The Central Wyoming College men's basketball team took the court versus Lamar Community College in the Region IX Quarterfinal playoff last Thursday, battling down to the last possession but falling just short in a 57-60 contest that would end a strong season.
Trailing by as much as 13 points in the second half, the Rustlers battled back to tie the game with under a minute remaining. Runnin' Lopes point guard Taylor Shepard would connect on a rare 3-point make to go up three, and the Rustlers would not score as time expired.
The Rustlers end an exceptional first year under new head coach Jack Nelson with a 21-9 record. In their regular season, they finished ranked 2nd in Region IX's North Division, and were also tied for 2nd overall with Laramie County. They also completed the year ranked 1st in defensive field goal percentage versus divisional opponents (39.6 percent) in Region XI and 19th nationally in NJCAA Division I. Offensively, the team's unselfish play was a huge part of their success. The team would end the year with four players averaging double-figure scoring, and an additional two players above nine points per game.
"The end of the season is always an emotional time," Nelson said. "We spend so much time together and work so hard for each other and then all of a sudden it's just over. When I reflect on this season, being my first as a head coach, I could not have asked for a better group of guys to be a part of the team. I will truly miss those that move on and already cannot wait to get to work with the guys coming back."
The team will begin spring workouts soon, as the staff looks forward to building on the momentum from the 2016-2017 season.
For more information on the Rustlers' season, check out the Riverton Ranger's recent season-ending article: http://www.landerjournal.net/story.php?story_id=27237&headline=rustlers-have-season-to-remember