TORRINGTON, Wyo. – The Western Nebraska Community College and Eastern Wyoming College men’s basketball teams hooked up in the annual Highway 26 Border War Monday night and this contest was a war with the Cougars earning the 86-83 winner in overtime.

            It was a battle throughout the contest and the two teams had a free throw shooting contest in the extra five minutes.

            WNCC coach Billy Engel said his team battled.

            “We stayed together and we continued to fight,” Engel said. “We talked about the motion in the offense and play with passion. If something doesn’t go our way we have to fight through adversity. We are very proud of them and it only takes one nice win.”

            The entire game was a close as neither team had more than a 7-point lead and that was just once when EWC led 57-50 in the second half on a Micah Glover bucket.

            The first half saw WNCC lead 9-5 on a Carl Thorpe bucket only to watch EWC come back to grab a 14-11 lead on a Seal Osajivbe field goal.

            WNCC tied the game at 18-18 on a free throw by Zach O’Callaghan and then took the lead at 20-18 on a Biko Johnson bucket. WNCC led 26-23 on a only to watch the Lancers come back to lead 31-28 with about 90 seconds to play in the opening half.

            WNCC intensified their play as they score eight straight points to end the half. The scoring streak started with a Enzo Clouvel-Urie bucket followed by an O’Callaghan bucket. CJ Johnson then hit a shot with seven seconds to play and the Cougar defense got a steal and Clouvel-Urie put the lay-up in at the buzzer as WNCC led 36-31 at intermission.

            The first five minutes was just as intense as EWC score the first six points to take a 37-36 lead and led 57-50. WNCC came back to cut the lead to 58-56 on back-to-back buckets by Thorpe.

            For every bucket WNCC made, EWC would counter and the Lancers led 67-65 with about three minutes to play. Clouvel-Urie would tie the game at 67 and then Cimitrije Nikolic would put the Cougars in front with 2:10 to play at 69-67.

            The Lancers went back in front at 72-69 as Atte Vuoristo had five straight points, including a trey. WNCC got to within two on two free throws by Clouvel-Urie with a minute to play. Clouvel tied the game with one of two charity tosses with 46.1 seconds to play.

            From there it was defense that played a huge role as neither team could get a shot off to force the extra period.

            In the 5-minute overtime period, WNCC grabbed its biggest lead as they score five straight points to lead 77-72 on a bucket by CJ Johnson and one from Thorpe. WNCC led 79-75 on another Johnson bucket and led 81-77 on two Thorpe free throws with 58.2 seconds to play.

            The Cougars won the game by hitting clutch free throws down the stretch where they were 7-of-8. EWC cut the lead to one on a couple of occasions. The first at 82-81 and then 84-83, but both times CJ Johnson was fouled and hit both charity tosses to seal the win.

            WNCC was led by Thorpe with a season-high 28 points. Clouvel-Urie, who was at EWC last year, finished with 17 points, including hit WNCC’s only 3-pointer of the game. CJ Johnson also tallied 14 points and was 5-of-6 from the free throw in the overtime period.

            EWC was led by Micah Glover with 22 points followed by 19 from Atte Vuoristo, 15 from Marko Krtinic, and 14 from Ryan Swan. The Lancers buried 11 treys.

            EWC finished the game going 18-of-22 from the charity stripe while WNCC was 18-of-25.

            The EWC men will be back in action Tuesday evening when they host Air Force Prep.

            The WNCC men will next be in action Friday when they open Region IX South play when they battle McCook Community College in McCook.


WNCC  36 36 14 – 86
EWC    31 41 11 – 83

CJ Johnson 14, Dimitrije Nikolic 6, Biko Johnson 4, Carl Thorpe 28, Stephen Ovia 6, Daniel Bula 2, Enzo Clouvel-Urie 17, Zach O’Callaghan 9.


Micah Glover 22, Malik Frederick 8, Atte Vuoristo 19, Ryan Swan 14, Marko Krtinic 15, Seal Osajivbe 5.

WNCC women snap 3-game skid, roll past EWC 80-46

            TORRINGTON, Wyo. – The Western Nebraska Community College women’s basketball team snapped a 3-game losing skid with a 34-point win over Eastern Wyoming College Monday evening at Torrington, Wyoming.

            The Cougars used an explosive offensive attack as nine players hit the scoring column and minimized second-chance Lancer points for the 80-46 win.

            WNCC freshman Faith Walker said this was a complete team win.

            “I felt like we shared the ball very well and we played our tempo,” Walker said. “After the losses we took. I think everyone felt like we needed this.”

            The defense was huge for the Cougars as well, generating turnovers and outrebounding the Lancers.

            “The defense was so aggressive,” Walker said. “We knew we had to play good defense to win the game and we knew we had to start from the beginning to the end.”

            WNCC definitely started from the beginning as they ripped off 29 first-quarter points.

            “I think our teamwork helped a lot,” Walker said. “We all wanted each other to score and our excitement on the bench was contagious.”

            The Cougar women trailed just twice in the contest and it was early. The last time was at 6-4 after two Andrea Gutierrez Ciodia points. After that, the Cougars went to town on the offensive end with a 19-6 run to lead 24-6. Jayla Owen and Yara Garcia each buried a 3-pointer during the run.

            EWC stopped the run with a bucket with 1:30 to play in the first quarter, but the Cougars added a bucket by Faith Walker and a trey by Bre Fowler to lead 29-9 after one quarter.

            The second quarter was back and forth as neither team got on a run. WNCC had one 4-point run on buckets by Ola Duda and Faith Walker to lead 33-11 and the Lancers had a 4-point run on a bucket by Tamar Kopilevich. WNCC led at halftime 41-26.

            The third quarter saw WNCC outscore the Lancer 18-12 with WNCC leading 59-38 after 30 minutes of play.

            The fourth quarter was all WNCC as the Cougars exploded out of the gate to lead 72-42 on a Walker bucket and costed to the win, outscoring the Lancers 21-8 in the final stanza.

            WNCC put nine players in the score book with five in double figures. Owen and Duda led the way with 13 points followed by Walker with 11, and Shiho Isono and Garcia with 10 points each.
            EWC was led in scoring by Tamak Kopilevich with 13 points.
            WNCC will be back in action Friday when they begin Region IX South Sub-region play at McCook Community College.


WNCC              29 12 18 21 – 80
EWC                9 17 12 8 -- 46

Shiho Isono  10, Jayla Owen 13, Yara Garcia.10, Bre Fowler 9, Emma Persson-Bandh 2, Mackenzie Joseph 4, Ola Duda 13, Faith Walker 11, Rashaan Smith 4.

Neylan Vila Delicado 1, Monika Brcina 2, Ines Gnahore 10, Amanda Sene da Cruz 10, Andrea Gutierrez Ciordia 8, Avery West 1, Tamar Kopilevich 13.