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WNCC men topple NJC
 February 9, 2013

The Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team put four players in double figures and received 12 assists from Tahir Little in posting an 84-76 South Sub-Region win over Northeastern Junior College Saturday night at Cougar Palace.
The win was the Cougar’s second in a row but more importantly the Cougars leap-frog NJC in the sub-region standings. WNCC is now 3-7 in conference play, 10-14 overall, while Northeastern goes to 3-8 and 6-18 overall.
Sebastian Suarez, who finished the night with 19 points along with Cody Johnson, said this team played well and they are starting to hit their peak.
“We had good practices this week and we have good communication,” Suarez said. “We are talking more and we have a lot of energy. We have been good teammates and that is why we have been playing better the last few games.”
The Cougars definitely shared the ball extremely well, dishing out 19 assists, with Little getting 12 followed by Suarez, Johnson, and Charles Ward with two each.
The Cougars also rebounded the ball well, collecting 52 boards. NJC had just 45 boards. Johnson and Quante Cooley were the workhorses on the boards with 10 each.
“We have been working a lot on the box out so we can focus on the rebounding,” Suarez said. “Rebounding is a key for every game.”
Amazingly enough, the Cougars had balanced scoring, especially when the team’s leading scorer Charles Ward doesn’t score until five minutes is gone in the second half. Still, with four players in double figures and a couple more with near double digits, Suarez said this is how they are going to win games down the stretch.
“We have to share the ball and we all have to score,” he said. “If one person gets 30 points and the rest get five, which is no good. We all have to share and we all have to score, and that is how we are going to win games.”
Johnson and Suarez led the way with 19 points each followed by Cooley with 15 and Ward with 14. Scottsbluff’s Zach Clemens and Rich Williams also had a nice night, each burying two 3-pointers. Clemens finished with eight points, while Williams had six.
WNCC only trailed once in the contest and that was early in the game at 4-3. At that junction of the game, Johnson started red-hot scoring the Cougars first 10 points, including three 3-pointers for a 1-7 lead. NJC tied the game at 10-10 but WNCC came back as Suarez slashed his way on drive for to the bucket for an old-fashioned 3-point play.
The Cougars continued excelling later in the half as Clemens nailed five points for a 27-15 lead before settling for a 36-33 halftime lead.
NJC opened the second half with a bucket to slice the lead to one, but WNCC scored the next five points to go up 41-35. WNCC opened up the contest to 18 points, 64-46, behind a 3-pointer by Clemens and two from Williams as they cruised to the sub-region win.
WNCC will be back in action Tuesday when they host Laramie County Community College at 7 p.m. in another pivotal sub-region game.

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