ROCK RIVER – For the second week in a row, the Niobrara County High School basketball teams had just one game on the schedule. The good news is that both teams came home with victories, yet the bad news is that neither squad was challenged by the Class 1A Rock River Longhorns.
The Lady Tigers opened up a 14-6 first period lead behind three baskets from Abby Kottwitz and a 3-pointer from Riley Shaw. Another trey from Shaw pushed the lead to 21-6 before a late mini-run from the home team kept them within shouting distance in the 23-12 halftime score.
The lead hovered around 10 for most of the third quarter before Bryn Bruch scored a layup and converted the free throw. The 12-point lead would hold at 32-20 as the third quarter came to a close.
Sophomore Lily Krueger had a nice game for NCHS, and her triple moved it the lead to 40-23 before the varsity exited the contest.
As the JV played out the final minutes, the Lady Tigers evened their season record at 3-3 in the 45-29 victory.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
NCHS 14 9 9 13 – 45
RRHS 6 6 8 9 – 29
NCHS: 15/38 FG; 3/13 3PT; 6/16 FT; 36 REB; 12 AST; 17 TO; 15 STL; 18 PF
RRHS: 7/28 FG; 1/ 4 3PT; 12/18 FT; 31 REB; 5 AST; 28 TO; 10 STL; 16 PF
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Shaw 12; Krueger 11; Kottwitz 9; Richardson 6; Bruch 3; Larson 2; Potter 2. Rebounds- Richardson 8; Potter 7; Kottwitz 7; Krueger 5. Assists- Shaw 5. Steals- Shaw 7.
The boys’ team took off on a 22-0 run to open the game as Ryan Bruegger sank a 3-pointer, scored an old-fashioned triple, and Walker Kupke popped a trey of his own. The 23-4 first period lead for NCHS was a necessary cushion as Bruegger and Dylan Molzahn found themselves in serious foul trouble.
When both of the Tiger big men picked up their fourth foul, it was the little guys Cory Bruegger and Jayce Cummins picking up the slack. They each buried 3-pointers helping Lusk on a 14-4 run into a 45-16 halftime advantage.
Kupke splashed another long bomb early in the third for a 16-2 run for the Tigers, as the varsity took to the bench to watch the fourth quarter with a 61-18 cushion. The youngsters held their own as Lusk moved to 3-3 with the 69-24 win.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
NCHS 23 22 16 8 – 69
RRHS 4 12 2 6 – 24
NCHS: 23/52 FG; 5/12 3PT; 8/19 FT; 34 REB; 22 AST; 17 STL; 14 TO; 15 PF
RRHS: 6/25 FG; 1/5 3PT; 9/15 FT; 25 REB; 4 AST; 3 STL; 39 TO; 14 PF
NCHS PLAYER STAT: Scoring- R. Bruegger 18; Cummins 14; Kupke 11; C. Bruegger 9; Wells 7; Molzahn 6; Caleb Miller 2; Thomas Hite 2. Rebounds- R. Bruegger 7; Molzahn 5. Assists- Kupke 8. Steals- Cummins 5; Molzahn 5.
The junior varsity/C squad girls hosted the Casper Natrona freshmen Friday night, losing 63-42. Phoebe Allbright led Lusk with 11 points, while Evelyn DesEnfants added 10. Jaden Stauffer chipped in nine. In an additional two periods, Lusk won 21-17 in overtime.
This week NCHS hosts Lingle-Fort Laramie on Friday before a trip to Shoshoni on Saturday. The schedule is listed Friday with JV girls (3:15 p.m.), JV boys two quarters (4:45 p.m.), varsity girls (5:30 p.m.) and varsity boys (7 p.m.).
For Saturday’s trip to Fremont County, the JV girls (11:30 a.m.), JV boys two quarters (1 p.m.), varsity girls (1:30 p.m.) and varsity boys (3 p.m.).
The annual freshman/sophomore tournament will take place on Jan. 18 as the girls travel to Guernsey, while the boys host the Vikings at 5:15 p.m. Game two will begin at 7 p.m. against either Wheatland or Lingle-Fort Laramie.