GLENROCK – The Tiger basketball season ended last Thursday as the Glenrock Herders got off to a big early lead, gave it away and stole it back in the final seconds.
The Herders advanced to state this week, while Niobrara County High School was left on the outside for the sixth straight year.
Glenrock came out on fire with a pair of early 3-pointers, and the Tigers couldn’t get going. The Herders led 16-2 and the outcome looked bleak.
Walker Kupke helped NCHS get back in the game with a pair of triples, and Ryan Bruegger put in three baskets. The defense clamped down on the home team and got to within 19-17 at the break.
Despite foul trouble from Dylan Molzahn and Jayce Cummins, Lusk had balanced scoring and held a slim 32-31 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Herders sank three treys in the fourth before Molzahn and Cummins fouled out in the waning minutes. Kupke sank both free throws with 14 seconds left for a four-point lead, before a Herder basket pulled them within 51-49.
After a timeout, a questionable foul put the home team on the line, and Glenrock made the first but rebounded the second one for a short basket.
With 2.6 left, Kupke’s 30-foot desperation attempt was off and the Tigers succumbed in the 52-51 final score.
If there’s a silver lining in the disappointment of the loss, Lusk’s only senior Ryan Bruegger, capped a brilliant career with a triple-double (20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks).
SCORE BY QUARTERS
GHS 16 3 12 21 – 52
NCHS 2 15 15 19 – 51
GHS: 13/38 FG; 5/18 3PT; 11/19 FT; 33 REB; 12 AST; 13 STL; 14 TO; 15 PF
NCHS: 18/36 FG; 3/12 3PT; 6/12 FT; 37 REB; 15 AST; 5 STL; 9 BLK; 23 TO; 19 PF
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- R. Bruegger 20; Kupke 10; Wells 10; C. Bruegger 5; Molzahn 4; Miller 2. Rebounds- R. Bruegger 12; Wells 6. Assists- Kupke 6. Blocks- R. Bruegger 10.