SHERIDAN — A tense next 60 hours awaits the Sheridan College men’s basketball team. The No. 16 Generals fell to Western Nebraska 99-87 Friday in the semifinals of the Region IX Tournament, and now Sheridan will wait and see if it’s awarded one of the eight at-large spots in the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament.
The NJCAA Selection Show is slated for Monday at 10:30 a.m.
Sheridan finished the regular season with a 28-5 overall record, and will hope that its national ranking, coupled with a pair of top 25 wins, will propel the Generals into the field of 24.
Sheridan would likely benefit from No. 15 Otero Junior College winning the Region IX Tournament. It’s unlikely the Generals would get the nod over the Rattlers for an at-large bid and even more unlikely that Region IX would receive two at-large bids to go alongside its region champion.
Channel Banks led a balanced scoring attack for top-seeded Sheridan with 18 points. Camron Reece tallied 17; Ladan Ricketts added 14 points, while AJ Bramah and Josh Bagley chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Generals shot 50 percent (33 of 66) from the floor, and made 10 of 22 shots from 3-point land but turned it over 18 times.
No. 2-seeded Western Nebraska only shot 43 percent (35 of 81) but drained 16 of 37 from beyond the 3-point line.
Bagley put the Generals ahead 42-37 with a bucket late in the half. In an opening 20 minutes controlled by the Cougars, Sheridan finally seized some momentum.
But it was short-lived.
The Cougars closed the opening half on a 10-4 run to vault out in front 47-46. The Generals never led again.
Western Nebraska appeared as though it would run away with the game after a 13-0 run — which included a trio of 3-pointers — that gave the Cougars a 72-55 lead with 14:37 to play in the game.
SC clawed its way back into the contest. A Keenan Dowell 3 pulled the Generals to within eight at 72-64, and another trey from Ricketts trimmed Sheridan’s deficit to seven at 74-67.
Bramah scored back-to-back buckets for Sheridan just before Banks made it a five-point game at 84-79 with 5:09 left.
Banks converted back-to-back baskets of his own that made it an 87-83 game, but Western Nebraska closed on a 12-4 run to spring the upset.