Win Against Lamar CC Highlights Trip
The Northwest College men’s basketball team’s bus tour of the West continued for the third straight week, with the Trappers posting an overtime win against Lamar Community College in Colorado Thursday 81-78. That extended the team’s win streak to four games.
The weekend’s games were a different story, however, as the Trappers fell to Otero Junior College 103-77 on Friday and Trinidad State 92-70 Saturday to return home 1-2 for the trip.
“I tell the guys you have to know how to treat your body and your preparation during trips like this,” said NWC head coach Dawud Abdur-Rahkman. “We need everybody to be able to recognize their strengths, and then come in and execute that. I think we’re getting there.”
TRAPPERS 81, LCC 78 OT
NWC sophomore Reme Torbert sank five 3-pointers en route to a 28-point performance, as the Trappers (4-5, 0-0) battled back from a nine-point deficit at the half to upset the Runnin’ Lopes (4-6, 0-0) 81-78.
“It’s always good when you can win in the face of adversity,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “To win a close game like that, I told the guys afterwards, ‘Hey, this is going to pay dividends down the line.’”
The Trappers struggled to get out of the gate, but settled in about midway through the first half, cutting the Lopes’ lead to 38-29 at the break.
“I think our defense and our relentlessness around the boards were our strengths tonight,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well, but I thought we played great defense.”
The second half and overtime went to Northwest, as the Trappers outscored LCC 52-40.
A Torbert 3-pointer with under a minute to play in regulation gave the Trappers a two-point lead, but the Lopes hit a bucket at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. The teams traded baskets in OT, but the Trappers pulled out the three-point win.
“It’s the second time we’ve gone into overtime in a hostile environment, and we’ve been able to come out with a win both times,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “It says a lot about the kids and their character and their refusal to quit, so that’s big.”
Torbert’s 28 points led all scorers, and he was second on the team in assists with three.
Lagio Grantsaan finished with 12 points; he and Brian Howell led the team in rebounds with five apiece.
“Lagio, time and time again, just comes up with some big rebounds when we really needed them,” Abdur-Rahkman said.
Saheem Anthony added 10 points, while Kyle Brown chipped in nine points and grabbed four boards.
“I thought Kyle came in and gave us good minutes off the bench,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “He’s getting better and better, and starting to figure out how to utilize his ability to get to the rim and score within our system.”
Jason Feliz led the Trappers in assists with four, to go along with seven points, while Calvin Fugett added three assists.
“Calvin and Jason played pretty good off the bench as well,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “They didn’t play exhaustive minutes, but I thought everybody that played contributed.”
Sophomore Axel Okongo saw his first action of the season against the Lopes, and the 7-footer made the most of his minutes, grabbing four boards and blocking a shot.
“I thought Axel came in and gave us some good defensive minutes,” Abdur-Rahkman said, adding, “I think during the game, a light went on for him a little bit, to where he’s going to start buying in to what he can do as a 7-footer. Once a kid understands his true value and starts to focus on that, the sky’s the limit.”
OTERO JUNIOR COLLEGE 103, TRAPPERS 77
The Trappers ran into a buzz-saw of sorts against Otero Junior College Friday in La Junta, Colorado, falling to the Rattlers 103-77.
“We just came out with no intensity, no energy, and they jumped all over us,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “By the time we could figure out what was going on in the second half, it was just too late.”
OJC rolled out to a 59-28 lead at the half. The Trappers made it competitive in the second half, outscoring the Rattlers 49-44, but that wasn’t enough to avoid the lopsided loss.
“We really have to get better at handling pressure, zone presses and traps. Williston [State] did it to us first, and now everyone else is trying to do it to us,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “That’s on me, so I just have to do a better job of making sure our guys are prepared for pressure and how to work out of that.”
The Trappers finished with five players scoring in double digits, led by Brian Howell with 16. Reme Torbert followed with 13 points, Kyle Brown netted 11 and Calvin Fugett and Lagio Grantsaan each had 10. Saheem Anthony led the team with four rebounds, followed by three from Darius Webster, to go along with his nine points.
TRINIDAD STATE 92, TRAPPERS 70
Saturday’s game against Trinidad State (6-1, 0-0) was more competitive, with the Trappers down just 43-40 at the half.
The wheels came off in the second half, however, as the Trojans outscored Northwest 49-30 to cruise to a 92-70 win.
“Trinidad had the same M.O.; they pressured us,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “We can’t win a game turning the ball over 20-some times. We struggle with that right now [and] we have got to do a better job with that.”
Grantsaan led all scorers with 21 points, to go along with six rebounds and three assists.
Anthony netted 15 points, while Torbert finished with eight and Jason Feliz chipped in seven.
“We played with them for most of the game, but in the end it kind of got away from us,” Abdur-Rahkman said.
The Trappers head to Sheridan this weekend for the Lions Club Classic, squaring off against a familiar foe in Williston State Friday. Northwest will follow that with a game against Lake Region State College Saturday.
“I expect us to be better at handling pressure going into this weekend,” Abdur-Rahkman said. The rematch with Williston will give the team “a meaningful measure of whether we made any progress since the last time we’ve played them.”
“If we handle that pressure, if we clear that hurdle, we can start challenging the better teams,” the coach said.