If Northwest does not beat Central, Hinze’s junior college career will end. But he views the match-up as an achievable victory.
“It is very possible,” Hinze said.