March 7, 2020, Sterling, Colo. — The third and final day of the Region IX tournament featured the two best teams in the region; the Northeastern Junior College (NJC) Plainsmen and the Western Wyoming Community College (WWCC) Mustangs. The Plainsmen came into the tournament as the one seed from the south, and the Mustangs also came in as the one see, but from the north.
Right from the jump both teams brought energy, and neither were looked to slow down. With that energy came offensive fouls and turnovers, which accounted for a low scoring start. As the first 10 minutes passed, NJC led 21-13. The Plainsmen never could get a sizable lead over the Mustangs, and at halftime NJC led 38-35. Top performers for the Plainsmen were Cyler Kane-Johnson (8), Quincey Jewett (6), Dalton Knecht (6), and Ryan Bagley (6). For the Mustangs, LeChaun Duhart (8), Sindou Cisse (6), and Manel Ayol (6).
The second half was anyone's game, and the Mustangs proved that by going up 46-43 in the opening three minutes. Northeastern called a timeout with 15:30 on the clock to try and break the Mustangs rhythm. The timeout slowed WWCC, but missed shots and fouls allowed the Mustangs to keep their 56-49 advantage with 14 minutes left in the game. Shortly after, Andrew Ferrin of NJC got things rolling for the Plainsmen when he took a charge, then scored an and-one basket in the ensuing possession. That spark allowed the Plainsmen to close the gap, and regain the lead 62-60. Haunting the Plainsmen again were fouls and turnovers, which the Mustangs capitalized on and took the 67-62 lead with five minutes left. In the final minutes of play, Northeastern hit a cold spell and were unable snap it and fell to the Mustangs 82-66.
Leading WWCC was Trey Marble (17) and LeChaun Duhart (16). The Plainsmen were led by Mohamed Diallo (10), Rashon Baron (9), Dalton Knecht (8), Cyler Kane-Johnson (8), Ryan Bagley (8), and Andrew Ferrin (8).
With this win, Western Wyoming will head to the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan.