Cougar men jump out to quick 3-0 start
     2015-11-12      By The Gering Citizen    editor@geringcitizen.com
Courtesy photo WNCC’s Tyrell Williams battles Dawson’s Riley Jensen for position in their game Saturday. WNCC won 99-64. 
The Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team made it a perfect weekend after rolling over Dawson Community College 99-64 Saturday afternoon at Cougar Palace.

It was the third straight victory for the Cougars this season. Saturday’s win was a team effort as all 16 players who saw action scored.

The men downed the Fort Collins All-Stars 82-77 on Nov. 6., after opening the season with a win against Planet Academy, 90-81, the prior evening at Cougar Palace.

Chase Mason, who led the team with 13 points, said this was a signature win and showed how this Cougar team can play.

“We played really good and everybody got in the mix and contributed,” Mason said. “It was good to see everybody do what they can do and show everybody. I am just proud of the way we came out and I am excited for this year.”

The Cougars took control of the contest early and never let up. Mason said the goal was to start well and that is what they did because in the previous two games on Thursday and Friday (Nov. 5-6) WNCC trailed at half-time. Saturday that wasn’t going to happen.

“Everybody was focused on the game plan,” Mason said. “The way you start the game is important, but the way you finish it is just as important. We did what needed to be done to get the win.”

WNCC started quick, jumping out to a 6-0, then extended that lead to 16-7 on an electrifying dunk by Derrick Bowers. It was a play that spurred the Cougars and brought up the energy in the Palace among fans. Despite this, Dawson clawed back to make it a 16-11 difference.

The Cougar men responded with a 14-5 run which included Andrew Ramirez’s 3-pointer. Phil Fayne had an old-fashioned 3-point play for a 30-16 lead.

After Dawson closed the gap to 30-20, the Cougars again went on a 13-2 run which included a 3-pointer by Marquin Walton and a reverse 3-point play by Bowers to extend the lead to 43-23. Shooting threes was contagious. The Cougars went up 51-29 as Ramirez drained a 3-point shot from the circle of the jump circle as time expired for a 51-29 advantage.

WNCC never lost sight of the win in the second half. What stood out in the second half was a frenzy of dunks by Fayne, Bowers, and Tyrell Williams.

The Cougars also hit from all over the floor, not just from in the paint, there were also plenty of perimeter shots. WNCC buried 10-of-20 from beyond the arc. Mason, Ramirez, and Bo McVay each scored two three-pointers.

The Cougars also had three players in double figures. Mason led the way with 13 points followed by Ramirez and Fayne who scored a 11 apiece.
Scoring also came from the Cougars’ Williams and R.J. Palmer, each with eight points.

WNCC also distributed the ball well, collecting 18 assists. Mason Smith led with four and Ramirez had three. Ramirez also had three of the team’s 13 steals in the game.

Mason said this team has plenty of depth and anyone can contribute at any given time.

“We have a good mix of players that stay ready on the bench. So, when coach calls their name, anybody can go out there,” he said. “We can play anybody on the team. We have a lot of chemistry and a lot of depth. That is how we are going to win this year. From the first person to the last person, everybody has heart and they know what needs to be done this year. We have a lot of depth.”

WNCC (3-0) will hit the road this week when they face a two top-20 teams.

The Cougars will face No. 1 College of Southern Idaho on today (Nov. 13) before taking on Salt Lake Community College in Utah. Mason said they’ll need to focus to pick up wins next week.

“College of Southern Idaho is ranked number one so we will have to get with it,” he said. “We just need to use our depth, and execute the game plan. We should be good to get the win.”

In the first game on Saturday, Ft. Collins rolled past Planet Academy after building a slim 45-42 halftime lead on its way to winning, 105-82.

Dawson 29 35 – 64
WNCC (3-0) 51 48 – 99
DAWSON
Bediakko Myasa 2, Josh Stickel 1, Tyrick Thompson 9, Christian Kappell 15, Evan Jones 10, Daniel Shedden 7, Stefan Stubbs 11, Victor Henriquez 3, Riley Jensen 6.

WNCC
Marquin Walton 5, Daylon Harris 3, Mason Smith 3, RJ Palmer 8, Michael Sparks 6, Austin Payne 5, Leon Tomic 1, Michael Connor 7, Michael New 4, Bo McVay 6, Derrick Bowers 7, Chase Mason 13, Milos Popovic 1, Phil Fayne 11, Andrew Ramirez 11, Tyrell Williams 8.

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