WNCC FALLS SHORT VS. CASPER
Scottsbluff- Casper College’s Remi Dibo connected on seven first-half 3-pointers and the Thunderbirds shot past Western Nebraska Community College 95-74 Tuesday evening at Cougar Palace.
Dibo finished with 31 points and was aided by Dominique Lee’s 22 points and 12 rebounds as the Thunderbirds improved to 8-2 on the season. The Cougars, who shot just 36 percent from the field and were 19 of 32 from the free throw line, never got in a rhythm as they dropped to 3-4 on the season.
WNCC coach Russ Beck says they were flat against a Casper team that has won six straight games. “Our execution was very poor tonight,” Beck said. “We didn’t get any post reads and we didn’t work inside out. We settled for bad shots. The more we got down the worse our shot selection got and it was a pretty embarrassing loss in that regard.
The two things that we can control that we were bad at was team boxing out. They had 18 second chance points and we missed 13 free throws. We did get them miss shots especially in the second half, but they would collect the ball after their miss and put the ball back in.”
Dibo was the spark for the Thunderbirds in the first half, burying 7 of 9 3-pointers and collecting 26 of his 31 points. He hit 3 straight treys after the Cougars sliced the lead to 11-8 and the Thunderbirds never looked back and pushed the lead to 20 points, 41-21, with an 11-0 run highlighted by another 9 straight points by Dibo.
WNCC changed gears and made a run, slicing the lead to single digits at 51-42 with two minutes to play in the first half on a Rich Williams 3-pointer and a Willie Mangum trey. Casper stopped the run with a bucket by Demetrius Lee, but Cody Johnson closed the half with a 3-pointer for the Cougars, but Casper still led 53-45.
Any hope of a Cougar comeback faded just five minutes into the second half as the Thunderbirds went on a 14-4 run to lead 67-50. After that, each team traded buckets as Casper posted the 21-point victory.
Beck says the late first half comeback was nice, but wasn’t enough. “We did get the lead cut down to 8 at halftime, but then we came out in the second half and started to make some of the mistakes we did in the first half, giving up second chance points and missing free throws,” he said.
Shooting was the difference in the game. Casper shot 57% from the field in the first half compared to 40% for the Cougars…and made 9 treys to 4-11 for WNCC. In the second half, WNCC shot just 23% and were 3 of 13 from the 3-point line. For the game, the Cougars were 7 of 24 from behind the arc.
Cody Johnson finished with a team-high 16 points, including 4 treys, and pulled down 6 rebounds. Quante Cooley finished with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Mangum had 14 points and Charles Ward had 11.
Casper’s Dominique Lee had a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Lew Evans was the only other Thunderbird to finish with double figures, netting 13 points.
WNCC will next be in action this weekend when they travel to Sheridan, Wyo., to face Gillette and Sheridan College in a classic. Beck says the Cougars need to put the loss to Casper behind them and “pull together.
“It is embarrassing to lose to a rival like that on our home floor and I am going to work my tail off to get this team where it needs to be in contention for a Region IX title. We are a long ways from that right now. We just need to focus on this game this weekend against Gillette, see if we can pick up two games on the road and just go from there.”
The Cougars next home game will be Friday, Dec. 7 when they host Northwest Kansas Technical College.
Casper (8-2) 53 42 – 95
WNCC (3-4) 45 29 – 74
Corey Spence 5, Demetrius Lee 1, Nate McGinley 3, Remi Dibo 31, Austin Kofoed 4, Juwan Starks 5, Dominique Lee 22, Richard Smith 4, Mantas Adomaitis 2, Ryan Madsen 3, Lew Evans 13, Trahmier Burrell 2.
Tahir Little 5, Zach Clemens 4, Quante Cooley 11, Rich Williams 3, Willie Mangum 14, Isaiah Castellaw 2, Charles Ward 11, Cody Johnson 16, Youssoupha Kane 2, Chad Calcaterra 6.