Posted 3 months ago
By John Axtell
The Western Nebraska Community College put six players in double figures and raced to 61 first half points in posting a convincing 106-70 south sub-region win over Trinidad State Junior College Saturday afternoon at Cougar Palace.
More importantly, the win gives the Cougars a 3-game winning streak heading into break and pushed the team to 9-6 on the season. The weekend wins over Otero and Trinidad also put the Cougars sub-region record to 2-1 and moved them toward the top of the standings behind North Platte Community College.
What gave the Cougars the win was their first-half play. They trailed 8-6 and then went on a 26-5 run to open up a 32-13 lead and coasted to a 61-28 halftime lead. Coach Russ Beck was understandably pleased
“I just feel like over the last three weeks we are starting to grow up pretty fast. We are so young, so early with just one guy that had significant minutes last year and it is nice to see them grow up, play together, be vocal on defense, and get some stops.”
A big reason for the fast start is the intensity the team showed in the game, especially on defense, where they totally controlled the tempo of the game in the opening 20 minutes. Beck said the defense played a majority part in the win because “good defense leads to easy offense.”
The Cougars got the big lead through a strong inside outside game that saw the team connect on six first-half 3-pointers and shot 44 percent from the field while holding their opponent to just 30 percent shooting.
WNCC dominated in all the categories, including out rebounding the Trojans 59-41. Brandon Morley led on the boards with 11 followed by Youssoupha Kane with 10.
Kane and Morley finished with double-doubles for a second consecutive night. Morley had 11 points, while Kane finished with 19.
Diante Mitchell led all scorers with 27 points, including connecting on four 3-pointers. Joel Einfeldt also canned four treys, finishing with 16 points. Derrick Bowers and Tyler Crosbie each finished with 13 points.
WNCC also dished out 22 assists and recorded 20 steals. Mitchell dished out seven assists followed by Crosbie with six. Mitchell led the team with four steals.
Beck said his team is finding its groove heading into break. “I told the guys to forget anything that we experienced this first semester, whether it be things that weren’t so pleasant or things that we are really happy with. We have to remember it all and keep growing through January and February so we can play our best basketball in March.”
With the Cougars now off until after New Year’s, Beck says the three straight victories “are really big. I am really excited and grateful with all the support we get here with the people that come out. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas.”
The Cougars (9-6) return to action January 7 when they host ABCD Prep, then return to sub-region later that week on Jan. 10 and 11 when they host North Platte and McCook.
Trinidad 28 42 – 70
WNCC 61 45 – 106
Preston Bungei 2, Keouvion McCalop 18, Abdullah Musleh 2, Joe Smith 13, Eric Andres 2, Rashawn Avery 3, Chris Richard 6, Richard McCalop 16, Kevin DeCristino 6.
Tyler Crosbie 12, Youssoupha Kane 19, Diante Mitchell 27, Joel Einfeldt 16, Zac Bibb 2, Derrick Bowers 13, Brandon Morley 11, Austin Clark 5.