NWC falls to Otero in quarterfinals

Posted 4/13/21

Just 53 seconds into Northwest College’s quarterfinal game against top seed Otero Junior College, the Trappers found themselves in a hole. 

The Rattlers, who hosted Region IX’s …

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NWC falls to Otero in quarterfinals

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Just 53 seconds into Northwest College’s quarterfinal game against top seed Otero Junior College, the Trappers found themselves in a hole. 

The Rattlers, who hosted Region IX’s tournament, scored three buckets to take a 7-0 lead in the first minute. The quick start set the tone for Otero’s 66-52 win, which ended NWC’s season. 

“They were proficient in scoring,” head coach Camden Levett said of Otero. “They did a great job in transition and forced a lot of turnovers.”

Though OJC never surrendered its lead, the Trappers didn’t give up their fight. 

Shortly after the Rattlers took the early advantage, Samiyah Worrell scored five points to close the gap to two. Worrell, NWC’s leading scorer, was the only Trapper to score in double digits, notching 20 points. 

“She was ready to go,” Levett said. “They did the scouting on her, but she stepped up and played really well.”

Otero built on its lead in the middle stages of the game, stemming from poor shooting on NWC’s end and stingy zone defense from the Rattlers. As a team, NWC shot 31.1% from the field and below 30% from three.

Heading into the fourth quarter, OJC led 58-37. 

“We missed easy ones on the inside,” Levett said. “They packed it on us and did a really good job with the zone.”

NWC played its best basketball in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Rattlers 15-8. Levett cited strong minutes from Tatiana Coleman and Celina Tress off the bench in the team’s final possessions. Levett’s message to the team entering the period was to play with the same energy despite the 21-point margin. 

While the Trappers still fell by 14, they played with 100% effort until the final buzzer.

“We played hard,” Levett said. “There’s nothing to hang our heads on.”

Northwest finished the 2021 season 10-12 overall and will graduate seven sophomores from the program: Worrell, Raquel Turner, Riley Aiono, Hidaya Thornton, Shelby Tarter, Sydney Prather and Kierra Cutright.

In a season delayed a couple months due to COVID-19, plus a handful of injuries, Levett is pleased with his team’s grit from game one to game 22 of this unconventional year.

“We stuck together and continued to get better as the season went on,” he said. “Making it to the tournament was our goal, and we need to make that the standard.”

Three strong contributors off the bench from the 2021 team will come back next year — Tatiana Coleman, Hannah Harris and Celina Tress. That trio averaged 8.7 points per game. 

The team will also bring back Semira Mahmoud, who redshirted this season. Northwest also plans to add volleyball player Shante Falslev to the roster; Falslev was unable to play basketball this year because of the sports’ conflicting schedules amid the pandemic.

Between the athletes already on campus and the ones Levett will recruit in the next couple months, the coach looks forward to seeing his program continue to develop.

“We’re going to miss our sophomores, but it’s time to start recruiting,” Levett said. “We have three returning players who played big minutes. We’re headed in the right direction.”

     

Otero 66, Northwest 52

Points — Samiyah Worrell 20, Tatiana Coleman 8, Kierra Cutright 7, Raquel Turner 5, Celina Tress 4, Shelby Tarter 4, Sydney Prather 2, Riley Aiono 2;

Rebounds — Cutright 12, Prather 7, Coleman 6, Worrell 4, Tarter 4, Turner 2, Aiono 1, Tress 1, Hannah Harris 1;

Assists — Tarter 4

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