The 20th-ranked Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team captured its 11th straight victory with a 113-97 Region IX South Sub-region win over Laramie County Community College Friday night at Cougar Palace.
The Cougars, who moved to 13-2 on the season, had three players score 20 or more points in the contest. Vinnie Shahid led the Cougars with 29 points. Djodje Dimitrijevic finished with 24 and Jervay Green had 20 points.
“I think when you come off a lay-over you expect to have issues with execution and maybe exactly what the plan of play was,” head coach Cory Fehringer said. “But I thought the guys from the beginning understood what we were trying to accomplish. Then, in spurts, I just didn’t think we did a very good job of valuing the basketball.”
Friday’s contest was a battle between two hot-shooting teams. The two squads combined for 27 3-pointers and were 35 of 40 from the free throw line.
It was a contest as well as no lead was safe. WNCC led 15-5 early only to watch LCCC come back to cut the lead to 21-18 before the Cougars rattled off three 3-pointers from Dimitrijevic, Trent Harris, and Marko Rajanovic for a 32-18 lead.
LCCC came back to cut the lead to 34-30 before WNCC led 48-40 at halftime.
The second half saw LCCC cut the lead to 50-49 and then 57-55 after a technical foul with just under 14 minutes to play.
It was from there on the Cougars erupted, building a 65-55 lead on a Harris trey and then pushing the lead to 87-70 on a Marlon Sierra 3-pointer. LCCC never could answer that run with the Cougars taking the 113-97 win.
Fehringer said it was a team effort in scoring with many clutch performances. Green, who had zero points at halftime, ignited for 20 second half points.
“Jervay Green was exceptional in the second half,” Fehringer said. “He had foul trouble issues in the first half. But, like a sophomore, he had a really good second half and he is only a freshman. That shows a lot about his growth and maturity.”
Other guys stepped up, too. Martin Roub had zero points at halftime as well and finished with 10 points in the game, including two 3-pointers.
Marlon Sierra tallied a double-double in the contest, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Dimitrijevic almost had a triple-double. The sophomore guard had 24 points and finished with nine rebounds and eight assists.
WNCC, 13-2, moves to 3-0 in sub-region play. The Cougars will host Trinidad State Junior College Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. Trinidad State went to 3-1 in conference play after topping Eastern Wyoming College 88-76 Friday night.
“We have Trinidad tomorrow. It is a Saturday game and we don’t have a lot of time to prepare,” Fehringer said. “You have to come out and play your best basketball that you know how to do as a team and offensively and defensively stay within yourself.”
LCCC (8-9) 40 57 – 97
WNCC (13-2) 48 65 – 113
Da’Shon Wyche 23, Zaire Mateen 21, Stephanie Manzi 8, Elijah Oliver 10, Landon Taliaferro 26.
Vinnie Shahid 29, Marlon Sierra 18, Jervay Green 20, Djodje Dimitrevic 24, Marko Rajanovic 3, Martin Roub 10.