SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – There were points aplenty last Friday night during the 24th annual Panhandle Prep basketball games played in Scottsbluff.
The Blue team won the girls’ contest 95-88 and the Red team took the boys’ clash by an amazing 155-124 tally.
The Blue girls wrapped up their victory by outscoring the Reds 26-17 in the fourth quarter. Sidney center Karly Sylvester sparked the win by posting 11 of her game-high 24 points in the final frame. Her onslaught came a week after she’d won both the Class B shot put and discus at the State Track Meet.
Another top gun for the winners was Morrill’s Ilycia Guerue with 17 points. She was named the game’s most valuable player. Karlee Juhnke of Sioux County chipped in 11 points.
The Red girls were led by Izzy Wright of Scottsbluff with 18 points. Another Lady Bearcat, Cali Wright, and Cloey Fries of Gering scored 11 apiece.
The Red boys bolted to a 38-22 first period lead and were on top 84-56 at halftime.
Things were much closer in the second half when the Reds’ margin was just 71-68, but the first half difference was too much to overcome.
The Scottsbluff Star-Herald game story said the Reds nailed 30 three-pointers and the Blues 19. Reds Crayton Cyza of Alliance and Bayler Sterkel of Bridgeport and the Blues’ Ryan Bruegger of Niobrara County at Lusk each netted six treys.
The Reds’ top guns were Luis Garza of Bridgeport with 31, Caeson Clarke of Alliance with 29, Sterkel 24, Cyza 19, Dayo Kennedy of Ogallala 17 and Zack Burke of Sidney 15.
Garza claimed the game’s MVP honor.
Bruegger was the boys’ top scorer with 38 points, perhaps an all-time Panhandle Prep high. Brett Pszanka of Gering contributed 18, football star Rylan Aguallo of Mitchell 16 and Javon Coyle of Potter-Dix 14 for the Blues.
Bruegger, a 6-6, 190-pounder, averaged 19.1 points and about 10 rebounds while also leading all Wyoming in blocked shots last winter. He tallied more than 1,000 points for the Tigers during his career, joining his mother, the former Lisa Arnett, as a four-figure scorer for the Lusk-based school. In addition, he placed third in the Class AA golf tournament last fall.
Since the northern Panhandle basketball teams were shy of seniors during the 2020-21 season, there were just four players from along Highway 20 in the game. Besides Juhnke, Kodee Rempp represented Sioux County High. Jayla Brehmer and Charles Hollow Horn of Gordon-Rushville also were on the rosters.
Brian Turek and Kayla Walker of Hemingford were members of the Blue crews.
My research shows that Ryan Bruegger’s 38 points is indeed a Panhandle Prep game record.
My 2009 story says that Tim McDavid of Scottsbluff set the boys’ scoring record by pouring in 29 points.
Since then, Trent Harris of Scottsbluff scored 36 and Jordan Mills of Alliance 34 in 2015 and Dru Kuxhausen of Scottsbluff scored 35 and Terry Winkler of Gering 34 in 2017. No one else has ever scored 20, according to what I found. Vonsinh Sayaloune of Chadron scored 28 in 2015, the same year as Harris and Mills tallied 36 and 34.
The score of this year’s boys’ game also may be the record. The previous high that I found was 145-126 in 2017, when Kuxhausen and Winkler combined for 69. That year, Landon Walker of Scottsbluff added 24 points and Alex Duncan of Gering 23. The boys’ score in 2018 was 116-105 and 116-109 in 2019.
After discovering that McDavid’s 29 points was reported to be the all-star game record, I did not go any farther back.
The girls also scored lots of points in 2018 (108-81) and 2019 (100-90). The 2017 score was 108-81. The year before that it was just 57-53. The most points I found for any of the girls were 20 by Payje Misagadis of Creek Valley in 2018 and 21 by Karissa Segelke of Sidney in 2013.