LUSK – Anticipation was high as Tiger senior Ryan Bruegger entered the weekend just 16 points from 1,000 career varsity points, but Friday night’s game at Tiger Gym against Glenrock started off rough for him.
He scored four points in the first period but was whistled for three early fouls and limiting his chances. Little brother Cory scored a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer, and Niobrara County High School led 14-11 after one period.
Walker Kupke put in a trey, and moments later his layup plus the freebie toss, kept Lusk ahead until a late basket by the visitors knotted the game at 24. Bruegger spent most of the second period on the bench and the pace of the game made another dozen points seem unlikely.
Ryan had two baskets after the break, and when Jayce Cummins buried a pair of triples 30 seconds apart, NCHS had opened up a 38-30 third stanza edge. The lead moved to 11 points before Dylan Molzahn went to the bench with his fifth foul. As the Herders made a late charge, Cory Bruegger spotted up and nailed a trey as Lusk held on for the 48-43 quadrant win.
SCORE BY QUARTER
GHS 11 13 6 13 – 43
NCHS 14 10 14 10 – 48
GHS: 14/27 FG; 1/14 3PT; 12/22 FT; 25 REB; 11 AST; 7 STL; 22 TO; 16 PF
NCHS: 12/29 FG; 5/17 3PT; 9/14 FT; 32 REB; 14 AST; 6 STL; 23 TO; 18 PF
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Kupke 14; Cummins 10; R. Bruegger 8; C. Bruegger 6; Wells 6; Molzahn 4. Rebounds- Wells 7; R. Bruegger 7; Molzahn 7.
On Saturday, the senior-heavy Southeast boys didn’t want any part of an upset and celebration. NCHS had seven turnovers, trying desperately to get Ryan eight more points. Lusk’s only basket was a 3-pointer from him, but the Cyclones netted just six points. The visitors warmed up in the second quarter with an 18-2 run and took a 24-5 lead into the locker room.
Ryan managed one of two free throws early in the third period, and his 3-pointer in the final minute put him on the brink of history. By that time, Southeast had built a 41-10 lead, but it didn’t take long for the special basket to happen.
At the 6:25 mark of the fourth quarter, his short jumper swished through and the eager fans in attendance roared with cheers and waved flyers honoring the moment. From there the Tigers were free of the pressure but even when Cummins hit a 3-pointer it wasn’t enough as the visitors won 50-25.
SCORE BY QUARTER
SEHS 6 18 17 9--50
NCHS 3 2 7 13--25
SEHS: 17/29 FG; 4/12 3PT; 4/8 FT; 21 REB; 17 AST; 13 STL; 12 TO; 10 PF
NCHS: 6/14 FG; 3/15 3PT; 4/7 FT; 23 REB; 9 AST; 7 STL; 24 TO; 11 PF
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- R. Bruegger 15; Cummins 3; Kupke 3; C. Bruegger 2; Molzahn 2. Rebounds- R. Bruegger 7.
The junior varsity team lost to Glenrock 29-18 and Southeast 31-13.
This is the final weekend of the regular season as Pine Bluffs visits Friday night. It will be senior night for Ryan Bruegger and manager Sierra Lemons between the girls’ and boys’ varsity games. The estimated time will be around 6:45 p.m.