Trappers’ comeback falls short in OT

Second half of conference begins Friday

Posted 2/8/24

A spirited comeback came up short in overtime on Friday for the Northwest College men’s basketball team, which rallied from a deficit as large as 19 before falling 92-89 to Gillette College.

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Trappers’ comeback falls short in OT

Second half of conference begins Friday


A spirited comeback came up short in overtime on Friday for the Northwest College men’s basketball team, which rallied from a deficit as large as 19 before falling 92-89 to Gillette College.



Attempting to reach .500 in Region IX action at the midway point of the conference season, the Trappers (11-13 overall, 2-4 Region IX North) were hoping to play spoiler against the league leading Pronghorns (21-3 overall, 6-0 Region IX North) at Cabre Gym.

Northwest came out and matched the intensity of the visitors early, holding an 8-4 lead with 17:47 left in the first half, which ended up being the largest lead for the Trappers in the contest.

Gillette claimed the lead five minutes in, a lead that would not be relinquished for nearly the remainder of the contest.

Northwest continued to battle, tying the contest at 25 on an Isaiah Halverson jump shot with 7:51 left in the half.

A 14-0 Gillette run followed, before Colin Hayes ended the run with 2:30 left in the half.

Gillette maintained its advantage, and led 47-32 at the break.

Less than a minute into the second half the Pronghorns pushed the lead out to 51-32, before the Trappers chipped away at the advantage the rest of the contest.

Northwest slowly cut the lead down to 10 at 58-48 with 13:44 remaining on a Hayes 3-pointer.

“One of the keys to that game was controlling the tempo through taking care of the ball and executing offensively,” coach Andy Ward said. “We didn’t shoot it very well in the first half.”

A basket by Gillette was followed by another Hayes 3-pointer, making it a nine-point game with 13 minutes left.

Despite cutting into the lead the Pronghorns held off the Trappers, and kept the lead between 8-12 points.

Northwest got the lead down to four with 5:43 left, but Gillette once again built the lead out to nine again a minute later.

“Gillette is talented, they can put points on the board in a hurry,” Ward said.

The Trappers kept fighting, trailing 77-71 with 2:43 left and needing one final surge to tie the contest.

A 3-pointer and free throws from Will Hemme cut it down to 77-76 with a minute left, but a free throw by Gillette made it 78-76.

Halverson was fouled on a shot with 21 seconds left, making both to tie it at 78.

Gillette had a chance to win the contest, but a defensive stand that saw Hemme strip the ball on the final possession sent the game to overtime.

Free throws were a constant throughout the game and that continued into overtime, with the teams exchanging points before six straight from Halverson handed Northwest an 86-83 lead with 2:40 remaining.

Gillette eventually regained the lead with a minute left on a 3-pointer before Hayes made a jump shot to tie the game at 89.

Needing another stop, Milton Rodriguez Santana stole the ball near midcourt and raced up the court, but missed the dunk attempt to give Northwest the lead.

Gillette rebounded and went down to the other end, getting a basket plus the foul to make it 92-89.

Northwest was unable to find a tying shot, and fell 92-89 in overtime.

“It was disappointing to not finish it out and get the win but I was encouraged and inspired by our guys and the way they fought and played,” Ward said. “They showed a lot of fight and determination. Any time you do that you give yourself a chance.”

Hayes finished with a 27 point, 10 rebound double-double, joined by Kolter Merritt who had a 17 point, 10 rebound double-double.

Halverson had 18 points, while Hemme had 11 points and three steals.

Northwest shot stronger at the line going 22-26, but Gillette finished 25-35 at the line in the contest.



Northwest will now head southeast for a pair of games, looking for victories which could go a long way in determining if the Trappers host a play-in game in the postseason.

That will start in Cheyenne at 7:30 p.m. on Friday taking on Laramie County Community College (13-11 overall 2-4 Region IX North).

Northwest lost to the Golden Eagles 92-75 in the first matchup on Jan. 27.

“We didn’t do a good enough job of capitalizing on some things offensively (last time),” Ward said. “We turned the ball over too much in the second half and it kind of got away from us. We get a second opportunity, we’ve got to fix a few things for our second matchup.”

The Trappers will then head to Torrington to take on Eastern Wyoming (4-18 overall, 1-5 Region IX North) at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

“We played a pretty good basketball game against Eastern in Powell,” Ward said. “A key for both of those games will be to keep them out of transition.”

Northwest won the first matchup between the two teams 87-65 on Jan. 25.



Total rebounds then offensive rebounds in ()

Points — Colin Hayes 27, Isaiah Halverson 18, Kolter Merritt 17, Will Hemme 11, Drew Larson 5, Preston Condie 5, Milton Rodriguez Santana 4, Tessi Thong 2

Rebounds — Kolter Merritt 10 (2), Colin Hayes 10 (4), Will Hemme 6 (1), Drew Larson 6 (2), Tessi Thong 3, Isaiah Halverson 3 (1), Milton Rodriguez Santana 2 (1), Preston Condie 2, Krue Stubbs 1 (1)

Assists — Will Hemme 4, Kolter Merritt 4, Tessi Thong 3, Drew Larson 2, Krue Stubbs 2, Milton Rodriguez Santana 1

Steals — Will Hemme 3, Milton Rodriguez Santana 2, Kolter Merritt 1, Drew Larson 1, Preston Condie 1, Krue Stubbs 1

Blocks — Kolter Merritt 2, Drew Larson 1