Northwest men’s hoops falls in play-in game

Posted 4/6/21

For the entire season, Northwest College men’s basketball head coach Jay Collins preached using every game as preparation for what really matters: postseason.

The Trappers competed in a …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Northwest men’s hoops falls in play-in game

Posted

For the entire season, Northwest College men’s basketball head coach Jay Collins preached using every game as preparation for what really matters: postseason.

The Trappers competed in a play-in game for the Region IX Tournament Friday on the road against Western Wyoming. They kept within reach for the game’s entirety but were unable to escape Rock Springs with a win, falling 69-67. 

“Both teams played well; it was back and forth,” Collins said. “We just came up a little short.”

Northwest struggled inside, shooting 35.5% from the field. But from deep, the Trappers found open shots and capitalized, posting a 41.9% clip from three. 

The team has lived and died by the 3-pointer for much of the season, and on Friday, it allowed NWC to keep within striking distance.

“That’s kind of been our M.O. this year,” Collins said. “We saw a lot of the same shots we had all year and made them.”

Though neither team ever led by double digits, offensive rebounds in the last couple minutes pushed WWCC over the top, sending the Mustangs to the quarterfinals. The Trappers finished the year 7-14 overall and 1-9 in Region IX play. 

Gabriel Gutierrez led NWC’s offensive effort in the loss, posting 16 points. A freshman post who led the team in rebounding, Gutierrez will be a key piece as the Trappers look to continue building the program.

“He’s always in it for whatever he can do for the team; it’s never about himself,” Collins said. “He guarded much bigger guys consistently and did it well. Having someone with his toughness is wonderful.”

Record wise, NWC sat in the Region IX North cellar, winning just one league contest. But Collins still noted development within the program. 

“The level that we jumped, as a program, was pretty big,” Collins said. “The team culture and ability to buy in is so far from where we were at the beginning of the season two years ago.”

Five sophomores will graduate from the program in May: Jerome Mabry, Hayden Peterson, Jaren Fritz, Jacob Schilder and Jahquel Goss. Mabry and Fritz were the team’s leading scorers, Peterson led the squad in assists and Schilder and Goss both saw significant minutes off the bench throughout the season. 

“We were one of the hardest-working teams, and that’s what this group will be remembered for,” Collins said. 

Starters slated to return next year include Gutierrez, Seyi Oyeku and Alan Swenson. Oyeku started at point guard this season in replacement of Swenson, who suffered a season-ending leg injury in February. Others who will be back are Andre Loigu and Colton Thorness. 

Between a strong crop of returners and several promising recruits considering NWC, the team could make its next leap in 2021-22. 

“I think we can be at the top of the league,” Collins said. “Our program is pleased to make another jump next year.”

Comments