Sub-region title on the line Tuesday

Posted 2/23/10

In the build-up to Tuesday's North sub-region showdown, Northwest College posted a 92-85 win over Gillette on Saturday to improve to 22-5 overall this season. The game raised some warning flags with Ward.

“Defensively, we didn't do enough …

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Sub-region title on the line Tuesday


{gallery}02_23_10/nwcbball{/gallery}Northwest College freshman Demetrice Jacobs absorbs contact while tossing up a shot against Miles Community College on Friday night as the Trappers moved to within one win of an undefeated Region IX North sub-region campaign. Tribune photo by John WetzelNWC men travel to Sheridan for right to host Region IX tourneyNow the talking can begin. For more than a month, Northwest College men's basketball coach Andy Ward has casually deflected discussion of a possible sub-region title with the mantra “one game at a time.” Now the Trappers are down to just one game, and Tuesday night is the time.“This sets the table,” Ward said, moments afterdirecting the Trappers to an 89-73 victory over Miles Community College on Friday night. “We'll have to go to Sheridan and play our best game, but it's all right there for us.”

In the build-up to Tuesday's North sub-region showdown, Northwest College posted a 92-85 win over Gillette on Saturday to improve to 22-5 overall this season. The game raised some warning flags with Ward.

“Defensively, we didn't do enough to stop their dribble penetration,” said Ward. “They're a very similar team to Sheridan in terms of their athleticism. We'll have to do a better job of defending.”

The Trappers shook off a sluggish start on Saturday by draining three consecutive 3-point buckets to grab the lead.

The long-range accuracy continued throughout the middle of the first half as Northwest College opened a double-digit lead on the strength of 7-for-14 shooting from behind the arc.

All of those shots were needed. A late barrage of transition buckets enabled Gillette to pull within 42-38 at halftime.

“They're an athletic team,” Ward said of Gillette. “If you lose focus, they can get down the floor and score in a hurry.”

The Trappers can score in a hurry as well. The team needed just three minutes at the opening of the second half to stretch their four-point halftime lead out to 14 points. The team also appeared to catch a further break when Gillette starter Brean Tennant was whistled for both a foul and a technical, the latter forcing him from the game as his fifth foul of the night at the 16:51 mark.

Northwest was never able to add to its lead, however. The Trappers' lead bounced between 10 and 14 points for much of the second half until Gillette mounted a late threat, trimming the lead to three points on one occasion.

Northwest was able to do enough at the foul line, hitting 34 of 46 opportunities, and came up with some timely turnovers down the stretch for a seven-point win.

Alfonzo Hubbard scored 18 of his game-high 29 points in the second half to pace the NWC attack. Demetrice Jacobs continued his blistering play of late with 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Mitch Ackelson and Casper Hesseldal narrowly missed double figures with nine points each.

On Friday, the Trappers opened a double-digit lead in the first half to take control in their sub-region contest against Miles. At one stage, Northwest went 13 defensive possessions without allowing a point to the visiting Pioneers.

Jacobs and Hubbard each tossed down 25 points to lead the way for Northwest. Hesseldal and Ricardo Andreotti each added 11 points as the Trappers shot 50 percent from the floor in the contest.

Now comes the big one. The Trappers travel to Sheridan on Tuesday night to face a Generals team that required them to produce a late 10-0 run in order to secure a 14-point victory in Cabre Gym. At stake is both a sub-region title and the opportunity to serve as host for the Region IX men's basketball tournament.

“Defensively, we'll have to play better than we did (Saturday),” Ward said of the contest. “We can't let them hit 55 percent from the floor on us the way Gillette did. They're a very good team.”

Although the game will be taking place on the road, the Trappers do carry one advantage heading to Sheridan. In the race for Region IX tournament host honors, the team carries the equivalent of a 13-point head start on the scoreboard.

“The first tiebreak is point differential, so Sheridan would have to win by 14 or more,” Ward said of the sub-region's tiebreak scenario. In the event the Generals win by exactly 14 points, Sheridan would earn the right to host the Region IX event by virtue of a higher point differential in games played against all North sub-region teams.