Trapper men salvage weekend split

Battle in high scoring contests

Posted 2/15/24

High scoring contests led to some tight scorelines for the Northwest College men’s basketball team on its southwest road trip over the weekend. The Trappers fell 103-96 to Laramie County …

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Trapper men salvage weekend split

Battle in high scoring contests


High scoring contests led to some tight scorelines for the Northwest College men’s basketball team on its southwest road trip over the weekend. The Trappers fell 103-96 to Laramie County Community College on Friday before rebounding with a 95-90 win over Eastern Wyoming College on Saturday.



The Trappers (12-14 overall, 3-5 Region IX North) were hoping to salvage a season split with the Golden Eagles (14-12 overall, 3-5 Region IX North) after a disappointing second half the first time the teams played in Powell with Northwest losing 92-75.

In the first four minutes neither team found an offensive groove, with LCCC holding a slight 6-4 lead.

Over the next four minutes the two teams exchanged the lead back and forth, as neither team could create separation.

Northwest captured the lead  to create separation over the next several minutes, leading 26-17 with just under nine minutes left in the half.

The Golden Eagles reclaimed the lead at 31-30 after an 8-0 run with just under four minutes left in the half.

Both teams exchanged baskets the rest of the way before LCCC went into the half up 38-35.

Transition scoring helped the Golden Eagles created separation early in the second half, making it 52-42 just under five minutes in.

Northwest battled to within six points but LCCC continued to take advantage of Northwest turnovers and strong dribble penetration to build the lead back out to double-digits.

“We had too many turnovers. We had too many that were like a pick-six,” coach Andy Ward said. “We got some good looks that we missed, but I think we started pressing a little bit trying to do too much early and took some ill-advised shots.”

The Golden Eagles had the lead out to as many as 15, before the Trappers battled back to make it a seven point game with five minutes left.

LCCC was able to hold off the Northwest charge, not allowing the visitors any closer as the Golden Eagles finished with the 103-96 victory.

Despite a strong shooting night at the line the Trappers fell behind at the charity stripe, shooting 17-21 (81%) compared to 30-41 (73.2%) for the Golden Eagles.

Colin Hayes led with 20, just ahead of Tessi Thong with 18.

Kolter Merritt had a 16 point, 10 rebound double-double while also leading with four steals. Isaiah Halverson was the final Trapper in double digits with 14.



After the loss Friday the Trappers were looking for a season sweep of their own on Saturday, heading to Torrington to take on the Lancers (4-20 overall, 1-7 Region IX North).

The teams scored early, tied at 15 five minutes into the game.

Neither team created separation over the next five minutes, as the two teams continued to score efficiently and were tied at 27 midway through.

Northwest finally built an advantage, making it 40-33 with five minutes left as the Trappers stopped the Lancers while continuing their strong scoring.

That allowed Northwest to hold a brief double-digit lead, but the halftime score stood at 51-43 for the Trappers.

“We took better care of the ball which was important,” Ward said.

Eastern cut into the lead immediately after the break, cutting it down to two points before the Trappers were able to regain their footing.

Northwest absorbed the early scoring from Eastern, rebuilding the lead to six points over the next four minutes.

Eastern did not go away, once again cutting the lead down to a single possession at 69-67 with 10 minutes left in the game.

The push from the Lancers briefly gave them the lead with 7:30 minutes left, as the two teams exchanged the advantage late.

Eastern led by three, before a quick 7-0 run by the Trappers gave them the lead for good.

Northwest built the lead to 10 up 91-81 with under a minute left, but three 3-pointers scared the Trappers late as the Lancers made it a 93-90 game before two Will Hemme free throws sealed the game at 95-90.

“I was proud of how the guys responded and came out with a win,” Ward said. “None of them are easy, especially on the road. I thought they responded well, I wish we would have played the end of the game better than we did.”

Hayes led with 26 points, Hemme had 20, Milton Rodriguez Santana had 13 and Merritt had 10.

Drew Larson led with seven rebounds in the contest.

Northwest was outshot from the field and from 3-point range but finished 21-23 (91.3%) at the line compared to 15-18 (83.3%) for Eastern.



Heading into the final stretch of the season the Trappers will no longer have any back-to-back contests this season, starting this weekend.

That will be a 4 p.m. game at Central Wyoming (14-12 overall, 5-3 Region IX North) on Saturday, a team the Trappers defeated 106-79 on Jan. 30 at home.

“They’re a really good shooting team. They’re pretty athletic and have some dynamic scorers,” Ward said. “We did a good job on them here for the most part … We’ve gotta take care of the ball and rebound the ball. I’d like to see our offensive execution better and then defensively we need to be more stingy than we’ve been.”

Northwest will then host Casper College (17-8 overall, 5-2 Region IX North) at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, a team the Trappers lost 89-74 to in Casper on Jan. 20.



Total rebounds then offensive rebounds in ()

Points — Colin Hayes 20, Tessi Thong 18, Kolter Merritt 16, Isaiah Halverson 14, Will Hemme 9, Drew Larson 9, Milton Rodriguez Santana 5, Preston Condie 5

Rebounds — Kolter Merritt 10 (2), Will Hemme 7, Isaiah Halverson 5, Preston Condie 4 (3), Tessi Thong 3 (1), Drew Larson 2, Milton Rodriguez Santana 1 (1), Krue Stubbs 1 (1)

Assists — Kolter Merritt 3, Will Hemme 2, Colin Hayes 1, Drew Larson 1, Isaiah Halverson 1

Steals — Kolter Merritt 4, Milton Rodriguez Santana 1, Preston Condie 1, Colin Hayes 1

Blocks — Kolter Merritt 1, Colin Hayes 1



Points — Colin Hayes 26, Will Hemme 20, Milton Rodriguez Santana 13, Kolter Merritt 10, Isaiah Halverson 9, Tessi Thong 8, Drew Larson 5, Preston Condie 4

Rebounds — Drew Larson 7 (2), Kolter Merritt 6 (2), Tessi Thongs 5 (1), Will Hemme 5, Colin Hayes 4 (3), Milton Rodriguez Santana 2 (1), Isaiah Halverson 2, Preston Condie 1 (1), Krue Stubbs 1

Assists — Colin Hayes 4, Will Hemme 4, Tessi Thong 2, Milton Rodriguez Santana 1, Drew Larson 1, Preston Condie 1

Steals — Milton Rodriguez Santana 2, Will Hemme 2, Colin Hayes 1

Blocks — Kolter Merritt 1, Colin Hayes 1