The Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team connected on 22 3-pointers and put five players in double figures in rolling to a 110-55 Region IX South sub-region win over North Platte Community College Friday evening at Cougar Palace.
The win moves the Cougars into first place in the South sub-region with a 6-1 conference mark after Laramie County Community College knocked off Otero Junior College 96-88 Friday night. The win was the Cougars 16th of the season.
WNCC coach Cory Fehringer was pleased with how his team performed, utilizing an 18-0 run in the first half when the score was tied at 19-19 to lead 50-24 at halftime.
“We talked to our guys about rebounding and assists where we want 60 percent of our baskets with an assist attached to them and at halftime we had 16 assists on 20 field goals and we were plus nine on the glass,” Fehringer said. “Those two statistics along spell success, unity, and togetherness.”
WNCC finished the game with 27 assists and out-rebounded North Platte 40-24.
A big reason for the first-half explosion was the play of Gering graduate Austin Hoffman, who hit eight of his 11 points in the first half.
“We were short on the bench. Bryce Sanchious lost a tooth during the game and had to go out,” Fehringer said. “Austin Hoffman, I think, is the reason we got off to a great start. His ability to step in the first half, get called on and really step up for his teammates. I am so proud of Austin and how he showed up for the team tonight.”
The win was a total team effort. WNCC shot 62 percent from the field and blitzed the nets from beyond the arc for 55 percent. WNCC hit 22 of 40 3-point shots compared to 1 of 17 for North Platte. Vinnie Shahid led the Cougars from beyond the arc, nailing six 3-pointers on the night to go with his game-high 29 points. Trent Harris and Jervay Green each had four treys, while Hoffman and Marlon Sierra each had three 3-pointers.
Early on it was a battle between the two Nebraska community colleges. WNCC held a 13-5 lead only to watch North Platte run off 10 straight to grab a 15-13 lead. Hoffman came back and stopped the run with a 3-pointer.
With the score tied at 19-19 with about 11 minutes to play, WNCC went wild on offense, igniting for 18 straight, including back-to-back treys from Harris to push the lead to 37-19. North Platte’s Atem Ajang stopped the run with a bucket with 4:25 to play. It was short-lived as WNCC closed out the half on a 13-3 run for the 50-24 halftime lead.
The second half was just as crazy as the Cougars’ offense continue excelling on all levels as Green, Harris, and Shahid had dunks that brought the crowd to its feet with excitement. WNCC hit the century mark with 4:08 to play on a Hoffman 3-pointer and had the lead in firm control.
WNCC had five players in double figures. Shahid tallied 29 points along with five rebounds and seven assists. Green finished with 22 points with six assists, while Harris sank in 20 points with five rebounds and four assists.
Sierra and Hoffman each hit for double digits. Sierra tallied 14 points while grabbing nine boards and dishing off five assists, while Hoffman had 11 points and three steals.
North Platte had just one player hit double digits with Trajan Harris finishing with 10 points.
WNCC, 16-4, will be back in action Saturday afternoon in a women’s and men’s doubleheader against McCook Community College. The women’s contest begins at 2 p.m. followed by the men’s.
The McCook men were an 84-81 winner over Eastern Wyoming College on Friday, while the EWC women topped McCook 85-69.
North Platte (7-7) 24 31 – 55
WNCC (16-4) 50 60 – 110
TJ Stanford 1, Goy Lew 4, Aaron Ridley 2, Trajan Harris 10, Brandon Headroe 9, Jakub Karwowski 3, Nelo Nducuia 7, Geofrey Rolle 7, Atem Ajang 4, Ty Clement 6, Buom Dubuol 2.
Trent Harris 20, Bryce Sanchious 6, Vinnie Shahid 29, Marlon Sierra 14, Marko Rajanovic 3, Austin Hoffman 11, Jervay Green 22, Martin Roub 5.