James Felton poured in 25 points and the Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team made their home-opener a bright one with a 103-92 win over Laramie County Community College Tuesday night at Cougar Palace.
Felton and Teddy Allen combined for 46 points on the night to lead the Cougars to their third win of the season. The win came against a scrappy LCCC squad who battled to the end.
WNCC coach Cory Fehringer said they did enough to win.
“We won. I am going to leave it to that. They went 1-0. That is the main objective,” he said. “It is difficult and Laramie County showed up to win as well. Wins don’t come that easy and we won in front of our home crowd. What we went through on the road was difficult. I expected us to have a little bit more gutsy performance with a little bit more heart and passion with these kids playing for the first time in 2019 in Cougar Palace and in front of our community where our community appreciates blue collar basketball.”
Tonight’s win was one of heart where the team shot 50 percent from the field and put six players into double figures. WNCC also out-rebounded LCCC 43-33 and dished out 21 assists.
Felton was a big force inside. Besides his 25 points, the Denver product had seven rebounds to lead the team.
“He caught the ball when he got passed to off the penetration,” Fehringer said of Felton. “It is easy to score when someone passes you the ball and it is easy score when you are open. You have to compete for balls on the glass. He did what he was supposed to do and he had a good game.”
Allen was next in line for scoring with 21 points. Allen, the West Virginia transfer, also went 11 of 12 from the charity stripe. Allen also pulled down six boards.
Next in line was Kenny Strawbridge with 17 points and six rebounds. Strawbridge led the team from beyond the arc with three 3-pointers. The team only connected on four treys on the night.
Jarred Rosser, Kalen Williams, and Elie Cadet all chipped in 10 points on the night.
Fehringer said there is a good group of freshmen right now that are still learning.
“We have a good group of young freshman right now and we have the opportunity to develop into a real team,” he said. “Being a team is what is important for us to do right now. There are small jobs that are important to do all across the board, every possession. You can’t just be excited to score; you have to be excited to do the 100 other jobs that are waiting.”
Tuesday’s contest was a battle. WNCC held a 13-11 lead early before LCCC went on 12-2 run to lead 25-15. WNCC came back and retook the lead at 35-34 on a Teddy Allen old-fashioned 3-point play. LCCC retook the lead right back, but it was short-lived as WNCC closed out the half on a 13-8 run to lead 48-44 at halftime.
After taking the lead late in the first half, the Cougars never relinquished the lead in the second half, outscoring the Golden Eagles 55-48. WNCC pushed the lead to double digits, 68-58, on a Felton bucket. LCCC kept battling back, cutting the lead to seven points on several occasions. Each time, though, WNCC weathered the storm. With just under two minutes to play, Strawbridge put the Cougars over the century mark with a bucket.
While WNCC had five players in double figures, LCCC had three in doubles. The Golden Eagles also connected on 11 3-pointers for the game. Damien Perry led the Golden Eagles with 30 points, including six treys. Erik Oliver chipped in 18, while Mateo Zovko had 15.
WNCC, 3-3, will be back in action Saturday afternoon when they face Western Wyoming Community College in a 4 p.m. contest. The Cougar will play before hand as the women will host a weekend Classic with two games on Friday and Saturday.
LCCC (1-4) 44 48 – 92
WNCC (3-3) 48 55 – 103
Jarred Rosser 10, Sami Harun 3, Jordan Smith 7, Kalen Williams 10, James Felton 25, Kenny Strawbridge 17, Elie Cadet 10, Teddy Allen 21.
Chris Grace 6, Damien Perry 30, Kyle Cabs 6, Brayden Schlin 2, Erik Oliver 18, Ashraf Tchadouwa 2, Andrew Graves 3, Mateo Zovko 15, Cortney Dean 6, Caleb Davis 4.