Losses To Central, Sheridan Cap Roller-Coaster Season
An up-and-down 2016-17 campaign ended on a low note last week, as the Northwest College men’s basketball team dropped games at home to Central Wyoming and on the road to Sheridan to close out the regular season.
The Trappers will head back to Sheridan this weekend for the Region IX Tournament play-in game and a final chance to extend their season.
“We definitely need to make some adjustments going into this week,” said NWC head coach Brian Erickson. “I told the guys, ‘You just lost to a team on their home court, but you get to play them again — you can go into their court with a chip on your shoulder. You know exactly what they’re about, and you know you can beat them.’”
“I think we feel pretty good about going back this week,” Erickson said.
On a night where Trapper fans honored the hard work and play of its sophomores, Central Wyoming College chose to crash the party, outlasting a sluggish NWC team to leave with a 68-55 win.
“It came down to, we just didn’t really play hard,” Erickson said. “No energy, no intensity on both ends of the court. We made a little bit of a run for about a five-minute span, but just couldn’t get it done.”
Points were at a premium for the Trappers, as only Sukjhot Bains finished in double figures. The sophomore recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the final home game of his NWC career.
NWC also had issues controlling the ball, turning it over 25 times compared to 16 for CWC. Rebounds were even with both teams grabbing 37.
“They got every loose ball; things just went their way,” Erickson said. “They played a lot harder and wanted it a lot more. We got back to playing the kind of ball we’ve been trying to get away from: guys trying to do to much offensively. I think the excitement for Sophomore Night and the big crowd, the guys just went back to trying to do too much.”
For the Trappers, sophomores Levi Londole and Skyler Zabriskie finished with eight points apiece, with Zabriskie dishing off four assists. Jonathan Koud followed with seven points, Marshall McArthur with six and Carter Baxter with five.
Damon Leach finished his final home game as a Trapper with four points to go along with seven rebounds.
The Rustlers had five players in double figures, led by Marcus Nolan with 14 points. Alihan Demir followed with 12 points, and Irshaad Hunte and Devon Colley netted 10 apiece.
The Trappers finished with seven 3-pointers, and had nine assists, compared to 12 for CWC. NWC shot 63 percent on free throws, 20 percent on 3-point shots and 40 percent from the field, compared to MCC’s 69 percent on free throws, 37 percent on 3-point shots and 34 percent from the field.
Despite the loss, Erickson walked off the court with a couple of positives to build on.
“We were down by 23 at one point and we cut it to six,” Erickson said. “Just to be able to fight back, I think that showed some sign of life. There were just too many other moments where we just weren’t there.”
SHERIDAN 69, NWC 59
The last time the Trappers played Sheridan College, the result was a barn-burner, with NWC outlasting the visiting Generals in triple-overtime.
The rematch was all Sheridan, however, as the Generals hit six straight 3-pointers in the second half to pull away for a 69-59 win.
“Yeah, that was rough,” Erickson said. “I think the biggest thing was we couldn’t get our shots to fall. I thought we actually played really hard, pretty well overall. We just couldn’t get the ball to go in the hoop.”
Despite cold shooting, the Trappers trailed just 28-22 at the break. But the Generals then made six 3-pointers on seven possessions.
“In like an eight-minute span, they made 9-out-of-10 3-pointers,” Erickson said. “With us struggling to put the ball in the hoop, and them sinking everything they threw at the basket, it kind of got away from us.”
Sheridan’s hot perimeter shooting to open the second half was something of an aberration: outside of that blistering stretch, the Generals made only two of their other 22 attempts from 3-point range.
Down by 25 at one point, The Trappers again rallied, cutting the lead to nine points with five minutes to play.
In the end, though, it wasn’t enough.
“Our guys fought hard and came back,” Erickson said. “But in eight minutes or so, they score 27 points, it makes it tough. When they hit that many threes, you just don’t know what to do. You just have to keep pushing through.”
Sukjhot Bains recorded a double-double for the second straight game, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Blake Hinze was the only other Trapper to finish with double figures, leading the team with 11 points, including going 3-6 from beyond the arc.
Levi Londole, Seth Bennett, Carter Baxter and Jonathan Koud all netted six points apiece, with Londole pulling down 11 rebounds to lead both teams.
Luc Lombardy and Marshall McArthur finished with five points apiece; Damon Leach scored four.
The Generals finished with four players in double figures, led by Laden Ricketts with 16 points, including four 3-pointers. Celio Araujo followed with 14 points, Channel Banks added 13 and Dmonta Harris 10.
The Trappers finished with eight 3-pointers, and out-rebounded Sheridan 46-39. NWC shot 56 percent on free throws, 30 percent on 3-point shots and 30 percent from the field, compared to Sheridan’s 60 percent on free throws, 34 percent on 3-point shots and 37 percent from the field.