Cougars split in Lamar
LAMAR, Colo. -- The Western Nebraska Community College women's basketball team received 17 points from Ashley Stevens as the Cougars opened south sub-region with a 79-52 win over Lamar Community College on Tuesday in Lamar, Colo.
The men weren't as fortunate, losing another tough contest to Lamar 81-74 in overtime to open south sub-region play.
In the women's contest, WNCC had a commanding 34-23 lead before foul trouble allowed the Runnin' Lopes to come back. WNCC held just a 39-34 lead at intermission.
The second half was the difference as the Cougars tough defense held Lamar to just 18 points as the Cougars rattled off 79 points.
WNCC's offense was highlighted by eight 3-pointers. Torrington's Mikayla Brower canned three 3-pointers to go with her 13 points. Maurissa Ortega and Laurin Rivera each had two treys, while Shalisa Moffit had one.
Four Cougars finished with double digits. After Stevens' 17 points, Morrill's Jessica Aratani had 16, Brower finished with 13, and Rivera had 12. Moffit added nine points followed by Ortega with six, Gritt Ryder with five, and Michelle Brassard with two.
The men's contest was a hard-fought contest from start to finish. Unfortunately, WNCC coach Russ Beck said free throw shooting did the team in. On the bright side, Beck said his team won every other statistically category.
"I challenged the boys and told them to get in the gym and make a hundred a day," he said. "In practice we can't take free throws as a break from running because when you take a break, it breaks you in the game when you can't hit them."
The game was close to start as the teams were tied at 19-19 before Lamar forged ahead 35-27 at halftime.
The second half was a battle as WNCC came back to grab a 43-42 lead. After that both teams went back and forth before settling for a 68-68 tie after regulation. In the extra five minutes, which was the team's second consecutive overtime game and third in five games, the Cougars fell short, but it wasn't without trying.
Lamar led 75-70 late until Rich Williams hit a 3-pointer, but then Lamar hit some clutch free throws down the stretch to get the win.
""I really have loved coaching my boys this past week," Beck said. "We have a group that listens, a group that shares the ball, and a group that is positive. When we decide to quit having to learn from a loss, then we will be prepared to teach the loser. I stand by this team and we will be in teh hunt by the time this is all said and done. It is one day at a time."
Both squads return to action on Friday when they host McCook Community College in another sub-region contest. The women's contest starts at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men's game.
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