The Trappers have now won their last four games.
Solarin, a sophomore from Aurora, Colo., knocked down 29 points and hauled in 20 rebounds, as Northwest posted a 76-68 home victory over Casper last Wednesday. Northwest led virtually the entire game, never trailed by more than a basket, but could never push the lead to more than 11 points.
“We had two or three opportunities right before halftime where we were ahead by 10 and didn’t take good shots,” said Brian Erickson, noting his team’s best success came in attacking the interior of the T-Birds’ defense. “In the second half, we didn’t settle for outside shots and ran through the offense better.”
The result was 68.2 percent shooting from the floor by the Trappers over the game’s final 20 minutes.
Junior Coleman aided the cause, finishing with 17 points, many of them coming after halftime. Coleman also dished out a game-high five assists. Jonothan Newsom added 11 points to give the Trappers three players in double figures.
Northwest held a 38-31 advantage of the rebounding glass.
On Saturday, the Trappers journeyed to Miles City, Mont., to take on Miles Community College. The team came home with a 79-68 victory.
“Going into that game, we were trying to limit how many 3-point shots they took, because they shoot a lot of them,” said Erickson. “We wanted to try and keep them under 18 for the game, and we did a good job of covering their shooters in the first half and holding them to eight.”
The Trappers held a 16-point lead at intermission. The team quickly pushed that gap out to 25 points in the first eight minutes of the second half.
“We did a good job the first eight minutes of the second half and really took the game over,” said Erickson. “But then we relaxed a little and I think we figured the game was over.”
The result — Miles Community College hit its next seven 3-point shot attempts and suddenly it was game-on for the Trappers.
“They were back within seven points with about two minutes to play, but we were able to hit some free throws,” said Erickson. “It never should have been that close. We didn’t do as good a job getting out on shooters and they did a nice job of hitting the shots we gave them. Miles is a tough place to play. It’s nice to get out of there with a win.”
Solarin finished with 21 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Trappers again. The double-double marked the sophomore’s fourth in his last six games. As Erickson noted, there’s been nothing subtle about any of them.
“I think the 21 points was actually his lowest scoring night in that span,” said Erickson. “Then you look at his rebounding numbers and they’re at 16, 17, 17 — the 20 he had against Casper. He’s really elevated his game.”
Freshman brother Gabe Solarin added 14 points for the Trappers. Newsom had 10 to once again give the team three in double figures.
The Trappers will look for win No. 20 on the season this Wednesday when the school hosts Western Wyoming in its final home game of the season. Northwest wraps up the year with a road game at Gillette on Saturday.