SHERIDAN — Sheridan College men’s basketball head coach Matt Hammer has long said that sophomore Cam Reece is the unquestioned leader for the No. 6 Generals. But with Reece not allowed to suit up Saturday against Central Wyoming College, how would SC fair in its regular-season home finale?
The answer was, just fine, and AJ Bramah made sure of that.
Bramah made a concerted effort to have a bigger presence in the paint Saturday, as the Generals pulled away in the second half for a 93-78 victory over the Rustlers.
“Having Cam out, I knew that I had to rebound, and that I had to be more physical for the team,” Bramah said. “Cam is a big piece of this team, so I knew I had to come out and give it my all. I felt like I did that today.”
Reece couldn’t play because he was assessed two technical fouls in SC’s win at Gillette College Wednesday. That not only eliminated the Generals’ off-the-floor leader, but also a player averaging 12.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
Bramah knew he had to play a larger role, and the team did, as well, going against an opponent in Central Wyoming that played the Generals tooth and nail in Riverton a couple weeks ago.
“Everyone had to be ready to step in and have a good game,” Hammer said. “In games past, for instance over in Gillette, Dominique (Jackson) stepped in and hit some big free throws and got to play a lot of good minutes. Elijah Blake has stepped in and played really good minutes early in the conference season. Sasa (Vuksanovic) has stepped in and had some big games.
“It’s not really about one guy, and it’s not about having one guy being out. It’s about what we do as a team and really how we play and how hard we play.”
The Generals held a 36-28 lead at halftime, but that was whittled down to one at 42-41 with 16:45 to play in the game. And then, as Hammer indicated, multiple parties stepped up.
First, Sean Sutherlin scored five straight points. Then, Javary Christmas made a free throw and field goal. Next, Bramah completed an old-fashioned 3-point play. After that, Adham Eleeda hit back-to-back 3s.
By the 6:29 mark of the second half, Sheridan had built a 75-65 advantage. A couple 6-0 runs later and the Generals had locked up their 34th consecutive home win.
Bramah logged his fourth straight double-double, as he had 21 points and 11 rebounds. Sutherlin and Eleeda added 19 and 14 points, respectively, while Cody Baumstarck and Vuksanovic chipped in 11 points apiece.
Sheridan shot 43 percent (33 of 77) from the floor and just 19 percent (5 of 27) from 3-point land. Central Wyoming connected on 48 percent (31 of 65) of its field-goal attempts and 40 percent (10 of 25) from beyond the 3-point arc.
The Generals won the rebounding battle 44-36, which included a 20-9 edge on the offensive glass.
“We had 20 offensive rebounds for the game. If we don’t do that, it’s going to be a one-possession game at the end,” Hammer said. “… Those are huge, especially as we start getting into tournament time. Any way you can find an extra possession, it might mean the difference in the game.”
The victory improved the Generals to 27-1 on the season and 12-0 in Region IX play. Sheridan finishes up the regular season on the road with games at Northwest College Wednesday and at No. 10 Casper College Saturday.
Central Wyoming…28 50 — 78
Sheridan College…36 57 — 93
Central Wyoming — Guinn 21; Nelson 19; Briscoe 11; Rottweiler 10; Woods 9; Simental 5; Smith 3
Sheridan College — Bramah 21; Sutherlin 19; Eleeda 14; Baumstarck 11; Vuksanovic 11; Bagley 9; Christmas 7; Lewis 1
Central Wyoming 36 (Nelson 7); Sheridan College 44 (Bramah 11)
Central Wyoming 12 (Guinn 4); Sheridan College 18 (Christmas 8)