Three weekends into the season, Northwest College men’s basketball coach Jay Collins is tired of traveling. For the third week in a row, his squad hit the road for a long trip, playing three …
Three weekends into the season, Northwest College men’s basketball coach Jay Collins is tired of traveling. For the third week in a row, his squad hit the road for a long trip, playing three games in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
As NWC hosts its first two home games of 2021 this week, he is ready for a reprieve from the highways.
“What excites me the most is not having to be on a bus for 10 hours,” Collins said.
Though Collins is ready for basketball in Powell, his team has excelled away from home. Most recently, the Trappers won two of their three contests in Scottsbluff, taking down Western Nebraska Community College and Central Community College and falling to Lamar Community College.
Northwest opened the trip with a 68-58 win over CCC, fueled by three players in double figures: Jaren Fritz, Oluwaseyi Oyeku and Hayden Peterson. That trio combined for 51 of Northwest’s points.
Fritz had the hot hand the next game as well, notching 30 points on 8-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc. A Sheridan transfer, Fritz “executed really well” and “ran his lane,” said coach Collins.
Gabriel Gutierrez and Oyeku also played well, adding 18 and 16 points, respectively. In the absence of point guard Alan Swenson, who suffered an injury earlier in the season, Oyeku has consistently been a key contributor.
“He has been phenomenal,” Collins said. “He was given an opportunity and has really seized it.”
The third game of the weekend was the only time NWC wavered on the trip. After leading 32-20 at halftime, Lamar outscored the Trappers by 23 in the second half to win 80-59.
Ultimately, Collins thinks the fatigue from the previous two games played a role in the Trappers’ late-game collapse.
“We had a hard-fought win the night before, and we were tired,” Collins said. “I’m not big on excuses, but we couldn’t make shots.”
At least for a while, the Trappers are staying home: On Wednesday and today (Thursday), they’re hosting the Rocky Mountain College junior varsity — and welcoming the community to Cabre Gym for the first time in almost a year. Tonight’s tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
“It will be different with crowd restrictions, but we hope to see as many people as possible,” Collins said. “Our players are really excited about it.”
Northwest College 68, Central Community College 58
Points — Jaren Fritz 25, Oluwaseyi Oyeku 14, Hayden Peterson 12, Gabriel Gutierrez 8, Jerome Mabry 8, Jacob Schiler 1; Rebounds — Mabry 6, Peterson 5, Oyeku 4, Gutierrez 3, Fritz 2, Andre Loigu 1, Jahquel Goss 1, Colton Thorness 1
Northwest College 78, Western Nebraska Community College 67
Points — Fritz 30, Gutierrez 18, Oyeku 16, Goss 5, Loigu 4, Peterson 3, Mabry 2; Rebounds — Oyeku 2, Fritz 8, Peterson 5, Gutierrez 5, Mabry 5, Goss 2, Loigu 1; Assists — Oyeku 6
Lamar Community College 80, Northwest College 59
Points — Oyeku 16, Gutierrez 14, Peterson 8, Fritz 8, Mabry 4, Goss 4, Schilder 3, Loigu 2; Rebounds — Fritz 5, Oyeku 4, Gutierrez 3, Mabry 3, Peterson 2, Thorness 1