With the victories, Sheridan captured both the men’s and women’s Region IX North sub-region titles.
“Give them credit, when they needed to hit a shot or make a play, they did,” said Trapper men’s coach Andy Ward. “When we needed to get a stop or a big play, we weren’t able to.”
More often than not, the Generals’ key shots came from behind the 3-point arc. Sheridan finished 10-for-14 from long range, including a 6-for-7 display from Omar McDade, who finished with 21 points to lead all scorers. Many of those shots came during pivotal possessions in the second half.
The Generals played from ahead throughout the final 20 minutes. An 8-2 run to close out a rugged first half gave Sheridan a 36-31 lead at intermission. McDade connected on a set play to begin the second half and stretch the gap to eight points.
And so went the second half — Sheridan threatened double-digit leads on multiple occasions, only to watch as Northwest fought the gap to within two or three points. Every time, Sheridan was able to come through with a bucket to restore a two-possession gap.
The Trappers’ best chance to regain equality came at 57-54, when Corey Clement’s shot from behind the arc went about half-way down before rattling out for Northwest. Sheridan scored the next five points to create an eight-point gap.
Northwest had an opportunity to pull within one point in the final 30 seconds, but missed on a pair of point-blank chances from the lane. Sheridan added a couple free throws late.
“When we had our chances, we weren’t able to convert,” Ward said of the game’s closing minutes. “Defensively, they really took us out of what we wanted to do. We struggled all night to establish ourselves on offense.”
William Walker and Diego Pasos each finished with 14 points for Northwest. Shane Reader added 13 points and Tevin Rumley ended the night with 10 points for the Trappers.
The Trappers also suffered an injury in the contest. Sophomore Amen Osayande dislocated a shoulder just seven minutes into the contest. He made a brief return in the second half before returning to the bench for the remainder of the night.
“He came back out and we gave him a look,” Ward said. “Ultimately, we weren’t comfortable with it and decided to keep him out. With the tournament just around the corner, we’ll need him.”
The Trapper men slide to 15-12 overall. The team has three more games this week, hosting Central Wyoming on Thursday night, Laramie County on Friday and Eastern Wyoming on Saturday.
NWC women edged as well
While not as much was riding on the line for the Trapper women, head coach Janis Beal told a similar tale. Her Northwest College women’s team was outplayed over the final four minutes to suffer a seven-point loss.
“We didn’t take good enough care of the basketball and we had some little things that we didn’t pay attention to,” Beal said. “I think when you look at the game though, having 22 turnovers to their 14 really made the difference.”
The Trappers were playing catch-up throughout the first half after an 11-0 run turned an early 5-2 Northwest lead into an eight-point deficit. Sheridan still led by five, 45-40, heading into the locker room at halftime.
That abruptly changed to begin the second half. The Trapper women scored 12 of the first 14 points following the midgame break to grab a five point lead of their own. The team had multiple opportunities to improve on that spread, but went more than four minutes without adding a point to their side of the scoreboard.
As a result, the Generals were able to rally and regain the lead just before the 10-minute mark. The two teams exchanged slim scoreboard advantages, entering the final four minutes of play knotted at 72. Sheridan outscored the Trappers 12-5 over those final four minutes.
Megan Smith finished with 23 points to lead the Trappers. Megan Goodman added 13 points while Mariah Duran and Mckenzie Garrett each finished with 11 points.
The loss relegates the Trappers to third-place in the final North sub-region standings. Now 14-14 on the season, the Trappers will close out their regular season with home dates against Central Wyoming on Thursday night and Eastern Wyoming on Saturday. Thursday’s game tips off at 5:30 p.m. while Saturday’s will tip at 3:30 p.m.