The Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team need a strong second half to earn an 80-73 South Sub-region win over Trinidad State Junior College Sunday afternoon at Cougar Palace.
The Cougars, who trailed 43-34 at halftime, shot 55 percent in the second half while holding the Trojans to 32 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes.
WNCC head coach Cory Fehringer said for his team to play the defense that they did in the second half shows a lot.
“In general we have lost some games where we have not shot the ball very well and they have been close ones,” Fehringer said. “We told the guys this week that there will be a game where you don’t shoot it well and the ball isn’t falling and you will have to find a way to win. You know only giving up 30 points in the second half and holding them to 36 percent shooting on the night, I would say those boys did a good job of winning when not shooting well.”
The Cougars only shot 33 percent in the first half compared to 40 percent for Trinidad. Both teams nailed six 3-pointers in the first half. WNCC led Trinidad 31-28 in the first half. Trinidad mounted a charge, going on a 10-0 run to lead 38-31 and at one time lead 43-32. WNCC trailed at intermission 43-34.
WNCC exploded out of the locker room, tying the score at 53-53 with just over 10 minutes on a Dru Kuxhausen bucket. Trinidad came back to lead 58-44. That was when WNCC went on an 11-0 run and took the lead for good, 59-58, with 8:07 to play on a Bruce Sanchious bucket.
Trinidad got back to 68-65 and were down by five 76-71 late, but the Cougars hit clutch free throws down the stretch for the win.
WNCC had two completely different halves. The first half they shot 33 percent and then 55 percent in the second half. WNCC just had eight 3-pointers on the night, six of which came in the first half.
WNCC had four players in double figures. Kuxhausen led all scorers with 24 points, including hitting three 3-pointers.
Jervey Green tallied 17 points while Henry Tanksley had 14, and Sanchious tallied 12.
WNCC out-rebounded the Trojans 47-37. Martin Roub finished with 11 rebounds followed by Sanchiouis with seven and Green with six. Green also led the team with five assists.
WNCC will be back in action Tuesday when they hit the road for a South Sub-region contest at McCook Community College. Fehringer said they are going worry about what they need to do correct when they try to pick up the road win.
“We are not going to worry too much about the opponent. We didn’t watch film on Trinidad,” he said. “They just have to continue to get better playing together. We are switching a lot of stuff now so they have to be really vocal and talking on the defensive end. We just have to get rested. This team has been beat up all year and we continue to play five or six guys in the rotation. I am just proud of their effort with a short bench.”
Trinidad 43 30 – 73
WNCC 34 46 – 80
Ian Kelly 7, Keontae White 9, Goy Wang 8, Bilal Shabazz 16, David Muenkat 2, Aleck Sharma 15, Issac Essein 16.
Dru Kuxhausen 24, Marquis White 1, LeBeck Warren 3, Bryce Sanchious 12, Henry Tanksley 14, Jervay Green 17, Martin Roub 9.