Men’s basketball falls in Montana

Continue search for first win

Posted 11/16/23

Two slow second halves in Miles City over the weekend extended the Northwest College men’s basketball team’s early season misery as the Trappers lost to Miles Community College 59-58 and …

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Men’s basketball falls in Montana

Continue search for first win


Two slow second halves in Miles City over the weekend extended the Northwest College men’s basketball team’s early season misery as the Trappers lost to Miles Community College 59-58 and United Tribes Technical College 72-54.



Continuing their road trip, this time in Montana, the Trappers (0-5) squared off with the host Pioneers (3-2).

A slow start out the gate for both teams had the Trappers holding a small 7-6 lead five minutes into the game.

Miles took an 8-6 lead, before Northwest went on a 14-2 run capped off by a Drew Larson bucket to give the Trappers a 20-10 lead with 10:30 left in the first half.

Northwest carried that momentum throughout the remainder of the half, and went into the break with a 38-23 lead after a late Milton Rodriguez Santana basket.

“I thought we had a really good (first) half against Miles,” coach Andy Ward said.

Out of the break, the Trappers continued to hold their lead — keeping it at double digits up 54-43 until eight minutes left in the game.

Miles City went on a 9-0 run over the next three minutes, before Kolter Merritt scored to keep Northwest in the lead up 56-52.

The Pioneers continued their momentum, going on a 7-0 run to take a 59-56 lead with 1:20 left.

Merritt got a putback for Northwest with 19 seconds left, and the Trappers searched for a late steal.

Northwest got that turnover after a bad pass went out of bounds with just five seconds remaining, but the Trappers returned the favor with a bad pass of their own to give Miles City the ball back.

The Trappers got another steal, but a desperation heave by Rodriguez Santana was off and Northwest fell 59-58.

Northwest was unable to overcome a poor shooting effort, shooting 35.1% as a team and 26.7% from 3-point range — that included shooting 27% in the second half compared to 55% by Miles City.

“I’ve talked to the guys and our Achilles’ heel right now is we are turning the ball over, and we are not executing very well on either end of the floor as a whole. On the offensive end of the floor (especially),” Ward said. “I just think it’s a matter of fixing our execution a little bit … Their effort for the most part was good.”

Merritt led with 17 points and three steals, while Kaden Christensen led with seven rebounds.



On Saturday the Trappers turned their attention to the Thunderbirds (3-2) who made the trip from Bismarck, North Dakota.

After a slow start had neither team gaining a significant advantage, as the Trappers led 8-7 after five minutes.

Both teams continued to battle back and forth with neither team pulling away, with Northwest holding the largest lead of the half at four multiple times, but a late push by the Thunderbirds gave them the lead going into the half 26-24.

United Tribes found its shooting form to start the second half, immediately pushing the lead out to double digits up 39-28 with 16:39 left.

“They (United Tribes) shoot a lot of threes. They didn’t shoot it particularly well in the first half but then they caught fire in the second half,” Ward said. “They got a bit of a lead and I think we started to panic a little bit.”

Northwest battled throughout the half, but was unable to cut the lead closer than seven over the next 10 minutes.

United Tribes used one final 9-0 run to end the game, and send the Trappers to an 0-5 record after a 72-54 finish.

Carter Clark led the Trappers with 14 points, Preston Condie had 11 while Merritt had a 10 point, 14 rebound double-double.



Northwest will put the road games to a halt this weekend, making the first appearances of the season at home this weekend in the Coach Collins Heart of a Champion Memorial Classic.

The first game in Cabre Gym for the Trappers will be against Western Nebraska Community College (2-2) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

That will be followed by a matchup with Bismarck State College (1-3) at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

“We are going to have to play well, we have two good teams coming in,” Ward said.

Northwest will then head out on the road again starting Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. with a matchup against Dawson Community College (5-0) in Glendive, Montana, before turning around Wednesday at 6 p.m. to take on the Rocky Mountain JV in Billings.

Northwest will return to Cabre Gym the following week on Thursday, Nov. 30, to take on North Idaho College.



Total rebounds then offensive rebounds in ()

Points — Kolter Merritt 17, Will Hemme 9, Preston Condie 7, Drew Larson 7, Kaden Christensen 5, Colin Hayes 5, Milton Rodriguez Santana 4, Carter Clark 2, Krue Stubbs 2

Rebounds — Kaden Christensen 7 (1), Kolter Merritt 5 (1), Milton Rodriguez Santana 5 (4), Drew Larson 5 (3), Preston Condie 2, Krue Stubbs 1, Will Hemme 1, Colin Hayes 1

Assists — Milton Rodriguez Santana 2, Will Hemme 2, Kaden Christensen 1, Kolter Merritt 1, Drew Larson 1

Steals — Kolter Merritt 3, Milton Rodriguez Santana 2, Kaden Christensen 1, Drew Larson 1, Colin Hayes 1

Blocks — Kolter Merritt 1, Milton Rodriguez Santana 1



Points — Carter Clark 14, Preston Condie 11, Kolter Merritt 10, Krue Stubs 6, Milton Rodriguez Santana 5, Kaden Christensen 4, Max Postiglione 2, Colin Hayes 2

Rebounds — Kolter Merritt 14 (5), Carter Clark 3, Drew Larson 3 (1), Will Hemme 2 (1), Preston Condie 2, Colin Hayes 2, Kaden Christensen 2 (2), Milton Rodriguez Santana 1 (1), Max Postiglione 1

Assists — Carter Clark 3, Milton Rodriguez Santana 2, Krue Stubbs 1, Will Hemme 1

Steals — Preston Condie 2, Carter Clark 2, Colin Hayes 2, Krue Stubbs 1, Milton Rodriguez Santana 1, Max Postiglione 1, Drew Larson 1, Kaden Christensen 1

Blocks — Kolter Merritt 1