Feb 15, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorFive players in double figures wasn't enough in an 89-82 Central Wyoming College loss to the Pronghorns.
It could have been a watershed moment in what already has been a renaissance season for Central Wyoming College's mens basketball squad.
Instead, it was a near-miss.
The Rustlers' home game against Gillette College on Saturday was deadlocked 72-72 when regulation ran out, this after the home side had the upper hand for much of the proceedings.
However, CWC's conference rivals had managed to come back from as much as a 20-7 deficit to begin the game and had made a real battle of it as the teams headed into the extra session.
Alas, the Pronghorns proved why they're a Region IX powerhouse, outscoring the Rustlers 17-10 during the additional period for an 89-82 victory.
It was oh-so-close for Central head coach Jack Nelson's club, which went toe-to-toe with the visitors, jumping out to a 9-0 lead to start the contest on the strength of a field goal and a pair of free throws by point guard Devon Colley.
The Orange-and-Black didn't stop there.
Irshaad Hunte and Alihan Demir sandwiched scores around a 3-pointer by Marcus Nolan, and just like that, the Rustlers had a commanding 20-7 advantage, with Gillette head coach Shawn Neary screaming at his players during an early timeout to stop the bleeding with less than eight minutes gone.
Gillette came roaring back to pull within three at 25-22 with 7:05 remaining in the first half, before Chris Quayle dropped a dagger from distance followed by a deuce wrapped around a Nolan bucket. The lead was restored to eight, at 32-24, and CWC led 36-29 at the break.
In the second half, the game came down to a battle of Canadians, as Hunte (Toronto) exchanged baskets with Gillette's Abdul Mohammed (Ottawa) who led all scorers in the game with 29 points.
Another Rustler who showed up in the second stanza was Nick Brannon, who poured in nine of his 11 points in crunch time.
Central went on a 12-2 run including, a Demir follow of a Hunte miss and a 3-pointer by Nolan to go up by eight.
Gillette answered right back with a 10-0 run of its own.
Finally, with 10:30 remaining in regulation, the Pronghorns leveled the contest at 50-50 before taking their first lead of the game at 52-50 on a Kenny Jackson basket.
The game see-sawed for the rest of the half until ultimately requiring the extra session, as Nelson rallied his troops for the decisive five minutes.
A physical game began taking its toll in overtime, as Hunte absorbed a wayward elbow, and Brannon hobbled off. He returned, but Gillette managed to build as much as a seven-point lead before securing victory.
Hunte led Central with 18 points, while Demir (16), Quayle (14), Colley (13) Brannon (11) and Nolan (10) all hit for doubles.
Demir crashed the boards for a game-high 10 rebounds.
Central (16-8, 7-3 Region IX North) now sits in third place behind Gillette and second-place Casper College, where the Rustlers visit at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Gillette College 29 43 17 -- 89
Central Wyoming College 36 36 10 -- 82
Gillette College - McCree 7, Mohamed 29, Williams 12, Jeudy 11, Regis 3, Brown 6, Jackson 5, Evans 16.
Central Wyoming College - Colley 13, Quayle 14, Brannon 11, Hunte 18, Demir 16, Nolan 10, Barfield 0, Galante 0.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.