Squaring off against traditional Region IX South power Western Nebraska, the Trappers built a 39-32 halftime lead, holding Western to less than 40 percent shooting in the first half. Northwest had an opportunity to press the lead to a greater margin, but connected on just one of seven attempts from 3-point range. The Trappers were a sizzling 14-for-21 from inside the arc in the first half.
That pace slowed after the intermission while Western Nebraska started to find the range, particularly from long distance. The Cougars knocked down half of their 3-point attempts after the break and held Northwest to barely 35 percent shooting.
Even so, Western could not overcome a pair of costly technical fouls. Quante Cooley was whistled for an infraction with nine minutes remaining in the contest. Just over two minutes later, teammate Cody Johnson also received a T to help the Trappers maintain control.
Northwest also was the beneficiary of 40 trips to the free-throw line in the second half. Many of those attempts came late in the proceedings as Western attempted to manufacture a late-game push at Northwest’s lead.
Jeffrey Solarin had a stellar night for the Trappers, finishing with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Solarin was one of four Trappers to reach double figures as Guilherme Carabagiale brought 16 points off the Northwest bench, while starters Jonothan Newsom and Junior Coleman were good for 10 and 12 points, respectively.
Pietro de Andrade was held down in the scoring column, but he did come up with 10 rebounds to join Solarin in double figures in that category. As a team, the Trappers held a 51-34 edge on the glass that played a significant role in the team’s winning effort. That effort was particularly seen on the offensive glass, where the Trappers turned loose balls into a nearly 50/50 proposition with the Cougars.
Western Nebraska’s Willie Mangum had 34 points in the loss.
Northwest College opened the tournament by steamrolling Aaniiih Nokoda by a 95-29 margin. The Trappers raced to a 46-12 halftime lead and were never seriously threatened in the contest, which saw the entire Northwest College bench receiving serious minutes.
Junior Coleman was one of four Trappers to finish in double figures as he logged 14 points in as many minutes of floor time. Neil Hopkins added 12 points, while Hyrum Checketts and Jeffrey Solarin each dropped down nine points.
Twelve different players contributed points to the Trappers’ cause in the contest.
As a team, the Trappers shot better than 49 percent from the floor in the game. Aaniiih Nokoda struggled for 18.6 percent shooting against the Trappers’ defense.
Other stats were equally lopsided. Northwest was guilty of a season-low 11 turnovers, compared to 27 for the visitors. The Trappers owned the glass, hauling down 55 rebounds to Aaniiih Nokoda’s 19.
Jeffrey Solarin led the way with nine boards for the Trappers. Younger brother Gabe Solarin produced four steals and four assists, both team bests.
The Trapper men now enter their holiday recess. The team sits at 12-5 overall, but just 1-2 in Region IX North play. The Trappers return to the hardwood on Jan. 5 for a Region IX North home game against Little Big Horn.