Whenever the Western Nebraska Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams hook up, one never knows what the result of the games will be.
Tuesday, November 22, the Cougars and Lancers will come together for a pre-Thanksgiving Highway 26 battle with the two teams looking to get a pre-holiday win when they meet up at Cougar Palace. The women’s contest begins at 5:30 p.m. followed the men’s showdown at 7:30 p.m.
The contests should have plenty of food for thought as both Cougar men’s teams competed at the Salt Lake Classic over the weekend with the same results. The women’s contests are two teams that are looking to break losing streaks.
The Cougar men come into the contest with a 3-3 record after going 2-1 in contests over the weekend. WNCC opened with a 70-57 win over Colorado Northwestern on Thursday before heading to the SLCC Classic where they competed hard against the No. 3 Salt Lake CC Bruins before falling in the end 97-80. The Cougars then rebounded with a 109-52 win over Taylormade Prep Academy.
The Lancers had the same type of results where they split this past weekend. The Lancers opened with a 110-94 win over Real Salt Lake on Thursday and then ran over Taylormade Prep 107-55 in about the same type of score as what the Cougar men had over Taylormade.
The difference was the Salt Lake contest. The Lancers lost to Salt Lake by nearly 60 points, falling 122-65 after trailing 55-26 at halftime. The Cougar men led Salt Lake at intermission in their contest against the Bruins 47-45.
The Lancers enter Tuesday’s contest with a 3-6 record with their only wins coming against not college teams. In EWC losses, though, they had some competitive contests falling to Casper College 95-91 as well as Tyler Junior College 85-74 in Twin Falls, Idaho.
The Cougars are averaging 86.3 points a contest and allowing 73.5 points a game. EWC is also high-scoring averaging 82.2 points a game. The Lancers are giving up 90.1 points a contest.
The Lancers have three players averaging in double figures on the season as John Barbee, a freshman from Tacoma, Washington, is averaging 20.1 points a game while Marko Krtinic, a sophomore from Indjija, Serbia, and Atte Vuoristo, a freshman from Helsinki, Finland, are averaging 11.8 and 10.1 points a game.
The Lancers have an international flair to their roster as there are eight international players on their roster of 15. Five of the international players hail from France.
The Cougars scoring is more spread out so far this season as Camryn Dennis is averaging 13.0 points a game followed by Biko Johnson at 12.5, Carl Thorpe at 11.0 and Rodney Sawyer at 10.3. Three other players are averaging eight points including Daniel Bula at 8.5, CJ Johnson at 8.3, and Stephen Ovia at 8.2.
While the men’s game could be high scoring, the women’s game has two teams averaging about the same amount of points per game. The difference is the Cougar women are 3-3 on the season after close defeats while the Lancer women come in at 0-6.
The Cougar are averaging 70-8 points a contest and competed hard over the weekend against two Top 15-ranked teams before falling. WNCC fell to Casper College 85-71 as Mackenzie Joseph had 19 points and Faith Walker had 11 rebounds. WNCC then dropped a 74-65 contest to Salt Lake Community College where Ola Duda had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lancer women are 0-6 on the season and averaging 61.5 points a contest. The Lancers competed in a 3-day classic in Thatcher, Arizona, where they fell to No. 17 Pima Community College 83-70, Cochise College 82-57, and to Eastern Arizona College 77-73. The Lancers had a home game with Otero College on Saturday and fell in a close contest 77-73, where they led at halftime 43-32 before being outscored 45-30 in the second half.
The Lancers feature a roster of international flare as nine of the 13 players are from outside the United States. EWC does have two Torrington High graduates in Avery West and Sierra Allen.
The Lancers have just two players averaging in double figures with Amanda Sene da Cruz averaging 12.8 points and Ines Gnahore averaging 12.2 points.
The Cougars have a little bit more varied scoring as four players are averaging over double figures. Duda, a freshman from Poland, is averaging 12.0 points and six rebounds a game while Jayla Owen is also averaging 12 points a contest. Scottsbluff’s Yara Garcia is averaging 11.4 points a contest followed by freshman Mackenzie Joseph at 11 points. Shiho Isono is near double figures at 9.2 points a contest.
Both women’s teams will be looking to get back on the winning track as both women’s teams have Thanksgiving Classics they will be compete in this weekend. The WNCC women will play in a Thanksgiving Classic in McCook when they face Fort Scott Community College on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and then No. 6 New Mexico Junior College on Saturday at noon.
The Lancers will be in a 3-day classic at Salt Lake Community College when they face Odessa College, Utah State-Eastern, and Salt Lake Community College.
After Tuesday’s contest, the Highway 26 battle will be back in force when the two teams battle each other on Monday, January 26 in Torrington, Wyoming.