NWC News Desk
Trapper men lose to CasperPosted by: NWC Athletics — January 17, 2012
By RANDAL HOROBIK Tribune Sports Editor Courtesy of the Powell Tribune
Defense Unable To Shut Down T-Birds
The Northwest College men’s basketball team suffered a rare home defeat on Saturday, falling 85-80 to Casper College in Region IX North action.
“It’s disappointing to lose at home,” said Trapper head coach Andy Ward. “That’s one thing we haven’t experienced a lot of. It’s the first one we’ve lost at home this year and those wounds have a tendency to impact your seeding unless you can go out and steal some wins on the road.”
Given the strength of the northern division in Region IX, those road wins look to be treasured commodities this season.
Things looked good early for the Trappers on Saturday. Northwest opened a 21-13 lead on the strength of an 8-0 run, aided by a technical foul whistled against the Casper bench.
That momentum was quickly erased by a 9-0 Casper run. After an exchange of buckets, Casper continued to pull away, building a lead as great as eight points in the first half. At intermission, Casper remained on top 43-36.
Northwest answered early in the second half, chopping away the bulk of the Thunderbirds’ lead, but Casper went on another run midway through the second half to push its lead into double figures. Casper continued to hold an 80-69 lead late in the contest, only to see Northwest draw within two, 82-80, with a frantic late-game rally.
The Trappers actually had a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the final minute, but turned the ball over. Then, after Casper made one of two free throws, the Trappers again failed to convert an opportunity to put points on the board, enabling Casper to sink a pair of free throws with seven seconds to play and seal the win.
“We didn’t play well enough to win the game, period,” said Ward. “Casper shot almost 59 percent against us. You can’t win games when you let the opponent shoot 59 percent from the floor. Our defense wasn’t up to a high enough standard.”
Junior Coleman finished with a team-best 20 points for Northwest. His play in the game’s final minutes was a big factor in the Trappers’ late rally.
“He has the ability to score points in a hurry,” said Ward. “We don’t always have to have him do that, but he’s capable of going off at any time for a bunch of points and we needed someone to step up and score late.”
Ward noted he was pleased with the fight he saw in the game’s closing minutes from his team.
“The silver lining in the loss was that we didn’t quit,” Ward said. “We battled back and found ourselves in a position to tie the game or take the lead. We just didn’t execute and get it done. People will remember the late turnover, but the reason we lost the game was in the 39 minutes before that.”
Jeffrey Solarin added a double-double for the Trappers with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Diego Pasos (16 points) and Chris Hansen (11 points) also finished in double figures for Northwest.
The Trappers travel to Miles City, Mont., to take on Miles Community College.
“They beat Casper 97-90 just a week ago,” said Ward. “We’re going to have to be playing better at both ends of the floor to be in the game. It will be a good challenge to see how we respond.”
CASPER 85, NORTHWEST 80
Jeffrey Solarin 18, Konner Frey 9, Chris Hansen 11, Diego Pasos 16, Ty Ackelson 2, Guilherme Carabagiale 4, Junior Coleman 20.