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WNCC men win, women fall to McCook
 February 20, 2013

MCCOOK, Neb. – The Western Nebraska Community College basketball teams split a doubleheader with McCook Community College Tuesday night in McCook.

                The Cougar men received 31 points from Charles Ward and buried 10 3-pointers in posting a 90-80 win over the Indians. WNCC’s win put the Cougars in the Region IX tournament and eliminated McCook from post-season play.

                The Cougar women had a rough night shooting in dropping their first loss in the sub-region, falling to the Indians 68-51. The loss, however, doesn’t hinder the Cougars’ seed for the regional tournament as they wrapped up the No. 1 seed and the host of the regional tournament with their win this past Saturday against Trinidad State.

                The Cougar women shot just 32.7 percent from the field and were just 21 percent from beyond the arc for the night. WNCC connected on just three 3-pointers, two of which came from Laurin Rivera.

                McCook, in the meantime, shot the lights out, connecting on 53 percent of their shots. McCook held a 32-27 lead at halftime and pushed the lead to double digits in the second half.

                WNCC was led in scoring by Gritt Ryder with 10 points followed by Kelsey Doddridge with eight and Ashley Stevens with seven.

                While the women had a rough night shooting, the Cougar men were sizzling. WNCC shot 53 percent from the field and they were also 53 percent (10 of 19) from the 3-point line. Ward, Sebastian Suarez and Rich Williams each drained three 3-pointers on the night.

                McCook wasn’t so lucky shooting, finishing with 39 percent shooting. The Indians were also just 45 percent from the free throw line, while WNCC was 67 percent.

                The contest was a battle for much of the game. WNCC held a slim 41-40 lead at halftime. McCook came back to take a 59-58 in the second half. WNCC came back as Suarez nailed back-to-back 3-pointers for a 67-62 lead.

                The Indians came right back to cut the lead to 71-70. That was when Williams hit his third 3-ponter of the night and WNCC pushed the lead to double-digits, 85-75, on back-to-back buckets by Cody Johnson and an old-fashioned 3-point play by Ward. WNCC never looked back after that.

                WNCC coach Russ Beck said his team played well and they knew how important the contest was and that McCook was going to come in with everything on the line, especially a post-season spot.

                WNCC had three players in double figures. Ward finished with 31 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers. Suarez followed with 20 points while Johnson had 15 points. Williams finished the contest with nine points followed by Quante Cooley with eight points.

                Both squads will be back in action Thursday when they travel to Eastern Wyoming College for sub-region contests. For the men, there is plenty on the line as far as seeding for the regional tournament. As for the women, they look to get back on track as they finish off the season before heading into regionals on March 3.

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