Feb 8, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorCentral Wyoming College sophomore Davion Pearson had a bad taste in his mouth last season after the Rustlers were eliminated in the opening round from the Region IX men's basketball tournament.
Pearson made it his mission this year to keep the CWC Rustlers near the top of the Region IX standings and have a longer postseason run.
"I felt like we could have gone further than the first round," said Pearson on Thursday afternoon in an interview with me at CWC. "I wanted to come back and win the region."
With five games left to be played in the regular season, the Rustlers are sitting in a three-way tie in the top position. CWC is 19-4 overall and 9-2 in the conference standings. Casper College and Sheridan College are tied with the Rustlers.
"I feel that it's a good record," Pearson said. "I'm pretty happy, but I'm not content where we are at. I want to keep winning."
Pearson and his teammates started out the season with Curtis Condie as the head coach. During preseason practice in October, dismissed Condie and elevated former assistant Shelby Lindley to head coach.
"It was really shocker," Pearson said of Condie's departure. "Once, it did happen... I couldn't do anything about it but keep on going forward."
One of the teammates Pearson has gone forward with is sophomore center Ryan Thomas.
Thomas started out his college career at Western Wyoming before moving to CWC.
"I knew that we were going to be good because of how hard that we were working together. We had so much chemistry," Thomas said. "It has always been in my head that we weren't going to have a losing season."
Thomas enjoys the way Pearson runs the team on the floor.
"Davion gets me the ball where I need it," Thomas said. "We know each other's strengths and weaknesses. We help each other out."
The Casper College Thunderbirds outlasted CWC 90-77 in overtime last Saturday night in the toughest setback of the season at Rustler Gym.
Pearson fouled out of the contest with four minutes left in overtime on a questionable call made by the officials.
"I was just mad," Pearson said. "I felt that I let my team down. I missed some free throws. The game was just so physical."
CWC was never the same after Pearson was on the bench.
"I don't think that there should have been any call," Pearson said. "It was real hard for me to watch my team play like that. I couldn't do anything about it."
The Rustlers quickly bounced back with a 69-61 victory Wednesday night at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs.
"I felt that we had some good practices before the game Wednesday night. We did some good thing,s then we did some bad things against Western," Pearson said.
Down the stretch, CWC knows it must take it one game at a time.
CWC plays at Sheridan College on Saturday night.
"One thing that we are really gifted at is what we are focusing on," Thomas said. "I don't think that anybody has looked to the regional tournament. We are really good at what is in front of us."
CWC has two home games left on the schedule.
The first one is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday against Miles Community College. The other one is at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, vs. Gillette College.
The winner of the north division will host Region IX tournament next month.
"The more that we win, the brighter our futures will be," Pearson said.
"That is what I try to get into my teammates mind. It doesn't matter if you win by two points of 15 points. People want winners."
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