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WNCC men fall to Casper in first round of regional tournament
 March 3, 2013

CASPER, Wyo. -- The Western Nebraska Community College men's basketball team couldn't stop a late Casper College run in falling to the T-Birds 81-69 in the first round of the Region IX Tournament in Casper, Wyo., Saturday night.

               Casper advances to Monday and will play the winner of Sunday's contest between Lamar and Northwest Wyoming, while the Cougars end their season a 12-19, including dropping their last three games.

               But, the Cougars competed in the match early on and then in the second half. The big difference in the contest was turnovers and shooting. WNCC committed 19 turnovers and shot just 38 percent from the field. WNCC was just 28 percent from the 3-point line (4 of 14).

               Casper, on the other hand, wasn't shooting the lights out either. The Thunderbirds shot 39 percent from the field. The difference was the Thunderbirds 3-point shooting where they buried 10 treys. Remi Dibo had four of those 3-pointers.

               WNCC did, however, out-rebound the T-Birds 44-32. Cody Johnson and Quante Cooley led the way with 12 and 11 rebounds respectively. Both players also finished with double digits scoring. Cooley had 17 points, while Johnson had 12 points. Charles Ward also pitched in 15 points.

               WNCC started the contest well, jumping out to an 11-3 lead before Casper went on a 16-2 run to take a 19-13 lead. Casper pushed the lead to 25-17. WNCC battled back slicing the lead to two points on a couple occasions, the last time at 29-27 two Cody Johnson free throws.

               Casper went on to lead 40-30 halftime.

               Casper came out in the second half and built a 48-36 lead before the Couars went on a 21-7 run to take their first lead since early in the first half at 57-55. The Cougars tied the contest at 55-55 with 10:31 to play on two Chad Calcaterra free throws. Moments later, Quante Cooley got a steal and put the Cougars up by two.

               Casper came right back to score the next eight points to go up 63-57. The Cougars were still in the game, trailing 66-62 before Casper went up 75-60 with 20 minutes to play.

               The Thunderbirds were led in scoring by Dibo with 24 points followed by Corey Spence with 18 and Dominique Lee with 15. Ryan Madsen also pitched in 10 points.

               In other action in the first round of the Region IX tournament, Northeastern Junior College upset the North No. 2 seed Sheridan College 97-81. North Platte Community College and Otero Junior College had easy wins in their first round games. North Platte defeated Dawson 71-42 while Otero dropped Miles Community College 72-40.

               Today's action has Laramie County facing Western Wyoming at 1 p.m., Gillette taking on Eastern Wyoming at 3 p.m., Central Wyoming facing Trinidad State at 6 p.m., and Lamar facing Northwest Wyoming at 8 p.m.

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