NWC splits two heading into break

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Trapper's 10-game winning streak broken by NIC

The Northwest College men’s basketball team dropped a heartbreaker against North Idaho College by a point last Thursday, but rebounded Saturday against the Big Horn Basin All-Stars to head into Christmas break on a winning note.

“I told the guys the other night that it’s been a long time since we had that feeling (of losing a game),” said NWC head coach Brian Erickson. “We have four losses right now, and what we learned from those games is what makes us better. The NIC game was a great game to learn something from. We’ll be in those situations again, and we need to learn to finish those out.”

“But it’s good to go into break on a positive note with a win against the All-Stars,” Erickson said.

NIC 87, NWC 86

The Trappers (11-4) hosted the NIC Cardinals (8-1) Thursday, Dec. 15, riding the momentum of a 10-game winning streak after starting the season 0-3.

The Cardinals got off to a fast start, at one point leading the Trappers by 12 in the first half. NWC battled back and trailed by eight points going into halftime, 45-37. As a team, the Trappers shot 32 percent from the floor in the first half, compared to 42 percent for the Cardinals.

“NIC played a lot of zone, and we didn’t shoot it very well in the first half,” Erickson said. “We have been shooting well in those games we were winning, but the games we’ve lost we haven’t been hitting those outside shots.”

The Trappers found their rhythm in the second half, outscoring the Cardinals 49-42. The game became a back-and-forth affair with seven lead changes and a feeling from both sides that the last team to touch the ball would win.

“Once we started attacking, getting the ball inside, we were a really good team,” Erickson said. “Defensively, we struggled a bit stopping them. ... NIC battled, and it just didn’t go our way.”

Five NWC players scored in double-digits, led by sophomore Sukhjot Bains with 22 points, including five 3-pointers. Red-shirt sophomore Skyler Zabriskie finished with 14 points, followed by 12 points each by sophomores Jonathan Koud and Levi Londole; Londole also led the Trappers in rebounds with 11. Freshman Devonte Morgan rounded out the top five with 10 points.

NIC sophomore Sam Dowd led all scorers with 24 points, including the game-winner with four seconds to play.

“They have a good point guard, Sam Dowd, and we struggled stopping him,” Erickson said.

Zaequa Satterthwaite added a double-double for the Cardinals with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

For the game, NWC out-rebounded NIC 38-37. The Cardinals finished at 57 percent shooting from the floor, while the Trappers improved their shooting from the first half to finish at 41 percent.

NWC 97, Big Horn Basin All-Stars 54

The NWC men shook off the tough loss against NIC, walloping the Big Horn Basin All-Stars 97-54 Saturday in a game that started out closer than the final score would indicate.

“Coming out against all-star teams, you tend to overlook them a little bit,” coach Erickson said. “But those guys are good players and they played hard.”

The All-Stars stayed with the Trappers for much of the first half, even building a four-point lead before NWC took the lead for good. Brandon Hinze — a Cody High School alum — had the touch from beyond the arc for the All-Stars, knocking down five 3-pointers and finishing as the game’s leading scorer with 23 points. The Trappers finally settled into a groove late in the first half however, and took a  47-32 lead into halftime.

“We started off a little slow,” said NWC sophomore Sukhjot Bains. “But coach got on us in the huddle. He got pretty mad, so we started to pick it up. We gave up a few too many points in the first half. Our main focus going into the second half was to keep them under 55 points.”

The Trappers did just that, tightening their defense and continuing to pull away offensively to hold a game but out-matched All-Stars team to 54 points. Erickson was able to empty his bench, and every player scored.

“In the second half, we moved the ball really well,” Bains said. “We started setting up better shots and that really helped us.”

Erickson said fatigue also became a factor as the All-Stars began to tire a bit in the second half.

“You could start seeing the difference in conditioning,” he said. “They just started getting tired, it happens. It was good to see those guys, they’re all Powell and Cody guys and it was fun to see them come play.”

Freshman Devonte Morgan led the scoring charge for NWC, netting 16 points. Sophomore Skyler Zabriskie added 12 points, with freshmen Carter Baxter and Luc Lombardy pitching in with nine points apiece. Bains led the Trappers with 11 rebounds while scoring eight.

For the All-Stars, Nik Schmidt joined Hinze in double-digits, adding 12 points.

With the college now on Christmas break, the Trappers are off until Jan. 7, when they welcome Dawson Community College to the Cabre Gym. Erickson said he hopes his players get a little work in over break amidst all the festivities.

“We have a big break, then come back Jan. 4,” he said. “We’ll get three days of practice, and then we’re playing Dawson at home.”

After that, the Trappers travel to Casper College on Jan. 11 for their first league game.

“It’s not a lot of time to come back and do a ton of things, but you just hope they still have a grasp on everything they’ve worked on up until this point,” Erickson said.

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