March 5, 2020, Sterling, Colo. — In the third quarter-final game of the Region IX tournament, the Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) Cougars matched up against the Casper College (CC) Thunderbirds. The Cougars average 93 points per game and the T-Birds average 97, so a fast-paced, high-scoring game was expected between the teams.
In the opening minutes of the game, both teams found their shot behind the arc, but WNCC held a slight advantage leading 23-17. Throughout the half, both teams took advantage of scoring opportunities around the hoop and behind the three. In the closing seconds of the half with Casper trailing by two, Jalen Harris drained a half-court shot to give the Thunderbirds a 52-51 lead. To begin the second half, CC capitalized on missed shots by WNCC and jumped out to a 65-55 lead. Western Nebraska found a rhythm to bring the score within two with 13 minutes left in the game. The Cougars continued attacking, and four minutes later they took the 79-75 lead. Casper weathered the storm and fought back to regain their lead 90-87 with four minutes to play. The Thunderbirds held that lead until the closing seconds of the game. With less than 20 seconds remaining in regulation, Western Nebraska made a three to tie it at 97. An unsuccessful desperation shot sent the game into overtime. In overtime, WNCC took the lead and held it throughout and won 112-108.
Leading in scoring for the Cougars was Teddy Allan with 45 points and seven rebounds. The Thunderbirds were lead by David Walker, who had 42 points.
Western Nebraska advances to the semi-final game where they will play the winners of the Northeastern Junior College-Central Wyoming College matchup at 7:00 PM tomorrow.