SHERIDAN — Adham Eleeda went into Christmas break sporting an afro — a big afro. Big enough to where he said it was getting out of control. So upon retuning back to Sheridan College following the holidays, Eleeda elected to try something new with his hair, to get it under control.
So he braided it. That being said, the braids didn’t last long.
Eleeda, a self-proclaimed superstitious person, didn’t like how he played in his first two games back since the break with his braided hair, but he was thrilled with how he played in the third one at the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome Saturday. Eleeda, back to his familiar afro look, poured in a career-high 27 points as the No. 18 Generals dominated Western Wyoming Community College 95-58.
Eleeda entered the holiday hiatus connecting on 50 percent of his shots from 3-point land. In road games at Eastern Wyoming College and Northeastern Junior College last week, the SC sophomore hit just 6 of 17 attempts from deep. Eleeda blamed the hair.
“I braided it to do something cool with it,” Eleeda said. “I tried to play with it the last couple games, and I played horrible, so I decided to go back to what I’m used to.”
In his first game back with the afro, Eleeda went off, hitting 9 of 13 from beyond the 3-point line. He scored the game’s first nine points and headline what was a less-than-stellar game for the Generals.
SC only shot 42.7 percent (32 of 75) from the field Saturday, which is more than 10 percentage points lower than its season average. Those same shooting struggles showed for the Generals in their first two games back from break — a break that spanned 30 days.
“That’s an eternity with 18-19 year-old kids when you’re trying to keep them on the same page and locked in,” SC head coach Matt Hammer said. Sheridan defeated overmatched Little Big Horn College Dec. 10, and then the team broke for the holidays with many of them returning home. The Generals came back, playing their first two games Jan. 9 and 10 at Eastern Wyoming and Northeastern JC, respectively. In those pair of road tilts, SC was held well under its normal offensive output. The Generals, who average north of 100 points per contest this season, only mustered 81 and 72 points in victories over the Lancers and Plainsmen.
The subsequent bus ride home from Sterling, Colorado, Thursday night remained quiet as SC players had a chance to reflect on how they performed. The team didn’t play its very best, similar to Saturday’s performance, but with a couple months still left in the season, that’s just fine with Hammer.
“It’s still fairly early in the year, and you’re still trying to figure out what you like on offense, what you like on defense and who does what,” Hammer said. “You don’t want to be playing your best basketball in early January. We did that a couple years ago, and we just didn’t finish very strong. This season, we are still on the climb going up.”
That climb becomes a little steeper Wednesday night. The Generals — who hold a 16-1 overall record and a 2-0 mark in Region IX play — host No. 10 Casper College at 7:30 p.m. in a game that will likely go a long way in determining which team will win the North Division and host the conference tournament.
Western Wyoming…28 30 — 50
Sheridan College….45 49 — 94
Western Wyoming — Ayol 16; Cisse 14; Boley 12; Creal 8; Gunderson 3; Marble 3; Batts 2
Sheridan College — Eleeda 27; Reece 12; Christmas 12; Sutherlin 9; Baumstarck 8; Bagley 7; Blake 6; Murphey 5; Lewis 3; Vuksanovic 2; Jackson 2; Gummerus 2
Western Wyoming 42 (Cisse 7); Sheridan College 66 (Blake 9)
Western Wyoming 3 (Marble 1; Boley 1; Cisse 1); Sheridan College 6 (Blake 3)