Cougar men, women take wins into semester break
     2015-12-18      By The Gering Citizen    editor@geringcitizen.com
Courtesy photo Cougars guard Kalli Feddersden drives to the hoop in action last week against McCook. Feddersen scored eight points. 
Both men’s and women’s basketball squads at Western Nebraska Community College go into the semester break on high notes, posting wins against some strong opposition.

The WNCC women remain the only undefeated team in the Region IX South division after defeating previously unbeaten McCook Community College 66-46 Dec. 12 at Cougar Palace.

McCook went into Saturday’s contest 13-0 after beating Eastern Wyoming College 64-62 Friday. McCook drops to 3-1 in South play and 13-1 overall, while WNCC is 2-0 in the conference. It was the Cougars 12th win of the season as they enter the semester break at 12-2, riding a five-game winning streak, the longest in Region IX.

Kalli Feddersen, who had eight points, five rebounds and four assists, said this was a big win for the team – a win that they knew what they needed to do and they went out and got the job done.

“We worked together more and we came into the game knowing we had to get this done,” the sophomore from Rawlins, Wyo., said. “We started right from the top. We knew what we needed to do and we took care of business.

There is always room for improvement. We still have things to work on so we will learn from this and we are happy we got the win.”

The first quarter is where the Cougars won the contest with efficient shooting and strong defense. After WNCC held a 5-4 lead, the Cougars went on an 11-0 run to lead 16-4 and led 23-12 after one period.

The first quarter set the tone for the rest of the contest. “That first quarter we knew what we needed to do,” Feddersen said. “We just went out there and put it all together. The first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game. The Casper game where we were down by 16 in the first quarter and we had to climb back so instead, we went out and set the pace for the game.”

After a strong first quarter, the second quarter was won by McCook 11-10 and the Indians did slice the lead to six, 27-21, but WNCC regrouped to take a 33-23 lead into halftime

WNCC came out of the locker room in the third and quickly built a 15-point lead, 40-25, on a Seynep Canbaz trey and a bucket by Sladjana Rakovic. WNCC went on to lead 48-33 after three periods.

McCook opened the fourth with five straight points to slice the lead to 10 points. WNCC regrouped and went on a 12-2 on six points by Ozge Yarga to lead 60-40 with four minutes to play. McCook scored the next six points, but WNCC closed out the game with six points as Paulson was a perfect 6 of 6 from the free throw line.

Shooting was a big key in the contest as WNCC shot 42 percent and was 9 of 15 from the charity stripe, while McCook was just 24 percent from the field and 21 of 34 from the stripe.

WNCC also out-rebounded McCook 45-36 with Rakovic cleaning the class with 10 boards followed by five from Feddersen and Mikayla Gonzales.

WNCC had just one player in double figures with Canbaz’ 13 points.
Paulson finished with nine points, while Feddersen, Rakovic, and Yarga each had eight points.

WNCC will be back in action Jan. 8 and 9 when they travel to Northeastern Junior College and Lamar after the semester break.

WNCC men

Meanwhile, the WNCC men’s basketball team head into the semester break with some confidence after picking up two wins last weekend.

On Dec. 11, the Cougars downed North Platte Community College and then followed up with a complete game performance in downing Region IX South foe McCook Community College 98-78.

In picking up the win, the Cougars put five players in double figures and out-rebounded the Indians 48-40.

Tyrell Williams, who finished with 15 points along with Michael Sparks, said this was a good win for the squad.

“This win was a very big win for us especially since this is the last game of the year for us,” Williams said. “We just wanted to out and do what we were planning all week. After our losing streak, we needed these two wins to get on track.”

Shooting was a big key in the game. WNCC blistered the net in the first half, shooting 62 percent and finished the game shooting 53 percent. McCook was a tad colder on the night, shooting 31 percent for the game.

Plus, the Cougars had balanced scoring. Besides Williams and Sparks in double digits, Daylong Harris tallied 11 points, while Phil Fayne and Andrew Ramirez each had 10. Williams said the balanced scoring is what this team strives for.

“That is why we are much better because we have a slogan ‘Everybody eats’,” he said. “We play in the flow of the game because we play as a team. And not as one.”

WNCC never trailed in the contest as they bolted to a 6-0 lead and stayed in front except for once when the Cougars and Indians were tied at 33. That tie in the first half was short lived as WNCC came right back to go on a 17-5 run behind a big 3-pointer by Chase Mason and a dunk by Mason Smith.

WNCC finished off the half on a Michael Sparks.3-pointer, taking a 10-point lead, 53-43, into the locker room.

The second half belonged to WNCC as Fayne opened the half with two thundering dunks and WNCC led 61-43 within the first two minutes. McCook would get the lead to within 10 points, 67-57 with 13 minutes to play, but McCook never could crack single digits because the Cougars used strong defensive rebounding, limiting McCook to many times one shot.

WNCC doubled up the Indians at 80-60 on Williams’ old-fashioned 3-point play and pushed the lead to 24 points minutes later, 90-66 as Austin Payne and Ramirez each had driving lay-ins.

Williams said the second half was huge in how the team played.

“The second half was our momentum going into the game,” he said. “We knew we needed to come out in the second half and we did what we were supposed to do because we came out with the win.”

Another big key in the win was the Cougar’s depth. WNCC had 55 points off the bench compared to just 37 for McCook. WNCC also had 61 defensive stops in the contest; 13 more than McCook.

The win moves the Cougars to 2-3 in South play, while McCook suffers its first conference loss. Otero leads the conference race with a 4-0 record after dropping Northeastern Junior College Dec. 12 by a 109-94 score. Other South conference games on Dec. 12 saw North Platte sting Eastern Wyoming 98-73 and Laramie County needed overtime to get by Trinidad 73-70.

WNCC, 10-5, will next be in action Jan. 8 and 9 when they travel to face NJC and Lamar.

WNCC release

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