The regular season is compete and it is tournament time for the Western Nebraska Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams as first-round Region IX games are slated for this weekend.
The Cougar men, 17-11, will host a first-round regional game on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 12 noon against Trinidad State Junior College. The Cougar men enter the post-season as the No. 3 seed from the South sub-region. A win Saturday moves the Cougars into the quarterfinals March 5-7 in Sterling, Colorado.
The WNCC women, who are ranked second in the nation with a 26-1 record and 24-game winning streak, earned a first-round bye and will be off until the quarterfinals on March 5 in Casper, Wyoming. The south and north sub-region winners on the women’s side earn byes and don’t have to play the opening weekend.
The men’s first-round pairings look interesting. Northeastern Junior College, who won the South sub-region and the right to host the regional tournament, has a bye into the quarterfinals. The other teams all have first-round games this weekend.
Besides the WNCC and Trinidad State contest on Saturday, other games in the South sub-region on Saturday pit the South No. 2 seed Otero Junior College Rattlers against North Platte Community College at 4 p.m.; No. 4 McCook Community College hosting No. 5 Lamar Community College at 4 p.m.
The North sub-region will have four games as well on Saturday. The north games include No. 1 Western Wyoming Community College hosting No. 8 Northwest College at 2 p.m.; No. 2 Casper College Thunderbirds hosting No. 7 Laramie County Community College at 4 p.m.; No. 3 Gillette College playing host to No. 6 Eastern Wyoming College at 4 p.m.; and No. 4 Central Wyoming College hosting No. 5 Sheridan College at 4 p.m.
The winners qualify for the quarterfinals of the regional tournament in Sterling, Colorado, on March 5 with the championship game slated for March 7.
The women’s first round games will be played Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Games on Friday will pit the No. 3 Eastern Wyoming College Lady Lancers hosting Central Wyoming College at 6:30 p.m. Other games on Friday include No. 2 Gillette College hosting Northwest College at 6 p.m.; No. 4 Sheridan College hosting Laramie County Community College at 2 p.m.; McCook Community College hosting Lamar Community College at 6 p.m.; South No. 2 Otero Junior College taking on Western Wyoming Community College at 5 p.m
Saturday’s game will pit No. 4 Sheridan College hosting Laramie County Community College at 2 p.m.; while No. 4 Northeastern Junior College hosts Trinidad State on Sunday at 2 p.m.