It was an high-scoring contest between the Western Nebraska Community College and Jump Start Academy men’s basketball teams in the first day of the Fairfield Inn Classic on Friday. 

                The two teams combined for 199 points and 23 made 3-pointers in the contest that saw the Cougars earn the 108-91 win. Jump Start buried 12 treys while WNCC had 11 3-pointers. 

                WNCC had five players in double figures, led by Nazir Griffin and Kayden Nation each with 14 points. Griffin buried three treys in the win while Nation had two treys. 

                WNCC also got 12 points from Stephen Ovia and 10 points each from Junior Galicia and Willie Wilson. 

                Jump Start was led by Jay Sloresby with 27 points, including seven treys. Will Hinton tallied 18 points followed by Tyler Sloresby with 17, and Payton Lloyd with 16. 

                This was a contest where both teams shot well from the field. WNCC was 58 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc (11-of-22), while Jump Start was 49 percent from the field and 39 percent from the arc (12-of-31). 

                It was also a game where WNCC had a big lead until Jump Start jumpstarted their offense and cut the Cougar lead to single-digits on a couple occasions. 

                Jump Start scored first on a free throw, but the Cougars would run to a 22-4 lead behind five points from Elijah Burney and 3-pointers from JJ Harris, Nation, and Willie Wilson. The Cougars led 37-18 at one time before the Rebels fought back to cut the deficit to just 12 points on a Hinton trey. WNCC pushed the lead back to 17 points on several occasions, including 5740 on a Wilson trey and led 59-43 at halftime. 

                The second half was evenly played as the Cougars outscored Jump Start 49-48. WNCC led 67-53 when the Rebels got hot in cutting the lead to single digits at 70-61. WNCC responded and went back in front 83-67 and then added a 7-3 run to lead 90-70. 

                WNCC led 98-79 on a Griffin trey and then hit the century mark with 2:40 left on two Anthony Simo free throws and WNCC never looked back. 

                The Cougars, 6-5, will be off until Monday when they host Laramie County Community College at 7:30 p.m. Jump Start Academy will play Northeastern Junior College at 12 noon at Cougar Palace on Saturday. 

Jump Start         43 48 – 91 

WNCC (6-5)       59 49 – 108 

JUMP START 

Stockton Lloyd 2, Logan Corta 3, Will Hinton 18, Tyler Sloresby 17, Dallyn McCune 6, Jay Sloresby 27, Payton Lloyd 16. 

WNCC 

JJ Harris 7, Maurice Walker 4, Junior Galicia 10, Anthony Simo 8, Danilo Glisovic 9, Nazir Griffin 14, Willie Wilson 10, Travis Easterly, Jr., 7, Stephen Ovia 12, Elijah Burney 7, Daniel Bula 6, Kayden Nation 14.  

WNCC women earn win over Casper College 

                Mackenzie Joseph finished with 26 points and six 3-pointers and the Western Nebraska Community College women’s basketball team earned a team-like win over Casper College 75-69 in the first day of the Fairfield Inn Classic Friday night. 

                The win moves the Cougars to 8-1 on the season and a match-up with NJCAA No. 11-ranked College of Southern Idaho at 4 p.m. at Cougar Palace. The other women’s game on Saturday will pit Casper against Otero. CSI topped Otero 63-43 in the earlier game on Friday. 

                WNCC head coach Isaac Lu said it was a good team win for his squad. 

                “It is huge to knock off Casper. They have won the last two Region IX championships I believe and they are always really good,” Lu said. “We were able to put together a nice performance, a total team effort to make this happen.” 

                It was a good team effort as different players scored at different times of the game, and that was huge for the Cougars to get the win as the Thunderbirds had a late 68-67 lead with two minutes to go and were outscored 8-1 in the final minutes. 

                “We had four players in double figures and it wasn’t Mackenzie standing along for us,” Lu said. “I told them every single game that it would be a different player stepping up for us. When we have that mindset that we share the ball, we know we will find the right player on each possession when we play with confidence, we move the ball and go in to set someone else up, then we know the results will take care of itself. It feels good to get this one down.” 

                Joseph led the way with her 26 points. She also pulled down five rebounds in the win. Helena Kuck was next with 12 points with three 3-pointers, while Amiyah Donaldson had 11 points and Laura Montiel finished with 10 points. 

                The Cougars shot 40 percent from the field and buried 10 3-pointers in the win, while holding Casper to 35 percent shooting and just 20 percent from behind the arc (3-of-15).  

                The contest between the two teams that have been consistent participants at the national tournament in the last eight years was again another battle.  

                The first quarter was a back and forth 10 minutes. Casper led 12-9 to watch the Cougars take a 13-12 lead. Casper closed out the quarter scoring the final five points and the 17-13 lead. 

                Casper jumped up to a 21-15 lead early in the second. The Cougars then put up the defense as they went on a 14-0 run to lead 39-21 on 3-pointers by Joseph and Ebere Egbirika. WNCC led 32-23 on another Joseph trey.  

                That was when Casper responded with a 12-1 run the rest of the quarter to lead 35-33 at halftime. 

                The third quarter was where the Cougars won the contest more or less as they outscored Casper 29-18. Casper had a 42-40 lead when WNCC went up 5451 on a Joseph trey and 2-point bucket. Casper cut the lead to 54-52, but WNCC closed out the third period on an 8-0 run behind a trey from Joseph and then Kuck nailing a trey at the buzzer to claim a 62-53 lead. 

                WNCC led by double digits at 65-55 on a Joseph trey. That was when the Cougars went cold from the field and Casper outscored the Cougars 13-2 to grab a 68-67 lead with about four minutes to play. 

                The final three or four minutes of the game saw the Thunderbirds score just one point while WNCC went on an 8-0 run behind the guard play of Kuck and Montiel as they held on to get the win 75-69. 

Casper                 17 18 18 16 – 69 

WNCC (8-1)       13 20 29 13 – 75 

CASPER 

Andi Schissler 17, Angela Astorga 18, Logann Alvar 14, Irene Fernandez de Caleya 5, Aranza Concepcion 2, Luca Acs 9, Adama Badjie Coly 2, Anna Csenyi 2. 

WNCC 

Amiyah Donaldson 11, Ebere Egbirika 8, Helena Kuck 12, Laura Montiel 10, Faith Walker 4, Kiley Smich 1, Mackenzie Joseph 26, Adelina Urtane 3.