TRINIDAD, Colo. – The Western Nebraska Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams found the going tough in Region IX South Sub-region contests in Trinidad, Colorado, Saturday afternoon.

                The Cougar men lead early once and then never could stop Trinidad runs as the Trojans registered the 87-68 win.

                For the Cougar women, they came up short after a strong second quarter that saw a 3-pointer at the buzzer rim in and then out as the Cougars fell 82-79 to the Trojans. The last time the Trinidad women beat WNCC was back on December 14, 2013, when Trinidad topped the Cougars 80-69 at Cougar Palace.

                The difference in the game was the first quarter. The Cougars only shot 32 percent from the field while Trinidad shot 68 percent. Trinidad came out of the gate ready as they jumped up 5-0. WNCC cut the deficit to 9-7 on a Jayla Owen old-fashioned 3-point play, but Trinidad State went on an 8-0 run to lead 17-7 and led 28-19 at the end of the first quarter.

                The second quarter saw WNCC outscore Trinidad 19-14 and warmed up to 57 percent shooting. The Trojans went up 32-19 before the Cougars went on a 6-0 run on buckets by Bre Fowler and Yara Garcia. WNCC got the deficit down to six points, 40-34, and trailed just by four at halftime 42-38.

                The third period saw WNCC tied the game at 46-46 and took their first lead of the contest at 48-46 on a Rashaan Smith bucket. Trinidad came back to take a 56-51 lead only to watch the Cougars score six straight on four free throws by Ola Duda and a bucket by Shiho Isono and trailed 58-57 after three.

                The fourth quarter saw Trinidad score the first five points and those five points would prove to be the difference. WNCC came back to tie the game at 63-63 on a Fowler trey and a free throw by Owen. Trinidad would lead by nine with about two minutes to play at 76-67, but WNCC kept fighting as they scored the next five points. WNCC made it 76-72 with 48 seconds to play on a Duda bucket.

                Trinidad would go up 80-74 with under 30 seconds to play, but Faith Walker hit a bucket and then Owen nailed a 3-pointer to bring WNCC to within two, 81-79. Trinidad hit one of two free throws with 8.7 seconds to play. WNCC had a chance to tie it and force overtime, but Owen’s NBA 3-pointer at the buzzer rimmed in and then out.

                WNCC had four players in double figures. Fowler led the way with 16 points with two treys. Isono tallied 13 points while Owen and Duda each had 11 points.

                WNCC did outrebound Trinidad 50-44. Mackenzie Joseph led the team with 11 boards while Duda had seven and Garcia had six.

                The men’s contest saw the Cougar men jump to a 4-2 lead on back-to-back Dimitrije Nikolic buckets. After that, Trinidad went on an 18-3 run to lead 20-7. WNCC sliced the deficit to single digits a couple times, the last time at 24-15 on a Maurice Walker 3-pointer, but the Trojans went on a 14-2 run to lead 38-17. Trinidad led at half 38-23.

                The second half saw WNCC get to within 10, 40-30 on a Daniel Bula bucket, but the Trojans went on a 10-0 run to lead 50-30 and later 71-40 on another 16-2 run. WNCC trailed 83-47 late when the Cougars finished the game outscoring Trinidad 21-4, but it was too late.

                WNCC had just two players in double figures led by Biko Johnson with 15 points and Dimitrije Nikolic with 13. Bula had nine and Ahmari Samuel tallied eight.

                WNCC shot 38 percent from the field and made just 5-of-27 3-pointers. Trinidad was 47.7 percent from the field and were 7-of-23 from beyond the arc.

                Both WNCC teams will have a couple days off before they head down to Lamar Community College on Tuesday for another South Sub-region contest. The Cougar men will then be back at home on February 2 when they host North Platte Community College in a 6 p.m. contest.


Women’s Game

WNCC (13-8)     19 19 19 22 – 79

Trinidad (9-12)  28 14 16 24 – 82


Shino Isono 13, Jayla Owen 11, Bre Fowler 16, Mackenzie Joseph 8, Ola Duda 11, Yara Garcia 5, Faith Walker 8, Rashaan Smith 7.


Men’s Game

WNCC (11-8)     23 45 -- 68

Trinidad (1          38 49 – 87

Dimitrije Nikolic 13, Carl Thorpe 4, Daniel Bula 9, Zach O’Callaghan 2, Tristin Thomas 4, CJ Johnson 5, Biko Johnson 15, Ahmari Samuel 8, Maurice Walker 6, Caio Monteiro 2.