The Northwest College women’s basketball game against Sheridan College last week was a little bit like a trip to the dentist.
A whole lot of grinding went into it and the cure resulted in a pain-free ending.
The Lady Trappers finished off the visiting Generals 56-46, with a defense that made up for a poor shooting night.
“It really was ugly on both sides,” Northwest coach Janis Beal said. “It was never a game that was going to be over.”
She meant her Trappers were not going to build a big enough lead to be comfortable until the final buzzer.
That victory, coupled with an 83-63 win three days later at Western Wyoming, raised Northwest’s record to 18-6. The team is closing in on the most wins and the best mark in Beal’s nine-season tenure.
The 2013-14 team finished 19-13.
But this team has more on its mind than individual game notches – the Region IX playoffs.
“We’re on pace to be on top of that,” Beal said of the 19 wins. “I’m excited about this team and what it can accomplish.”
Sheridan shot just 29.6 percent from the floor, although Northwest’s mark was a nothing-to-brag-about 30.9.
The Generals led 14-11 after the first quarter, but a 17-5 second quarter turned things Northwest’s way.
“Our defense is something we can always rely on,” said sophomore Kira Marlow, who had 10 points.
When the Trappers got up by 14 points in the third quarter there was a moment it appeared they might push the lead out of sight to 20 or more.
“I thought we were going to do that, too,” Marlow said.
Instead, Sheridan cut the margin to two points midway through the fourth quarter before the Trappers held the Generals without a point for the last 5:20.
“I thought our defense helped us a lot,” said center Dallas Petties, who had a team-high 13 points.
Point guard Domenica Gomes was a spark off the bench with five points and two assists, but particularly in seeing gaps in the Sheridan defense to force the ball in near the basket.
“I was pushing myself,” Gomes said. “There was a lot of space on the drives.”
The overall performance was much smoother against Western Wyoming, with spreads of 22-13, 24-11 and 16-13 over the first three quarters for a 62-37 lead headed into the last 10 minutes.
Tayla Sayer was the Trappers’ top scorer with 15 points, Petties and Julynne da Silva Sa each added 10, with Marlow and Gomes scoring nine apiece. Thirteen players scored for Northwest.
“It was a really good three quarters,” Beal said, who was able to again praise the defense and its impact on the offense.
“It’s amazing how that helps us, for sure,” she said.