Ryder leads Cougars to 14th win
Gritt Ryder poured in 26 points and the 6th-ranked Western Nebraska Community College basketball team remained unbeaten with a 92-44 win over Air Force Prep in the final day of the Lady Cougar Holiday Classic Saturday afternoon at Cougar Palace.
The 90-point explosion was also the Cougars fifth straight game scoring 90 or more points. In Saturday's win the Cougars placed four players in double figures and shot 47 percent from the field.
Behind Ryder's 26 points was Shalisa Moffit with 16 points, Laurin Rivera with 14 points, and Ashley Stevens with 10 points.
Brower, who scored just two points but put down a team-leading six rebounds, said it is nice running the offense from her point guard position with an offense like they have.
"Our offense is great because depending on what day, we can do many things. Depending on what the defense does, we can change our offense.
Defensively, the Cougars put together another stellar offense. The Cougars have held their opponents to under 50 points for the 13th time in 14 games played. Brower said they pride themselves on their defense.
"Playing tight defense is what we like," she said. "We like to play up-in-your-face defense and give it all you got when in the game. When we are in there, we just play as hard as we can on defense. That will then transfer to what we do on offense."
Overall, Brower said this team plays hard on both offense and defense and a key for the Cougars in not only Saturday's win but their other 13 wins is playing as a team.
"It feels good to be 14-0 but we still have to stay focused and not let that get to our heads," said.
They definitely played a solid game once again as nine players finished in the scoring column and the bench scored 38 points. The Cougars also had 26 points in the paint. WNCC also dished out 16 assists, led by Moffit and Rivera with four each and those assists led the team to connect on eight 3-pointers.
Four of the team's eight 3-pointers came from Ryder, who was 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Rivera pitched in three treys, while Maurissa Ortega had the other bomb.
The Cougars started early once again, running out to a 12-0 lead and pushed it to 28-3 on a Ashley Stevens old-fashioned three-point play. WNCC continued paying strong in racing to a 44-16 halftime lead.
The second half was all WNCC. The Cougars went up 55-20 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Ryder. Then, leading 66-31, the Cougars went on a 11-0 run that included Ortega's trey for a 77-31 lead and they cruised to the 92-44 win.
Brower said this team has grown leaps and bounds from the beginning of the year.
"I would say this team has improved a lot and I would say I have. Since the first day of practice I feel more comfortable.
The Torrington High graduate added that the college game is so much faster than the high school game.
"This is a lot faster than my high school but I feel like we all are doing good and we are just working hard," she said. "
WNCC will wrap up the first semester on Tuesday when they travel to Longmont, Colo., to face the Colorado Christian University junior varsity before taking a three-week break for Christmas. WNCC will then return to action Jan. 7 when they face Northwest Kansas Technical College at Goodland, Kan.
Brower said they have to play well to finish off the first semester unbeaten.
"We just need to keep focused and play like we are right now," Brower said. "We have to keep on this roll. Like Coach Harnish always says, remember where we came from, how we got here through hard work and everything, so we just have to keep that up."
Air Force Prep 16 38 44
WNCC (14-0) 44 48 92
AIR FORCE PREP
Myah Jackson 5, Taylor Ashley Shaw 7, Callie Brown 2, Mo Hall 11, Yasmine Ebanks 6, Angela Goodman 2, Dee Mullins 8, Ashley Lundun 3.
Mikayla Brower 2, Laurin Rivera 14, Kelsey Doddridge 1, Gritt Ryder 26, Shalisa Moffit 16, Katie Kerkhoff 3, Simone Evans 2, Ashley Stevens 10, Jessica Aratani 9.
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