PINE BLUFFS – If there was ever a time for the Niobrara County High School girls’ basketball team to play perhaps their most complete game of the year, it was in the Hornet’s Nest last Friday. Lusk wins in Pine Bluffs are few and far between, and the way PB embarrassed the Lady Tigers last month was cause for concern.
Kianna Blackburn and Riley Shaw buried three pointers to get the Lady Tigers off fast in a 12-7 first period lead. The home team has been ranked No. 2 in the Wyopreps Coaches/Media Poll most of the season for good reason and they would not go away easily. Taylor Gaukel drilled a trey, while Julianne Graham and Mackenzie Lyons provided a much-needed inside presence, giving Lusk a slim 23-20 halftime edge.
Lady Hornet senior Kammie Ragsdale has been difficult to contain during her four years and in the third period she went off again. While everyone else struggled, she scored 13 of her 25 points to keep the game within one. Moving the ball around with a season-high 20 assists, Lusk found another gear in the final period and outscored the home team 17-5 to pull away for the 54-41 win.
The Lady Tigers now head to the 2A East Regional as the No. 3 Southeast seed, and will face the No. 2 Northeast seed Wright Lady Panthers on their home court Thursday morning. The 9 a.m. quarterfinal is a rematch of the first game of the season, in which Wright won 44-40 also at home. On Feb. 22-23 games shift to Gillette with games at either Gillette College’s Pronghorn Center or Thunder Basin High School. All tournament brackets and admission prices are available at whsaa.org.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
NCHS 12 11 14 17 – 54
PBHS 7 13 16 5 – 41
NCHS 22/46 FG; 4/11 3PT; 6/15 FT; 33 REB; 17 PF; 16 TO
PBHS 15/53 FG; 4/10 3PT; 7/17 FT; 40 REB; 16 PF; 20 TO
NCHS PLAYER STATS:
Scoring – Gaukel 13, Shaw 10, Graham 10, Lyons 8, Rowley 4, Christianson 4, Blackburn 3, Richardson 2. Rebounds- Graham 7, Blackburn 5, Christianson 5. Assists- Blackburn 5.
The JV had trouble in their final game of the season as PB won 62-34 as Anna Richardson led NCHS with eight points. The JV/C teams finished with a combined 12-11 record on the season.