NORTH PLATTE – The North Platte Community College men's basketball team won their 10th straight as they withstood a late charge by Western Nebraska Community College in earning an 81-74 Region IX South sub-region victory Friday night in North Platte.
The loss drops WNCC to 16-6 overall and 4-1 in sub-region play. North Platte moves to 15-1 and 4-0 in sub-region
The contest was a battle between the South sub-region leaders. There were 12 lead changes and four ties in the contest.
WNCC led twice in the first half, the first at 20-18 after a Dru Kuxhausen 3-pointer. North Platte came back and hit a trey of their own. Kuxhausen responded right back with a deuce for a 22-21 lead. The Knights grabbed a 28-24 lead and led 31-26 before the Cougars knotted the game on a Jervay Green 3-pointer at 31. North Platte went on to lead at intermission 42-38.
The second half was a back and forth 20-minute half. WNCC led three times in the half. The Cougars trailed 50-42 but came back to grab a 55-54 lead after a Henry Tanksley dunk and Martin Roub 3-pointers.
It was short-lived with North Platte grabbing a 58-55 lead. Green came back with two straight buckets to put the Cougars back in front 59-58. After a bucket by North Platte, Kuxhausen drained a trey for a 62-60 lead. After that, the Knights went on a 15-1 run to lead 75-63.
WNCC didn't quite with two minutes to play, outscoring North Platte 9-2 to come within five, 77-72. Clutch free throw shooting down the stretch was the difference to seal the win for North Platte.
WNCC shot 46 percent from the field and were 9 of 33 from beyond the arc. North Platte shot 49 percent and were 4 of 12 from the 3-point line. The difference in the contest was free throw shooting. WNCC was just 7 of 12 while North Platte was 19 of 26.
The Knights also out-rebounded WNCC 42-30. North Platte's Jakub Karwowski led both teams from the glass with 13 boards. WNCC was led by Martin Roub with seven points.
WNCC had just three players in double figures. Green led all scorers with 27 points. Green also pulled down five boards and had four steals. Kuxhausen tossed in 18 points with four 3-pointers. Roub finished with 12 points and two treys.
North Platte was led by Tim Johnson with 20 points. Johnson was a perfect 12 of 12 from the charity stripe. Da'May Jones tossed in 14, while Courtney Murrell had 14.
WNCC, 16-6, will have a week off before playing again when they host Trinidad Trinidad State Junior College on Sunday, Feb. 3. Game times for the TSJC contest have been changed to avoid the Super Bowl. The Cougar women will face Trinidad at noon while the men take to the court at 2 p.m.
WNCC (16-6) 38 36 – 74
North Platte (15-1) 42 39 – 81
Courtney Murrell 14, Ilya Tyrtshnik 4, Tim Johnson 20, Luke Christen 2, Da'May Jones 18, Edgars Kaufmanis 9, DaVonte Tharpe 5, Jakub Karwowski 9.