The Western Nebraska Community College men’s and women’s basketball team are off and rolling in the South Sub-region after picking up opening-conference wins over Otero Junior College over the weekend.
The sub-region doesn’t get any easier this weekend as the two teams hit the road for back-to-back South sub-region games when they travel to Northeastern Junior College on Friday and then Lamar Community College Saturday afternoon.
Road games in the sub-region are always difficult and this weekend’s contest and Friday’s rivalry contest with NJC will be just that. The Cougar men enter the contest at 13-5 on the season while NJC is 8-9 on the season.
The women’s contest should be more intense with two teams that have a combined 24-7 record. The WNCC women enter the contest at 14-3 while the Plainswomen are 10-4 after giving Eastern Wyoming College its second loss of the season 69-66 on Monday. WNCC also defeated EWC in December 82-63.
Both NJC teams open sub-region action Wednesday night at home against Lamar.
The women’s contest features two teams can score. The NJC women are averaging 76.3 points a game and shooting 32 percent from the 3-point arc. The WNCC are scoring at a clip of 91.8 points a game and shooting 38.5 percent from beyond the arc.
The Cougar women were 2-1 last week, opening 2019 with an 83-63 loss at Casper College before coming back with blowout wins over Northeast Community College, 99-49, and Otero Junior College, 104-66.
The Plainswomen have four players averaging in double digits. Tashika Burrell and Alyzae Davis are each averaging 13.9 points a game followed by Asia Turner at 12.8 and Aleksandra Ramikava at 10.8.
The Cougar women have three players averaging double digits. Merle Wiehl is scoring at a 23.2 clip followed by Tishara Morehouse at 16.3 and Taylor Joplin at 13.4. Right behind them are Yuliyana Valcheva at 8.4 and R’Manie Pulling at 8.1.
Wiehl is just 49 points from scoring her 1,000 career point and 76 points away from breaking the career scoring record of 1.026 set by Penny Mallet in 1983. Wiehl has scored in double figures in all 17 games this season and has a 39 active streak of scoring in double figures dating back to last season.
The men’s contest will be just as competitive despite teams with opposite records. The Cougar men, who fell out of the NJCAA Top 25 this week after falling to Laramie County Community College on a buzzer-beater 93-90, won in dominating fashion on Friday against Otero Junior College 103-87.
The Cougar men are averaging 95.6 points a game while shooting 42 percent from the 3-point arc. On top of the high-octane offense, the Cougars are sharing the ball well, averaging 16 assists a game.
NJC dropped two contests last week, falling 72-59 to Sheridan College and then losing 76-68 to Colorado Northwestern. The Plainsmen are averaging 77.9 points a game and shooting just 34 percent from beyond the arc.
NJC has just two players averaging in double figures. Nykolas Lange and Mohamed Diallo are both averaging 11.9 points a game. On the flip side, the Cougars have six players averaging double digits, led by University of Nebraska recruit Jervay Green at 25.2 points.
Next in line is Dru Kuxausen at 17.8, Martin Roub at 16.7, Bryce Sanchioius at 15.5, Henry Tanksley at 11, and Marquis White at 10 points.
Green is also nearing a milestone in Cougar history. The 6-foot-3 guard needs just 24 points to become the 14th player in Cougar history score 1,000 points. Only three players since 2000 have scored over 1,000 career points. They were Tommie King (1999-2001) with 1,086 points, Francisco Cruz (2008-10) with 1,183, and Vinnie Shahid (2016-18) with 1,079. Bernard Garner holds the record with 1,204 points set in 1995.
Saturday’s contests against Lamar will also be tough for the men. Lamar is 11-6 on the season and have won 10 straight heading into Wednesday’s game with NJC.
After this weekend, both Cougar teams return home to host McCook Community College in a sub-region contest on Tuesday beginning at 5:30 p.m. for the women’s tilt and 7:30 p.m. for the men’s action.
Men’s Region IX Standings
Team Conf. Overall
WNCC 1-0 13-5
North Platte 0-0 11-1
Trinidad State 0-0 13-3
Lamar 0-0 11-6
NJC 0-0 8-9
McCook 0-0 7-8
Otero 0-1 12-3
Casper 2-0 17-1
Sheridan 2-0 16-1
LCCC 1-1 8-10
EWC 1-1 6-10
Central Wyo. 1-1 6-11
Western Wyo. 1-1 6-10
Northwest 0-2 7-11
Gillette 0-2 11-7
Women’s Region IX Standings
Team Conf. Overall
WNCC 1-0 14-3
NJC 0-0 10-4
McCook 0-0 9-5
Trinidad State 0-0 9-6
Lamar 0-0 0-13
Otero 0-1 8-6
Gillette 2-0 9-7
Casper 2-0 13-4
EWC 2-0 15-2
Sheridan 1-1 11-7
LCCC 1-1 10-7
Western Wyo. 0-2 3-12
Central Wyo. 0-2 6-10
Northwest 0-2 2-13