The top-20 ranked Western Nebraska Community College basketball teams split Region IX South sub-region contests against Otero Junior College on Friday in La Junta, Colorado.
The 19th-ranked Cougar women outscored Otero 49-20 in the second half to roll to their 16th win of the season with a 76-44 win over the Rattlers.
The Cougar men, ranked 18th in the nation, dropped its first sub-region contest 85-80 in overtime against the Rattlers. The Cougars fell to 14-4 on the season.
Both squads will be back in action Saturday when they travel to Lamar Community College for sub-region contests.
The women used a strong defense, especially in the second half, to earn the win. WNCC made 41 percent from the field compared to 29 percent for Otero. WNCC connected on six 3-pointers, led by Melisa Kadic with three and Merle Wiehl with two. Olivia Wiberg also had a trey.
WNCC led 13-9 after one quarter and held a slim 27-24 lead at halftime. It was the third period that put the contest out of reach with the Cougars outscoring Otero 23-8 in the third for a 60-32 lead.
The Cougar women put five players in double figures in the win. Kadic led the way with 15 points, including six rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Wiehl followed with 13 points. Wiehl also had five assists and three steals.
Giovanna Silva chipped in 12 points while pulling down six rebounds, while Karli Seay had 11 points with four assists and six steals. Anastacia Johnson added 10 points and five rebounds.
Jaleesa Avery led the team on the boards with nine along with four assists.
The Cougar men were on the opposite end but it wasn’t without a fight. WNCC trailed Otero 35-31 at halftime.
The second half saw WNCC start slow with Otero holding a double-digit lead on the Cougars. WNCC fought back in tying the game on a Vinnie Shahid bucket at 70-70 with about a minute to play.
Both teams had chances to score late. WNCC got a steal but the possession was nullified because of an offense charge. Otero came back and played for the last shot and the Cougars put up a strong defensive effort in thwarting the game-winning shot.
In the extra period, both teams were knotted at 74-74 before Otero grabbed a 78-74 lead. The Cougars couldn’t get the lead as Otero hit some clutch free throws down the stretch for the win.
No scoring information was available after the game.
WNCC (16-3) 13 14 23 26 – 76
Otero (6-9) 9 15 8 12 – 44
Melisa Kadic 15, Merle Wiehl 13, Jaleesa Avery 4, Anastacia Johnson 10, Giovanna Silva 12, Sophie Agorakis 8, Olivia Wiberg 3, Karli Seay 11.
WNCC (14-4) 31 39 11 – 81
Otero (14-2) 35 35 15 — 85