Northwest Falls To Williston State, Lake Region In Sheridan
A two-loss weekend wasn’t what the Northwest College men’s basketball team had in mind at the Lions Club Classic in Sheridan, but the team continues to show improvement despite a winless Thanksgiving.
The Trappers lost a close battle to familiar foe Williston State Friday (70-67) then fell 77-64 against Lake Region State Saturday to drop to 4-7 on the season.
“The weekend was all over the place,” said NWC head coach Dawud Abdur-Rahkman. “Both games were very competitive, and both were games we could have won. But we played well, and it’s an indication of how far we’ve come.”
WILLISTON STATE 70, TRAPPERS 67
The last time the Trappers squared off against Williston State earlier this month, the Tetons won in a rout, 106-67.
But it was a different Northwest team that took the floor Friday to open the Lions Club Classic, and though Williston ultimately won 70-67, the game could have gone the other way.
“Williston beat us by 39 points the first time,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “This time, we ended up losing by three in a game that I believe we should have won by at least 15 or more. In terms of us being able to play against their type of intensity and effort, we were so much better.”
Turnovers and empty possessions were a factor in the loss for the Trappers, who turned the ball over 19 times in the contest.
“We had a bunch of empty possessions, where we didn’t get a shot or we had bad shot selection,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “With that said, I’m not happy with that, and we have a long way to go. But I am satisfied in that we made some real progress.”
Asked what the difference was in the Trappers from the first game to this one, Abdur-Rahkman said the team did a better job of withstanding pressure. Having more time to game plan was also a plus, as the first time these two teams met, the Trappers and their new head coach barely had time to exchange names before hitting the road.
“We didn’t have a preseason together; we just jumped into a van and went the first day I got here,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “We’ve had some time to develop the process of being able to identify our weaknesses, and as we go forward, work on them a little more. We’re just settling in a little bit more as a team.”
Sophomore Lagio Grantsaan led the way for the Trappers, just missing a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. Reme Torbert followed with 14 points to go along with seven boards and two steals.
“That was a great game for him [Torbert],” Abdur-Rahkman said. “He didn’t shoot the ball that well, but he just hustled.”
Saheem Anthony and Jason Feliz finished the game with eight points apiece, with Anthony adding four boards and Feliz grabbing three.
“All these guys played hard and with good energy,” Abdur-Rahkman said.
Calvin Fugett played well coming off the bench, scoring seven points and leading the team in assists with four.
“Calvin’s going to be good for this team; he’s getting there,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “He’s going to be fine. He just needs to get out of his own way — don’t get emotional, just get out there and do what he does.”
LAKE REGION STATE 77, TRAPPERS 64
Against Lake Region State on Saturday, the Trappers again were able to keep it close, though late-game miscues allowed the Royals to pull away for the 77-64 win.
“We gotta get to a point where we can just put a whole game together against a good, quality team,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “They [LRSC] were OK. They weren’t as athletic as we are, but they were very good shooters. They were knocking down shots when it counted.”
Torbert led the Trappers with 19 points, followed by Darius Webster with 16 and Anthony with 14. Webster came up a rebound shy of a double-double, grabbing nine boards.
“We’re not good at keeping people in front of us. We have to do a better job at that,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “Every day we’re going to figure out a little more about ourselves. Everything to everyone is new; we’re doing everything on the fly. But I do feel good about our progress.”
The Trappers are at home this weekend, hosting the First Bank of Wyoming Shootout. Friday will see Northwest battle Miles Community College, followed by a game against Dawson Community College Saturday. The Trappers have had success against both teams this season, and Abdur-Rahkman expects that to continue.
“We have to get better on the defensive end, in terms of keeping people in front,” the coach said. “We can’t continue to get into a scramble to where we’re giving up open shots. That starts with stopping penetration. Our individual defensive effort has to be a lot better.”
On offense, Abdur-Rahkman said the Trappers have to do a better job of valuing each possession.
“We have to get to the point where each possession is like the last possession,” he said. “If we do a better job at that, I’ll be happy.”