— By GREG WEBB
The Weatherford College men’s basketball team is still seeking its “turnaround” conference game, coming close in the final four minutes of a North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference contest on Saturday.
After dropping to a double-digit deficit in the second half, a spurt of energy and forced turnovers saw WC close to within a basket, but turnovers that had plagued the Coyotes earlier in the match returned to foil the comeback, as WC lost its third conference game, 86-77.
Hosting Hill College at the Crumm-Graber Athletic Center, the Coyotes owned the first few minutes after the tipoff, building a lead with defense and Rebels miscues. WC three-point specialist Nolan Cass lived up to the description in the first half, draining four long-range arcs to lead the scoring for the Coyotes in the opening stanza.
The early lead trickled away as the turnover bug hit WC and the Rebels bigs began to make their presence felt on the boards.
Down by three just minutes into the second half, the Coyotes fell to a 12-point margin behind HC at the mid-point, trading baskets to stay withing reach. Point guard Kevin Franceschi and post Eric Stubbs soon heated up, along with the Coyotes pace down the stretch, and the tide quickly turned, with WC closing the gap with transition baskets.
The WC men drew to within two points after a 16-4 run in a three and a half-minute span, punctuated by a crowd-pleasing block by Da-Juan Cooper early on in the run. Stubbs found his range, and the Coyotes were also help with Pat Allen’s play off the bench, putting up 10 points in the half.
But as quickly as the Coyotes put themselves back into the match, the slim margin inflated, helped by three giveaways in as many possessions. WC’s momentum faded as Hill took advantage with the 10-3 closing run.
Losing its three NTJCAC games by an average margin of eight points, the Coyotes look for the push to close contests.
The Lady Coyotes improved to 3-0 in the first game Saturday, easily taking care of Hill, 85-60. The WC women travel to Cisco on Wednesday, with both teams returning to home court on Saturday, hosting Ranger at 2 p.m.