Despite locking up the No. 2 seed heading into the postseason the Northwest College men’s basketball team stumbled in their final regular season contests — losing on the road to Central …
Despite locking up the No. 2 seed heading into the postseason the Northwest College men’s basketball team stumbled in their final regular season contests — losing on the road to Central Wyoming 77-68 on Thursday and falling short with a late comeback attempt to Western Wyoming 63-60 on Monday.
CENTRAL WYOMING 77, NORTHWEST 68
Starting out the weekend the Trappers (19-10 overall, 6-3 Region IX North) hit the road on Friday, heading to Riverton to take on Central Wyoming (18-11 overall, 5-5 Region IX North).
Neither team could find the basket early in the game, with Northwest holding a narrow 9-5 lead after the first five minutes.
The Rustlers got their scoring going over the next five minutes, taking the lead up 20-15 midway through the half.
“We weren’t very aggressive against their press and were kind of on our heels the whole night,” coach Andy Ward said.
Both teams battled back and forth, with Central maintaining its lead but unable to break away from Northwest.
The Trappers tied the game at 30 on a Juan Pablo Camargo layup with 2:58 left in the half.
Northwest finished out the half strong, outscoring Central 8-5 and took the lead going into the break after a 3-pointer by Camargo at the buzzer.
Central came out of the locker room strong, picking apart the Northwest zone and taking a 49-40 lead after the first four minutes.
For the contest the Rustlers outrebounded the Trappers 38-31, with 13 of those being offensive.
“To their credit they did a good job of getting on the glass,” Ward said. “We were a day late and a dollar short getting to the rebound and to loose balls. When you are on the road rebounding and taking care of the ball are critical. When you don’t do either of those things very well you have an uphill battle.”
Davion McAdam stopped the bleeding for the Trappers out of the timeout with a pair of free throws, as Northwest started to work its way back into the game.
Central carried on with its strong stretch, building the lead out to double figures up 56-44 seven minutes in.
Northwest clawed back into the game but was never able to come within a single possession over the next six minutes.
The Trappers finally cut the lead down to three points, down 65-62 with 5:30 left after a pair of McAdam free throws.
Over the next three minutes the game remained within a couple possessions, but Northwest was unable to tie or take the lead.
Central extended the lead out to three possessions on a putback layup with 2:05 left, leading 70-63.
Each time Northwest scored Central had an answer — finishing the game with a 77-68 victory.
McAdam led with 23 points and eight rebounds while Yannice Nlend finished with 15 points in the contest.
WESTERN WYOMING 63, NORTHWEST 60
Northwest returned home after the weekend, taking on Western Wyoming (17-13 overall, 4-6 Region IX North) on Monday.
Early on both teams battled trying to gain an edge, but neither could gain an advantage over the first four minutes with the game tied 7-7.
The game remained close until an 8-1 outburst by Western helped gain a 19-12 advantage midway through the half.
Northwest attempted to tie the contest multiple times, but the visitors held off all challenges and maintained the seven point lead up 29-22.
The Trappers were unable to make any more challenges the rest of the half, with Western extending the lead out further to 39-26 going into the break.
“We settled for perimeter shots too often instead of probing the paint through the drive or through a post up,” Ward said.
Early on in the second half the lead continued to hold, as the Mustangs were flying high up by nine just before the midway point of the half.
After falling behind by as many as 13 and by 11 with 3:29 left, the Trappers got back into the game through hustle plays, quickly cutting the lead down to 61-58.
“I thought that despite digging a hole our guys really battled,” Ward said.
Northwest forced a turnover on the next out but was unable to capitalize, fouling and sending Western to the line with 20 seconds left.
A missed free throw allowed the Trappers another opportunity to tie the game, and a basket by Kolter Merritt cut the lead to one down 61-60.
Another turnover with 11 seconds left gave Northwest the ball, and an opportunity to take the lead.
A swing of the ball found Will Hemme wide open in the corner, but his three missed — capping off a night where the Trappers shot a combined 2-20 from beyond the arc.
“We ended up having an opportunity and a good look at the end,” Ward said. “It just didn’t go, that wasn’t the reason we lost … It’s possessions throughout the game that matter. I told the guys at the beginning of the year that there are going to be lots of games at our level and at every level decided by one possession.”
Western made two free throws after a foul and a long heave by Camargo was off handing the Trappers a 63-60 loss.
McAdam led Northwest with 14, followed by Ayala with 13 and Nlend with 12 as the other Trappers in double digit scoring.
Northwest was scheduled to head on the road Tuesday night, but were unable to get past Casper en route to Cheyenne to take on Laramie County Community College (15-11 overall, 5-4 Region IX North) resulting in a game cancellation.
That means the Trappers head into the postseason as the No. 2 seed, earning a bye and not hosting a play-in game this weekend.
“We will focus really hard on the Trappers,” Ward said. “Try and focus on some areas like rebounding and offensive execution, then after the weekend we will know who we match up with from the south.”
Northwest will make the trip to Casper next week, playing in the Region IX tournament starting Thursday against the winner of the play-in game between McCook (11-19 overall, 6-6 Region IX South) and Northeastern (12-15 overall, 5-7 Region IX South).
CENTRAL WYOMING 77, NORTHWEST 68
Total rebounds then offensive rebounds in ()
Points — Davion McAdam 23, Yannice Nlend 15, Juan Pablo Camargo 9, Brash Emery 9, Will Hemme 5, Mack Page 4, David Ayala 3
Rebounds — Davion McAdam 8, Yannice Nlend 5, Juan Pablo Camargo 4 (1), Kolter Merritt 4 (1), Mack Page 3 (1), David Ayala 1, Will Hemme 1, Brash Emery 1 (1)
Assists — Will Hemme 4, Yannice Nlend 3, Mack Page 2, Davion McAdam 1, Brash Emery 1
Steals — Andre Loigu 1, David Ayala 1, Yannice Nlend 1, Brash Emery 1, Mack Page 1
Blocks — Kolter Merritt 2, Juan Pablo Camargo 1, Yannice Nlend 1
WESTERN WYOMING 63, NORTHWEST 60
Points — Davion McAdam 14, David Ayala 13, Yannice Nlend 12, Mack Page 8, Juan Pablo Camargo 7, Andre Loigu 2, Will Hemme 2, Kolter Merritt 2
Rebounds — Yannice Nlend 6, David Ayala 5 (1), Mack Page 5 (2), Kolter Merritt 5 (3), Juan Pablo Camargo 4 (1), Davion McAdam 3, Will Hemme 2, Christian Adun 2
Assists — Yannice Nlend 2, Kolter Merritt 2, Davion McAdam 1, Andre Loigu 1, Juan Pablo Camargo 1, Will Hemme 1, Brash Emery 1
Steals — Yannice Nlend 3, David Ayala 2, Will Hemme 1, Brash Emery 1, Kolter Merritt 1
Blocks — Juan Pablo Camargo 2, Kolter Merritt 1