From dunks to 3-point shots far enough from the basket to classify as long-range missiles, Lagio Grantsaan did a pretty good imitation of LeBron James.
For most of 40 minutes against nationally-ranked Sheridan, Grantsaan was being fitted for a hero’s wreath of roses as Northwest College verged on a second straight major upset.
But in the end the Generals survived the Trappers’ multi-pronged assault 89-84 at Cabre Gym last week.
Only days after Northwest up-ended No. 6 ranked and undefeated Gillette, the Trappers were poised for a replay against Sheridan.
Sheridan entered the game 18-3 and rated 22nd nationally.
“I was really hyped up,” said Grantsaan, a 6-foot-7 freshman from Holland. “I’ve got to go inside and outside.”
The Trappers were not intimidated, leading 16-11 early, 41-40 at the half, and were ahead 58-55 with 14 1/2 minutes to go in the second half. They were then tied 76-76 and down by one, 83-82 with less than two minutes remaining.
Against Gillette, Northwest maintained several one-point leads. Against Sheridan, Northwest could not make the clutch shots to provide a one-point lead.
“We had opportunities,” said Worland’s Chandler Ramos, who recently missed 10 days of play because of a dislocated shoulder. “We definitely could have won.”
Sheridan refused to let that happen by shooting 55.4 percent from the floor and with five players scoring between 13 and 21 points.
Grantsaan was high man for Northwest, but he was ably supported by Reme Torbert and Luc Lombardy, 17 points each, and Calvin Fuggett Jr. with 15.
“We went too much one-on-one,” Trapper coach Brian Erickson said. “We had too many guys trying to do too much themselves.”
Northwest fell to 12-12 last Saturday due to a 92-74 road loss at Western Wyoming.
Tobert led four double-figure Trapper scorers with 17 points. Fugett had 14, and Grantsaan and Lombardy 12 each. Umar Jalloh scored 9.
Northwest trailed by 15 points at the half and never really dented the margin.
Erickson said he was looking for more passion, fire and heart and a stronger mental focus from the Trappers against Western.
“We didn’t play together really well,” he said.