Less than two months after Sally (Powers) Nichols was honored with her Hall of Fame induction (LH Oct. 25, 2017), another NCHS (Class of ’92) graduate has cemented a HOF honor. Lisa (Arnett) Bruegger and her 1994-95 Lady Eagles basketball team went 22-8, tied for the regular season championship and won the conference tournament before advancing to the national tournament.
“We lost our first three games,” said Bruegger. “But then we kind of hit a streak, and yea I suppose we thought we were pretty good.” CSC started 7-5 but then went 15-2 that included a run through the RMAC tournament. However, in the first game of the national tournament West Texas A&M ended the Lady Eagles most successful season in school history. Arnett averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while playing in all 30 games.
On Nov. 4 Lisa, her husband Travis and sons Ryan and Cory went over to Chadron and got a tour of the new facilities with her old teammates. She marveled at the new gym and locker rooms- while thinking of the old gym with dead spots on the floor and wooden bleachers. “There’s a few of us that keep up on Facebook, but no I hadn’t seen any of them in person in several years,” added Bruegger. “That was my favorite part-seeing old friends.”
After the tour, the team was honored along with eight male alumni at a banquet. The football players spoke first and freshman Ryan’s attention was drawn a bit closer. “I’m not sure how cool it was to them until we got to the banquet,” Lisa noted. Before that, she was just mom on a list of basketball stats and pictures. The ten Lady Eagles in attendance closed the 2017 Hall of Fame inductions with new memories of past great times.
A three year standout in both volleyball and basketball, Arnett’s name is all over the Lady Tiger record books. When asked about her recruiting process as a senior at NCHS, a humble Bruegger reflects on a process that was very new to her, “Yea, my mailbox was full of letters but so many of them were so far away,” she added. The coach that recruited Arnett to Chadron State was William “Bunny” Rider. “He was awesome, he came to our games, spent time with my family, and just kind of grew on me,” Lisa noted. “It was like, I want to go there.”
In my interviews with Nichols and Bruegger, both stated how thankful they were to all their former coaches and teachers in Lusk. Both ladies also mentioned the possibilities and realities that small school kids can succeed at the college level with hard work and dedication. “I never dreamed something like this could happen when we were doing it,” added Bruegger. “But oh my that was a long time ago.”
Bruegger joins Ted Erlewine (1991), Doug Lytle (2012) and Kit (Nelson) Bennett (2014) as former Lusk athletes inducted into the CSC Hall of Fame.