Trappers tumble: Gillette dominates final game

Posted 3/7/24

A disappointing road defeat in Gillette dropped the Northwest College men’s basketball team to the No. 6 seed heading into the postseason, after the Pronghorns poured it on against the Trappers …

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Trappers tumble: Gillette dominates final game


A disappointing road defeat in Gillette dropped the Northwest College men’s basketball team to the No. 6 seed heading into the postseason, after the Pronghorns poured it on against the Trappers 102-57 on Saturday.



Needing a win in an effort to lock up a home play-in game the Trappers (13-17 overall, 4-8 Region IX North) came out and battled with the Gillette Pronghorns (26-4 overall, 11-1 Region IX North), the top team in the Region IX North.

The hosts came out strong, building a 13-6 lead six minutes in with Northwest trying to find a groove offensively without two of its starters in Will Hemme and Colin Hayes who were both out with injuries.

“They’re two of our starters, they provide a lot of things for our team,” coach Andy Ward said. “Colin is a good scorer and defender and Will is our floor general.”

Northwest continued to keep it within the same margin over the next seven minutes, before an offensive explosion helped the Pronghorns create a significant advantage before the half.

The lead hit double-digits, and quickly grew to 37-21 with just 4:30 minutes remaining.

Northwest was unable to chip away late, as the lead sat at 54-32 going into the break.

Offense continued to pour in for the Pronghorns, and the lead grew to 30 points at 72-42 just over six minutes into the half.

Gillette made it a 40 point contest up 88-48 with just seven minutes left.

It reached as many as 50 with just minutes remaining, as the Trappers fell 102-57 in the game.

A dominant shooting performance from the hosts was a major difference, as Gillette shot 42-75 (56%) from the field and 12-24 (50%) from 3-point range while Northwest shot 21-64 (32.8%) from the field and 1-14 (7.1%) from 3-point range.

Northwest committed 25 turnovers compared to 11 for Gillette.

“Turnovers are killers and we turned it over 25 times,” Ward said. “We put them in transition when we do that and they get (easy) shots at the other end … it just kind of got away from us.”

Milton Rodriguez Santana led with 17 points and tied for the team lead in rebounds as four Trappers recorded six.

Isaiah Halverson had 15 points and six rebounds and Drew Larson was the final Trapper in double-figures with 11 points and six rebounds.

Tessi Thong led with five assists.



With the loss the Trappers were knocked out of contention to host a Region IX North play-in game this weekend, settling into the No. 6 seed heading into the postseason.

That has the Trappers heading to Riverton on Saturday, taking on No. 3 seeded Central Wyoming (16-14 overall, 7-5 Region IX North) at 2 p.m.

Northwest defeated Central Wyoming at home 106-79 on Jan. 30, while the Rustlers got their revenge in Riverton 75-70 on Feb. 17.

“They’re familiar with us and we are familiar with them,” Ward said. “We’ve gotta be more aggressive offensively. Through a portion of the year we weren’t getting to the free throw line like we should. They (Central) have a good team, they shoot the ball well and have a lot of weapons. If you wanna survive and move on you gotta take care of the ball and rebound.”

Regarding the status of Hemme and Hayes, Ward said the team will be monitoring the pair throughout the week and are currently day-to-day.

The winner of the contest will continue its season next weekend, heading to Scottsbluff to continue as part of the Region IX tournament at Region IX South winner Western Nebraska.



Total rebounds then offensive rebounds in ()

Points — Milton Rodriguez Santana 17, Isaiah Halverson 15, Drew Larson 11, Kolter Merritt 6, Tessi Thong 2, Carter Clark 2, Max Postiglione 2, Preston Condie 2

Rebounds — Milton Rodriguez Santana 6 (3), Tessi Thong 6 (1), Drew Larson 6 (2), Isaiah Halverson 6 (3), Kolter Merritt 4 (3), Carter Clark 2, Max Postiglione 2 (1), Preston Condie 2

Assists — Tessi Thong 5, Krue Stubbs 1, Kolter Merritt 1, Drew Larson 1, Isaiah Halverson 1

Steals — Drew Larson 2, Milton Rodriguez Santana 1, Kolter Merritt 1



No. 1 seed Gillette College receives a first round bye and will advance to Scottsbluff.

No. 2 Casper College vs. No. 7 Eastern Wyoming 4 p.m. on Saturday

No. 3 Central Wyoming vs. No. 6 Northwest 2 p.m. on Saturday

No. 4 Laramie County CC vs. No. 5 Western Wyoming 2 p.m. on Saturday