Opening weekend tough on Tiger basketball

WRIGHT – Niobrara County High School made it to Wright ahead of the snowfall and the schedule got modified before the Tigers even took the court. Their first game was against the Coal Miner’s Classic host team Panthers, and it didn’t go well for the Tigers early. Wright scored early and often in racing to a 44-20 halftime lead. Lusk’s shooting woes continued, and the Panther’s depth helped them to an 80-39 win.


NCHS 10 10 9 10 – 39

WRIGHT 21 23 17 17 – 80

NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Jayce Cummins 11, Cory Bruegger 10, Walker Kupke 10, Masson Wells 6, Caleb Miller 2.

St. Stephens is new to 2A, yet no stranger to basketball success, as they have been a regular at state as a 1A school. The Eagles ran early and never looked back with a 20-point lead over the Tigers at the break. They continued to befuddle Lusk in the second half and went on to the 63-29 win.


ST STEPHENS 15 17 18 13 – 63

NCHS 8 4 11 6 – 29

NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Bruegger 8, Kupke 8, Cummins 5, Miller 4, Wells 2, Jackson Smith 2.

On Saturday morning, Lusk faced Greybull and the Buffs were a bit more awake than the Tigers. They hit some tough shots and got off to a 36-13 lead at halftime. NCHS still couldn’t get shots to fall and Greybull kept sinking them. By the end of the game it was all Buffs in the 67-26 win.


NCHS 6 7 7 6 – 26

GREYBULL 17 19 11 20 – 67

NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Bruegger 14, Cummins 4, Smith 3, Kupke 3, Wells 2.

To finish the tournament, NCHS faced 1A Kaycee and played their best game of opening weekend. The game was tight during the first half as the Tigers showed more intensity on both ends of the court. The Buckaroos held a slim 30-23 lead at the break.

Lusk surged ahead in the third quarter as Bruegger and Cummins each buried two treys, and Kupke added another. The lead was two points for the Tigers, but the Buckaroos found a way to get to overtime. In the extra four minutes, Kaycee snuck ahead with seconds remaining, and the Tigers final shot was a good look but didn’t fall in the 59-57 defeat.

The list of 30-point scorers in school history is not very long, and even shorter when it comes to sophomores. Bruegger hit 30 exactly with seven field goals, three 3-pointers and perfect seven times from the stripe in the overtime loss to Kaycee.


KAYCEE 15 15 10 9 10 – 59

NCHS 12 11 19 7 8 – 57

NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Bruegger 30, Cummins 11, Kupke 10, Miller 2, Smith 2, Wells 2.

The junior varsity team held a lead over St. Stephens for three quarters but ran out of gas in the 63-53 loss. Smith led Lusk with 22 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and five steals, while Jericho Hendricks added 11 points and eight rebounds.

The short-handed group also lost to Wright 58-23 and Greybull 51-28.

NCHS has another full week of games as Guernsey-Sunrise visited on Tuesday before a trip across the border to Crawford, Nebraska on Friday (4 p.m. JV boys two quarters/varsity at 6:30 p.m.). Saturday Sioux County, Nebraska visits for a 1:30 p.m. tipoff.


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