NWC topples Williston, Northeastern
The Northwest College Trapper men’s basketball team improved to 5-2 this season with an 80-67 victory over Williston State on Friday night, followed by a 70-61 victory over Northeastern on Saturday. Both victories came as part of the First Bank of Wyoming Shootout.
“It was a very good weekend for us,” said Trapper men’s coach Brian Erickson. “It was nice to get out on our home floor and play after starting the season on the road.”
Jeffrey Solarin finished with a double-double in Friday’s game against Williston. The Trapper sophomore had 18 points and 10 boards to lead the team in both categories.
Sophomore Pietro de Andrade narrowly missed matching that feat, ending his night with 17 points and nine rebounds. Junior Coleman had 12 points and dished out five assists.
One week after being significantly out-rebounded by the Tetons in North Dakota, the Trappers reversed tables by owning a 35-23 margin on the boards, including out-rebounding Williston 18-16 on the offensive glass. The Trappers also limited Williston State to just 12 free throws in the game after sending the Tetons to the line more than 30 times the previous weekend.
The Trappers constructed a lead early and steadily built upon it throughout the first half, leading 43-31 at halftime. Northwest connected on 55.6 percent of its shots in the second half to prevent any significant challenge to their advantage. Much of the game’s final 20 minutes was played with the Trappers holding an advantage of 7-12 points.
Williston State entered the game receiving votes in the latest round of top 25 balloting from the NJCAA.
“They’re a good team, they deserved to be up there,” said Erickson.
Coming off Friday’s big win, the Trappers had to re-focus and set aside emotions to try and take care of business against Region IX South’s Northeastern. Early on, it appeared the Trappers might be flat as the team went roughly five minutes in the first half without scoring. During that span, the Trappers saw a 15-11 lead evaporate and transform into a 22-15 deficit.
Northwest shook off the doldrums, closing the half on a 19-9 rush to carry a 34-31 lead into intermission.
“It all started with the guys on the bench,” said Erickson. “We had some guys come in and play hard and give us minutes from off the bench and that really set the tone emotionally for us both nights.”
The bench kicked things in again in the second half. After the Trappers and Northeastern exchanged small leads throughout the first 10 minutes of second-half play, Northwest caught fire, stretching their advantage and preventing Northeastern from mounting a challenge over the waning minutes.
As they had done the previous night, Northwest shot the lights out in the second half, connecting on 52 percent of its shots.
Solarin led the way with 15 points. Coleman and de Andrade added 12 points apiece, with de Andrade also turning in nine rebounds.
Guiherme Carabagiale narrowly missed double figures, ending the night with nine points.
“We turned the ball over a little too much, but overall I thought we played well against a couple of good teams,” said Erickson.
The Trappers look to extend their streak of victories with two games at the Lions Club Tournament in Sheridan this weekend.
Northwest 80, Williston St. 67
Carabagiale 7, J. Solarin 18, Beehler 6, Coleman 12, de Andrade 17, Gordon 5, Uzonwanne 4, Newsom 9, Rech 2.
Northwest 70, Northeastern 61
Carabagiale 9, J. Solarin 15, Beehler 3, Coleman 12, de Andrade 12, Gordon 3, G. Solarin 6, Uzonwanne 1, Newsom 7, Rech 2.