Late run lifts NWC

Posted 1/21/10

“That's where it starts for this team,” head coach Andy Ward said of the team's efforts on defense. “I feel like this team is at its best when it is out there getting steals and getting the ball in transition. Those defensive …

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Late run lifts NWC


{gallery}01_21_10/trappersvsheridan{/gallery}Northwest College sophomore Casper Hesseldal draws midair contact during a pivotal Region IX North showdown against Sheridan College on Tuesday night. Northwest improved to 16-3 with a 14-point victory. Tribune photo by John Wetzel Trappers stagger Sheridan with 10-0 surge After watching a nine-point lead melt away to just three against Sheridan College on Tuesday night, the Northwest College Trapper men's basketball team found a way to respond. Over a series of three defensive possessions, the Trappers forced three turnovers — two on steals that led directly to fast break buckets. The display was part of a 10-0 run in the waning minutes of an 81-67 Trapper win.

“That's where it starts for this team,” head coach Andy Ward said of the team's efforts on defense. “I feel like this team is at its best when it is out there getting steals and getting the ball in transition. Those defensive possesssions late in the game were the difference tonight.”

Freshman Demetrice Jacobs began the decisive run with a bucket at the 3:15 mark, lifting NWC to a 68-63 lead. The Trappers came up with a steal and layup on Sheridan's next possession. Another turnover by the Generals led to a pair of Trapper free throws and the ball had barely crossed the midcourt on Sheridan's next possession before it once again was being sprinted down the floor for a Northwest College bucket.

A missed Sheridan shot and bucket by Trapper sophomore Casper Hesseldal and suddenly the scoreboard showed NWC on top 76-63 with 1:55 to play. Sheridan got no closer than nine points the remainder of the way.

The final margin of victory hides what, in fact, was a hotly-contested battle for the majority of the night. Northwest College led for much of the game, but rarely enjoyed more than a four-point lead.

After trailing for much of the first half, Sheridan made a bid to take control of the game. Behind 24-20 with just under eight minutes left in the half, the visiting Generals outscored Northwest by a 14-5 margin over the remainder of the half to carry a 34-29 lead into the locker room.

“We just got into a stretch there where we didn't move the ball well,” said Ward. “We probably over-dribbled and turned the ball over too much as a result. We gave them the ball in the open floor, and that's where they excel.”

The Trappers wasted little time undoing the damage. Northwest emerged in the second half to score six quick points and reclaim the lead. From there, the teams were never separated by more than five points until fewer than 12 minutes remained on the clock.

The Trappers struck for seven unanswered points to grab a 65-56 lead with less than six minutes to play. Over the next two minutes, the Generals fought back to within three, setting up the late-game stand by the Trappers' defense.

“Coming into the game, I thought there were two things that we needed to do,” said Ward. “We knew they were a good transition team and that's how they score a lot of their points, so we wanted to win the transition game. We also wanted to control their ability to penetrate and drive against us in the half-court game, and I thought, for the most part, we were able to accomplish those things tonight.”

Alfonzo Hubbard finished the night with 27 points to pace Northwest. Jacobs added 18 points and five steals while Hesseldal finished with a double-double after striking for 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The Trappers held a 51-39 edge on the glass. Ricardo Andreotti finished with 14 of those rebounds and also blocked a trio of shots in the contest.

“I really believe that rebounding controls the game,” said Ward. “Ricardo was huge on the glass tonight, especially late in the game he was able to do some nice things. Amen (Osayande) came out and gave us some nice minutes off the bench as well. It was a nice effort by the team.”

The victory improves the Trappers to 16-3 overall this season. The team remains undefeated in sub-region play with a 3-0 record.

“We've got a long way to go (in the sub-region), but defending our home court is a must,” said Ward. “Now we have the chance to do it again on Friday night against Dawson.”