Cougar men get win against Trinidad

Quante Cooley had a double-double and the Western Nebraska Community College men's basketball team put four in double figures in posting its first sub-region win with an 80-69 win over Trinidad State Junior College Friday night at Cougar Palace.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Cougars. More importantly, the Cougars improved to 1-2 in sub-region play and they have a chance to vault into the middle of the sub-region standings with a win Saturday afternoon against Otero around 3 p.m. Otero fell to Eastern Wyoming on Friday 68-61.

"I was happy of how we responded and we really rebounded the ball well tonight," WNCC coach Russ Beck said. "We out-rebounded them 44-29, which is huge. For us in the first half, we shot the free throws great and in the second half we were 9 of 21 and we could have put this on the freezer early if we would have hit free throws. But it is hard to escape any game without something to work on.

Cooley, in his first game of the second semester, came off the bench to finish with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the contest. Charles Ward led all scorers with 22 points. Ward also pulled down eight rebounds.

Also hitting double digits were Youssoupha Kane with 11 points and Trey Moore with 10 points.

The Cougars energy level was also pretty high in the contest as the players were diving for balls. A lot of that was because of an energetic crowd.

"I thought the crowd was great. We had a good crowd," Beck said. "They were able to feed on some good plays. Another huge thing for us is that we had 24 assists. We had it balanced tonight with a lot of people scoring for us tonight."

Another big reason for the Cougars win was their play of not allowing too many scoring runs. Up until a 13-0 run late in the second half by the Trojans, the Cougars held Trinidad's runs at bay, giving them just two 4-0 runs.

The other thing that stood out for the Cougars was thescoring runs of their own. Trinidad held an early 15-13 lead before the Cougars went on a 10-0 run to go up 23-15. WNCC would never trail again after that run as they went on to lead 36-29 at halftime.

WNCC continued excelling in the second half as they pushed the lead to double digits at 46-35 and then went on a 9-0 run to lead by 20, 55-35 on back-to-back buckets by Kane. WNCC led 6-243 with 8:14 to play on a Zach Clemens drive to the bucket before Trinidad went on the 13-0 run to cut the lead to 62-56.

The Cougars went back up by double digits on a Moore 3-pointer and the Cougars never allowed Trinidad to cut the lead to single digits the rest of the game.

Beck said what was huge for this team was rebounding. WNCC out-rebounded the Trojans 44-29, led by Cooley's 11 boards. Another big difference was the Cougars ability to share the ball, dishing out 24 assists. Moore led the way with five assists followed by Cooley and Ward with four each.

WNCC, 7-9, will look to go 2-2 in sub-region play when they face Otero. Beck said Otero will be a stiff challenge.

"Not to take anything away from Trinidad, but we will have a dogfight tomorrow [Saturday] when we play Otero," Beck said. "They have a lot of size and they have some athleticism. It is a different team than the Otero team they had last year, but Houston Reed really does a good job. They will come in playing really, really hard.

Trinidad (10-7) 29 40 – 69

WNCC (7-9) 36 44 – 80

TRINIDAD

Kendall Godley 10, Tre'von Wilkerson 12, Devonte Upson 14, Devonte Malcolm 19, Tyrell Taylor 5, Richard McCalop 5, Jamelle Corbino 2, Michael Lehnerz 2.

WNCC

Tahir Little 5, Zach Clemens 6, Quante Cooley 12, Rich Williams 3, Trey Moore 10, Doudou Gueye 2. Charles Ward 22, Cody Johnson 7, Youssoupha Kane 11, Chad Calcaterra 2.

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