CASPER, Wyo. – It was a battle of ranked teams between No. 22 Western Nebraska Community College and No. 10 Casper College and the two teams needed double overtime before a winner would be declared.
In the end, WNCC fell 95-88 in double overtime as Casper outscored the Cougars 16-9 in the second overtime for the win Wednesday evening.
It was also the first time the Cougars have played an overtime game in over 10 years; the last time coming on January 23, 2010, when the Cougars defeated Northeast Nebraska 93-89 in overtime.
In fact, that game back in 2010 was the most points scored by both teams with 182. That record, however, is no longer as Wednesday’s game with Casper takes over the top spot after the two teams scored a combined 183 points.
The contest was a battle between the two ranked teams. The two teams last bet in last year’s Region IX championship game in which Casper won 66-64. Wednesday’s game would be much the same intensity plus some.
The first quarter saw WNCC grab a 6-2 lead before Casper cam back to lead 12-11. WNCC took the lead 19-17 after the first 10 minutes on a Payton Fields 3-pointer.
The second half was back and forth as well. WNCC led 26-20 after five points from Lidsey Mahoukou. Casper cut the lead to one, 26-25, only to watch WNCC go back up 32-25 on back-to-back old-fashioned 3-point plays by Martrice Brooks and Alejah Douglas. The lead didn’t last as Casper took a 39-37 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was dominated by WNCC as they outscored Casper 21-11 to grab a 58-50 lead, setting up a dramatic fourth quarter.
The Cougars built a 10-point lead at one time only to watch Casper come bolting back, grabbing a 70-68 lead. Ky Buell nailed a 3-pointer to put the Cougars back on top at 71-70. Moments later, Casper took a 73-71 lead on two free throws. Douglas answered right back with 19 seconds to play with two free throws to tie the game.
Casper then turned the ball over with 2.4 seconds to play, giving the Cougars a chance at a game-winning shot. The Cougars, however, got called for a 5-second call, handing the ball to Casper, but Casper couldn’t do anything, forcing overtime.
Mahoukou scored the first points of the overtime period with two free throws. Casper tied it at 75 only to watch Mahoukou put the Cougars up 77-75 on two more free throws. Casper fought back to grab a 78-77 lead on three free throws with 46 seconds to play. Mahoukou, who scored 23 points on the night, hit a bucket with 27 seconds to play to give the Cougars the 79-78 lead. Casper came back and had a chance to win the game at the line, but only sank one of two charity tosses with 1.2 seconds to play to force a second overtime.
Casper opened the second overtime period with four straight points. WNCC came right back as Shanti Henry nailed a trey and then Douglas hit one of two free throws to tie the game at 83. The Thunderbirds scored seven unanswered points to hold a 90-83 lead. WNCC only could cut the score to five points on a couple occasions as the Thunderbirds held off the Cougars down the stretch.
Shooting was the big difference in the contest. WNCC shot just 38 percent from the field and 19 percent (7 of 37) from the 3-point arc. WNCC was just 19 of 26 from the free throw line. Casper shot 41 percent from the field and they were 32 percent from beyond the arc (7 of 22). The Thunderbirds won the game from the charity stripe, knocking in 26 of 42 attempts.
Both teams finished with 41 rebounds. Mahoukou led both teams with 13 boards while Bella Sparaco tallied seven.
WNCC had four players finish in double figures. Mahoukou led the way with 23 points followed by Douglas with 22. Buell had 12 followed by Ashley Panem with 11.
WNCC, 5-2, will be back in action next week with three games. WNCC will travel to face Eastern Wyoming College on Tuesday before hosting Northwest College on Friday and then Central Community College-Columbus Saturday afternoon.
WNCC 19 18 21 15 6 9 – 88
Casper 17 22 11 23 6 16 – 95
Alejah Douglas 22, Bella Sparaco 1, Ky Buell 12, Ashley Panem 11, Lidsey Mahoukou 23, Martrice Brooks 5, Shanti Henry 6, Payton Fields 8.
Joseana Vaz 19, Marija Bakic 15, Kammie Ragsdale 4, Kobe King-Hawea 8, Natalie Otkhmezuri 18, Kate Robinson 11, Emily Achter 7, Belen Morales-Lopez 13.