Cougar men nipped
MCCOOK -- McCook's Julian Hernandez hit a free throw with seconds to play and the Indians came back to drop Western Nebraska Community College 78-77 in a south sub-region contest.
The contest was one the Cougars needed to keep their outside shot of hosting regionals alive after Trinidad State upended sub-region leader Northeastern Junior College 75-74 Friday night. The loss drops WNCC to 6-6 in the sub-region and 15-11 overall. McCook moves to 8-6 and 18-9.
More importantly, the sub-region race became even tighter as NJC is 10-3 and North Platte is a game behind at 10-4. The Cougars will take on North Platte today in a key game for North Platte.
For the Cougars, Friday's contest was theirs for the taking. WNCC controlled the tempo of the game leading the entire first half except once, 8-7 with 15:47 to play. After that the Cougars went n a big role thanks to Diante Mitchell, who had 21 of his game-high 27 points in the opening 20 minutes. WNCC led 42-34 at the break.
WNCC kept the momentum in the second half. Leading 63-55 with just over seven minutes to play, the Indians started a comeback as they sliced the lead to 65-64 and later took a 71-68 lead. That was when Youssoupha Kane slammed home two dunks for a 72-71 lead. With three minutes to play, the score was tied at 75-75 on a Diante Mitchell 3-pointer. Now one scored again until with 48.9 seconds on a bucket by a McCook player.
Kane came back to get a bucket to tie the game at 77. Both teams had chances for a bucket, but it wasn't until with 6.4 seconds to play that Hernandez hit one of two free throws. WNCC had a good chance to win the game, but a 3-pointer from Tyler Crosbie from the top of the key was blocked to give the Indians the win.
Tony Dobbinson led the Indians with 30 points. D'Andre Downey pulled down 14 rebounds and blocked 11 shots, while Dominic Williams had 19 points.
Mitchell led WNCC with 27 points followed by Kane with 18 and Crosbie with 12.
WNCC 42 35 -- 77
McCook 34 44 -- 78
Preston Christensen 1, Diante Mitchell 27, Tyler Crosbie 12, Youssoupha Kane 18, Joel Einfeldt 2, Derrick Bowers 2, Juilo Guity 3, Brandon Morley 9.
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