In what was an electric atmosphere with both student sections providing energy, the Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball team received 23 points from Henry Tanksley in outscoring EWC 35-13 in the final 10 minutes for the 96-70 win Monday evening at Cougar Palace.
“We were able to get some turnovers and Henry Tanksley came out and made some big shots for us and gave everyone around him a hint of confidence,” assistant coach Billy Engel said. “You know we just had to rotate on defense, cleaned up the class. We gave up too many offensive rebounds in the first half. We corrected that mistake and were able to fire up on them on defense and passed the ball offensively. We started to make shots, Henry particularly, and getting everyone juiced. This is an unselfish group and when things like that start to happen, we are able to really put it on people.”
Cougar Palace was electric from the get-go as both teams played tooth and nail for the first 30 minutes. WNCC, who moved to 19-6 on the season, trailed just once in the contest at 4-3 and the two Highway 26 teams were tied just once at 8-8. Other than that, both teams played inspired ball in the first half. WNCC raced to a 30-22 lead in the opening half behind back-to-back Henry Tanksley 3-pointers. WNCC later led 38-29 before the Lancers made a run as Sam Tiley hit a trey and they cut the deficit to 38-34. WNCC led at the break 43-38.
The second half was even more electric with EWC cutting the lead to 45-43 on a Brandon Meadows bucket and kept in reach at 49-45 on a David Hook offensive putback. WNCC pushed the lead to 11 points, 59-48 on a 3-pointer by Dru Kuxhausen and Bryce Sanchious. It was shortlived as the Lancers came storming back on back-to-back 3-pointers by Jordan Potts to come within 61-57.
That was when both student sections were ordered to stand on the bleachers. At that moment, WNCC exploded to a 20-2 run that saw Jervay Green and Martin Roub hit old-fashioned 3-point plays and Tanksley knock down three straight 3-pointers for an 81-59 lead.
WNCC shot 50 percent for the game, including shooting 55 percent in the second half. The Cougars buried 12 3-pointers and were 20-28 from the charity stripe.
EWC shot 33 percent from the field and made nine treys while going 21 of 27 from the free throw line.
WNCC had five players in double figures. Tanksley led all scorers with 23 points followed by Roub with 19, Green with 16, Sanchiouis with 14, and Kuxhausen with 11.
EWC’s Jordan Potts led all scorers in the game with 27 points, sinking six treys and going 9 of 10 from the free throw line. Potts also had three rebounds.
A big stat was rebounding where the Cougars out-rebounded EWC 43-39. Marquis White led the charge on the glass with nine boards while Sanchious had seven.
Engel said it is nice when the usual scoring leaders give way to others to score.
“Jervay Green, who usually is our high scorer, only had 16 and Dru Kuxhausen had 11, and those two were two of the happiest guys on the court to see Henry be successful,” he said. “They were ready to get him the ball on the next possession. It is really good to see from our guys that are high point scorers to be very unselfish and happy to see their teammates do well.”
WNCC will be back in action on Friday and Saturday when they jump back into the Region IX South sub-region competition when they host Lamar Community College on Friday evening and then Northeastern Junior College on Saturday afternoon.
EWC will be back in Region IX North sub-region action on Wednesday when they travel to face Casper College before traveling to Western Wyoming Community College on Saturday.
EWC 38 32 – 70
WNCC 43 53 – 96
Brandon Meadows 12, Earl Baker 4, Jonatan Arvidsson 3, Sam Tiley 7, Jordan Potts 27, Jacob Pfaffinger 7, David Hook 9, Jeremi Jiba 1.
Dru Kuxhausen 11, Marquis White 8, Bryce Sanchious 14, TJ O’Connor 3, Henry Tanksley 23, Jervay Green 16, Christian Creech 2, Martin Roub 19.