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NWC wins over Western Wyoming

Trappers finish 15-15, draw Otero to open Region IX tournament

Northwest College’s sophomores went out in style, defeating Western Wyoming 90-80 in overtime in their final home contest of the 2012-2013 season. The team fell 65-52 at Gillette in its final regular-season contest to finish 8-8 overall in Region IX North play and 15-15 in the regular season.

The Trappers travel to Scottsbluff, Neb., for the Region IX tournament. They will open against Otero (16-10 overall, 5-7 Region IX South) in a 1 p.m. contest on Monday.

“The girls did a great job of executing the game plan and doing what we wanted on defense,” said Northwest College head coach Janis Beal. “They played an outstanding game.”

Western Wyoming had scored a 32-point win over the Trappers when the two schools met down in Rock Springs earlier in the year.

It quickly became apparent that there would be no such blowout in the rematch. Despite watching starters Savannah Minder and Leslie Thronburg sit for extended stretches of the first half due to foul trouble, Northwest College was able to manufacture a lead of as many as 11 points in the first half and held a 40-33 lead at intermission.

The Trappers were up by as many as eight in the second half before Western was able to close the distance. The teams played the final 11 minutes of regulation never separated by more than three points on the scoreboard as the Trappers survived a last-second shot attempt by Western to send the game into overtime.

Once in the extra period, hometown product Leslie Thronburg took over for Northwest College. Thronburg scored the first six points of the overtime for Northwest College and added a key steal at the defensive end of the floor to help the Trappers leap from the gate in overtime. Western Wyoming was able to score just three points in the extra five minutes as the Trappers pulled away down the stretch.

Kennedy Allen finished with a game-high 23 points for Northwest in the contest. Andressa Augusto added 21 while Thronburg struck for 18 points, 14 of which came in the second half and overtime.

“Leslie had a great second half,” said Beal. “She really stepped it up down the stretch and especially that first minute and a half of overtime. She gave us a big lift.”

Minder also reached double figures with 12 points.

Leslie Blackburn came down with a team-best eight rebounds. Augusto led the way with seven assists.

The Trappers didn’t fare as well on Saturday, falling on the road at Gillette to close out the regular season. Allen had 19 points and Minder 13 as the Trappers struggled against a Gillette team that took 17 more shots from the floor against them.

“I felt like the girls played hard,” said Beal. “We had a few things we just didn’t finish. We gave up 18 offensive rebounds and a lot of those came after a good defensive possession where we just didn’t finish things with a good block out. A lot of times those turned into a quick bucket and an and-one opportunity for Gillette, so that was really disappointing.”

The Trappers head to Scottsbluff, Neb., this weekend for the Region IX tournament. Northwest carries the No. 5 seed into that event and will face the Rattlers of Otero in the opening round. The game, Beal explains, presents a bit of a challenge for the Trappers to prepare for.

Tipoff in the opening-round tournament game is 1 p.m., Monday. The winner of the Northwest-Otero game will advance on the bracket to face the winner of the Sheridan-Dawson opening round contest.

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