Northwest jumped on top of Sheridan early. Sheridan was able to climb back to within reach shortly after the midpoint of the first half. Another Trapper run over the closing minutes of the first half sent NWC into the intermission with a 53-32 advantage.
“Sheridan’s a very good shooting team, so to be able to hold them to 34 percent for the night really speaks to the job the girls were doing on defense,” said Beal. “We wanted to make it an uptempo game because we thought our depth would give us an edge.”
The Trappers continued their hot play to open the second half, sending the team’s lead soaring as high as 30 points. Sheridan eventually pieced together a run to narrow the gap.
“Sheridan’s a good team and we knew they weren’t going to roll over for us,” Beal said of her team’s mindset entering the second half. “We probbly could have done a better job of working the clock and getting good shots when we had the big lead, but we haven’t worked on that situation as much.”
Five Trapper players scored in double figures as Northwest turned the game into a rout early. Megan Smith led the way with 18 points. Mckenzie Garrett added 16 points. Valerie Lesu finished with 14 points and a team-best five steals. Mariah Duran and Taylor Ryan each chipped in with 11 points apiece.
Ryan was also responsible for a team-best nine rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double in the contest.
“Val did a nice job of attacking the basket and Taylor came in and did a great job of rebounding the ball for us,” Beal said.
As a team, the Trappers shot 47 percent from the floor, including a 7-for-16 performance from behind the arc. Northwest also forced Sheridan into 28 turnovers, half of which came as the direct result of Northwest steals.
Northwest also limited Sheridan to 34.4 percent shooting from the floor in the contest.
In some ways, the game mirrored the team’s 78-62 weekend win over Eastern Wyoming. The Trappers were able to get out to a fast start in that game as well, holding Region IX’s leading scorer to just five points in the first half as the team opened a 15-point lead.
“We knew going in that it would come down to shooting percentages,” Beal said of the game with Eastern. “They’re a guard-oriented team and they like to shoot the 3’s. We held them to 32 percent from the floor and did a good job grabbing rebounds to keep them from second chance shots.”
Smith again led the way with 18 points. Duran and Megan Goodman added 14 and 13 points respectively.
The lone blemish on the Trappers’ record from the previous week came in a sub-region contest against Miles. The team endured its second consecutive one-point loss with a 73-72 overtime defeat.
“We didn’t play particularly well early, but we were still in the game,” Beal said. “Then in the second half we got down big before scrambling and getting back in the game. We just didn’t play a complete 40 minutes.”
Garrett’s 17 led the way for Northwest. Smith added 15 as she continues to rank among Region IX’s top scorers.
The Trappers return to action Friday night with a home sub-region contest against Dawson. The Trappers faced Dawson early this season in tournament play at Gillette, scoring a decisive victory. Beal is expecting a tougher challenge this time around.
“The difference in our sub-region from top to bottom is not much,” said Beal. “You have to go in and play your A game every night. It won’t be a 35-point game like it was before. We definitely need to come out and be ready to play again. It’s a sub-region game, so we need to give it our best.”
NWC 87, Sheridan 67
Butler 1, Duran 11, Garrett 16, Goodman 7, Lesu 14, Otineru 2, Ryan 11, Santos 7, Smith 18.
NWC 78, E. Wyoming 62
Butler 2, de Souza 6, Duran 14, Fisher 4, Garrett 7, Goodman 13, Lesu 4, Otineru 4, Ryan 4, Santos 2, Smith 18.
Miles 73, NWC 72
Butler 3, de Souza 2, Fisher 2, Garrett 17, Goodman 7, Lesu 6, Otineru 9, Ryan 4, Santos 7, Smith 15.