Badgers crush Casper College,
104-84, Western Wyoming, 77-52
By Rhett Wilkinson
EPHRAIM—As if beating a nationally ranked team wasn’t enough, the Snow College men’s basketball team went on three days later to hang 104 points on another Wyoming opponent.
Call it a good week for the Badgers (5-2) in their first home games of the season.
The first 17 minutes between Snow and Casper College (2-3) were close before the Badgers distanced themselves, winning 104-84.
At the start of that process was Tredyn Christensen dunking across the lane, absolutely posterizing the Thunderbirds’ Moses Gordon. Christensen was among Snow’s leading scorers in the contest, scoring 19 points (while falling just a rebound and assist short of a triple-double). Meanwhile, Ross Reeves scored 22 points and Travis Wagstaff, 20. Notably for Coach Robert Nielson, the Badgers tallied 23 assists.
It’s fun for us to see how many assists we can get, Nielson said.
Nielson noted that Wagstaff, the center, got hot in the first half and hit at least three field goals in a row.
Snow was able to pull away after 17 minutes of play because of its second unit, Nielson said.
“Hagen [Wright] and a couple of other guys came in and really gave us a life, I thought. Mike [Scheffner], I thought, did a nice job,” Nielson said. “So I thought that our second team was really better than our [opponent’s] second team and they came in and built on the lead in the first half.”
Wright scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds in just 15 minutes. Scheffner made a steal and grabbed three rebounds in 16 minutes.
Nielson noted that the second unit also injected new life into the Badgers with about seven minutes left in the contest, when Snow was up 85-71.
“I put some subs in thinking we would give our starters a rest. Those guys really built on the lead and made it grow,” Nielson said. “So we just left them in.”
The Badgers were able to score 104 points against Casper College because the Thunderbirds play a fast-paced style, Nielson said.
“You know, they are going up and down so quick that there is a lot of possessions and we’re happy to play that play because we want to shoot it a lot,” Nielson said. “We shoot it really well, so if we get a lot of possessions, we will get a lot of points … we had some guys get hot in a couple of stretches where we got some nice 3-point shots.”
Western Wyoming Community College was ranked 21st in the nation in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
That didn’t matter to Snow – at least, the second time around. The Badgers beat the Mustangs 77-52 after playing WWCC (3-2) four days earlier, losing by two on the Mustangs’ home floor.
“It’s nice to beat a ranked team like that and they’re a very good team,” Nielson said. “They have some very good players, so that was a good win.”
Matt Norman had 22 points and seven assists while Wagstaff and Reeves added 11 and 10, respectively. They each nabbed three steals, as did Christensen, who added nine rebounds.
“Matt’s becoming a well-rounded player. Last year, I thought he was a shooter. This year, he is doing a lot better job defensively,” Nielson said. “He’s getting assists and diving on the floor and playing defensive, so we’re really happy with his improvement.
“Tredyn, he’s just a really good point guard that’s big and strong and really hard to guard, but he makes his teammates better. He’s why Ross and Travis and those guys get those shots; it really starts with our point guard,” Nielson said. “Everybody focused on Matt and Travis, so then Ross is left as the guy and he has stepped up.”
Nielson described Norman, Wagstaff, Reeves and Christensen as “the core of the team.”
“They’re the ones making it all happen,” Nielson said.
Snow held WWCC to 36 percent shooting. The key started with the Badgers having already played the Mustangs, Nielson said.
“I kind of figured out what their guys do and so our scouting report was we were going to play certain players a certain way,” Nielson said. “We did a really good job of frustrating them and making them do what they didn’t want to do.”
In both games, Snow built on double-digit halftime leads.
“Our guys are really good shooters and they’re really unselfish,” Nielson said. “I think it’s just hustle plays … we’re not near as athletic as people, but we’re a lot better than I think people give us credit for when they see us and our tenacity on defense really makes a difference.”