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December 02, 2008 3:25 am

Trappers' winning streak reaches four games

Written by Tribune Staff

NWC defeats Rocky Mountain JV, Little Big Horn

Head coach Andy Ward and his Northwest College men's basketball team extended their winning streak to four games with a pair of victories in the annual Lions Club tournament in Sheridan last Friday and Saturday.

The Trappers, who began their winning streak with victories over Williston State College and then-No. 6 Northeastern Junior College in Powell Nov. 21-22, ended last week's tournament with an 85-70 decision over Rocky Mountain's junior varsity squad and a 108-79 victory over Little Big Horn College. The victories helped NWC improve to 5-5 overall.

“It was a good tournament for us,” Ward said. “We were able to play everybody, and as a team, I thought the guys did a nice job. It's nice to be at .500. Getting their has been an uphill battle. But more importantly, we're emphasizing the improvement we've made since the start of the season. We're doing a lot of things better, but we still need to be able to play every game with the intensity we showed during our recent win over Northeastern. That's the kind of intensity we want to see every time we step on the floor.”

NWC 85, Rocky Mountain JV 70

The Trappers posted a 15-point victory over the Battlin' Bears during the tournament's opening day Friday.

Ward said the Trappers struggled some in the first half, but a strong showing during the final 20 minutes helped set the tone for the rest of the event. NWC trailed 32-31 at halftime, but rallied to secure a convincing victory.

“We were able to jump out to a 10-point lead in the first seven minutes or so, but we had some missed shots after getting some good looks at the basket,” Ward said. “We also didn't play as well as we could have on the defensive end.

“In the second half, I thought we played a lot better. We shot the ball really well. We were more aggressive with our shot selection, and we just played with a lot more intensity overall.”

Among the Trappers who enjoyed solid performances against Rocky Mountain were sophomore Julian Olubuyi and freshman Casper Hesseldal. Olubuyi finished with 25 points, and Hesseldal added 17 points. Cody Ball added 13 points to aid the winning effort. For Rocky Mountain's junior varsity, Elvis Old Bull, Jr. was the leading scorer with 25 points.

“Julian was strong for us from start to finish,” Ward said. “Casper played especially well in the second half. That's when he got the majority of his points.”

Ward added that Hesseldal, who sustained an ankle sprain Nov. 15, appears to be reaching 100 percent as far as his health is concerned. When Hesseldal initially sustained the injury, it was feared the freshman had suffered a break and would be lost for much of the season.

“Casper was our leading scorer when he went out,” Ward said. “Fortunately, he's been able to play, and it sure is nice to have him on the court. He's another good scoring option for us. He's still not 100 percent, but he's getting there.”

NWC 108, Little Big Horn 79

On Saturday, the Trappers won a high-scoring contest with Little Big Horn College during day two of the tournament. NWC raced to a 54-32 lead at halftime, and continued its hot shooting in the second half. For the game, NWC shoot 54 percent (42 of 77).

“We knew Little Big Horn was going to put up a lot of shots,” Ward said. “With that in mind, we needed to play solid defense, and we needed to do a good job on the boards. We outrebounded them 42-35, and I thought we did pretty well from the beginning to the end.

“We also wanted to push the ball when we were on offense. I told the guys to run because we knew if we pushed the ball hard, we'd be able to get some easy baskets at the other end.”

The Trappers finished with six players in double digits in scoring, including sophomore Jordan Harris, who led NWC with 16 points. Other leading scorers for NWC were Ball (14 points), Mitchell Ackelson (11), Jay Peters (11), Carnell Calhoun (10) and Keith Kegerreis (10). In the rebounding department, freshman Ricardo Bodra continued to be a major force for the Trappers. He finished with a team-leading 11 rebounds during his 17 minutes of playing time.”

• Up next: The Trappers have two games scheduled this week, and both will be played during the Eastern Wyoming College Tournament in Torrington Friday and Saturday. NWC will face the tournament's host team, EWC, Friday at 7 p.m. On Saturday, the Trappers will face Western Nebraska Community College at 3 p.m.

“Those are two very good teams, so we have to be ready to play,” Ward said.

Following the tournament, the Trappers will have one more game left on the schedule before the start of the Christmas break. That game, against Laramie County Community College, is slated for Friday, Dec. 12, at NWC.

That game currently has a scheduled 7:30 p.m. start time, but Ward said that could change.

“We're looking to play that one earlier in the day Friday or possibly move it to Saturday (Dec. 13),” Ward said.

Any change in the game time or playing date with LCCC will be published in the Powell Tribune as soon as that information becomes available.